Brian May’s VOX AC30 Guitar Amp

Brian’s main amp with the Queen and in the most recent years has always been a Vox AC30.

I always use a Vox AC-30 amp, except for those instances where there’s a particular orchestra sound and I’ve used a small amplifier.

I use old Vox AC-30s that have tubes instead of transistor. These have a very flexible, identifiable sound without much coloration. […] They use tubes biased in a Class A range. Most guitar amplifiers are Class B, which means they have more inherent distortion in them at lower levels. The Vox AC-30s are very clear at low level and then gradually and smoothly go into a nice distortion.

Interview with Brian May “Guitar Player” magazine – January 1983

When playing live, nowadays he usually uses 9 AC30s on stage. According to Brian’s guitar tech, the three amps on the very top are “dummies” and not in use, and the middle three are there as spares, in case something goes wrong with one of the 3 bottom ones that are actually in use.

Brian may with a wall of Vox AC30 amps, Live in Budapest 1986
Brian may with a wall of Vox AC30 amps, Live in Budapest 1986

Even though this wasn’t the case in the 80s, as Brian claims above, nowadays, he also uses AC30s with solid-state rectifiers, as can be seen in the Guitarist Magazine On The Road with Brian May of Queen video on YouTube.


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