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Brian May voted greatest rock guitarist of all time

(Image credit: Paul Natkin / Getty)

Brian May has been voted the greatest rock guitarist of all time in a new poll published in the latest issue of Total Guitar magazine.

The Queen legend nudged out Hendrix, Clapton and other guitar heroes to take the top spot in a survey generated by online reader votes 

“I’m absolutely speechless. I’m blown away," said a delighted May. "I have to say it’s completely unexpected." 

(Image credit: Future)

"I will never claim to be a great guitarist in the sense of, you know, a virtuoso. I guess I just try to play from my heart and that’s about it”

"Obviously I’m deeply touched that people feel that way about me," May added during an exclusive interview with Total Guitar in its new issue. "I’m not under any illusions that, technically, I’m even on the tree of great guitarists. I guess this tells me that what I’ve done has affected people, and that means a great deal to me. 

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"I will never claim to be a great guitarist in the sense of, you know, a virtuoso. I guess I just try to play from my heart and that’s about it.”

May also weighed in with his admiration for the legend he beat to the top spot: “Jimi is, of course, my number one. And I’ve always said that. To me, he’s still something superhuman. It’s like he really did come from an alien planet, and I will never know quite how he did what he did.

“And every time I go back to Hendrix, I’m thrilled and stunned, and I get that feeling all over again, like either I’m going to give up playing guitar, because I can’t face up to this, or I’m gonna really have to get into it in a big way and try and do what is in my own body and soul. I never stop learning from Jimi.”

You can see the full results and the full interview with Brian May in the issue of Total Guitar magazine. The issue also features his 20 best guitar moments, a lesson on how to play like the Queen hero, and how to recreate May's iconic tones. 

You can order a copy from My Favourite Magazines.