Brian has often recounted the story of how, long before Queen, he’d formulated his ideal guitar sound in his head. It was only when he discovered Taste and Rory Gallagher, who used a single AC30 driven by a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster, that he knew how to proceed.
Here’s how Brian acquired his very first AC30s:“I went with Tim Staffell, who was our singer in Smile, and Roger I think, to a shop called Take Five in Tin Pan Alley that was full of second hand amps, including a few AC30s.
"By that time I had a Rangemaster treble booster – I thought that if it worked for Rory it would work for me – so we pulled a few out, plugged in, and there was the sound.
“I traded in my Burns transistor 60-watt amp and bought two 30-watt AC30s.They were very beaten up but sounded perfect, with that deep, throaty sound, and that was it forevermore for me.”
Pictured is a recreation of that early set-up, including a 1963 Vox AC30 Bass and Brian’s original Rangemaster. The only anachronism is the 60-foot long curly lead that Brian used on 1986’s Magic Tour, certainly at Wembley Stadium and, presumably, also at Queen’s final show at Knebworth Park on 9 August.
See more of Brian May's other equipment over on the Guitarist magazine blog
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