You are currently viewing Brian Between Your Ears – How Money Makes You Listen Queen

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Imagine drumming with a hockey stick… awkward & dangerous. Band members would probably need full hockey gear to protect them. What about using an air dryer to play saxophone? Hmm….could that actually work?

Our well-known fellow guitarist Brian from Hampton Hill did something similar. And it most likely made him even richer and more famous…What did he actually do? He found a way to get inside our heads. Crazy. He also basically forced thousands of people to spread the word he wanted…

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).

The Life of Brian

Some people have entertained the idea that Brian May and Queen got pushed to mass markets via media and people controlling it (one guy mentioned this just Yesterday). Is this the case? Or were Brian May, Queen, and the people supporting them just good at marketing?

Brian May, with his cool guitar, English accent, and amazing band. Pretty memorable. And by the way, I’m not hating on them. I like many Queen songs. I just want to point out that Brian May might be a marketing genius and no one ever notices it (that’s why he is so famous).

Let’s face it. The use of a sixpence coin as a guitar pick is one way of being different and extremely memorable. And this is exactly what Brian May did.

Here Brian May explains why he uses Sixpence coin as a pick. I highly recommend you watch it.

Let me know…is this just a random discovery, a marketing trick, or both?

Either way. The unusual pick choice of Brian has generated a ton of buzz for years. Brian is inside our heads…

The Sixpence Saga

Along comes Brian May, wielding a sixpence coin like Excalibur. He claims that this was about control, flexibility, and feel. All just about making playing guitar more comfortable. [1].

And sure, Brian does play guitar smoothly. And it shows.

That’s one reason why Queen is one of the top bands of all time. They have filled countless stadiums.

Amazing singing, original & outstanding songs, great sounding guitar, and overall really entertaining performance.

That being said…is the sixpence saga just a testament to people directing our attention to places that make them money? Or is it just pure honest innovation by a smart guitarist?

Check this…

First, this whole thing is a fun fact. And it does generate word of mouth. “Did you know that Brian May uses a coin as a pick?”. Revealing this to a friend gives the teller some sweet social currency (I have done so by the way).

This leads me to think that either this pick choice is not an accident or Brian May just did something really weird and got lucky with it.

No. I do not mean Brian May is famous just because of a pick choice. But, this choice does contribute to his fame.

And while this pick choice really affects the tone churning from the amp, it also makes a different kind of sound…

The Sound of Money

Just imagine how many people have told their buddies that Brian May uses a sixpence coin pick.

Probably 100s of thousands of people. Talk about news spreading like a virus. You just must tell your friends.

So this pick choice also sings the sweet sound of money.

The more times a brand (the band is a brand, Queen is a brand) is exposed to us, the more likely we are to become a customer.

Your buddy mentioning Brian when having a beer could have been the extra repetition needed to make yourself a Queen fan, listen to more of their songs, or buy their album.

Again, I’m not hating on Brain. This is brilliant marketing and about playing the long game.

This is exactly the kind of stuff that can make some people belive that the Queen got the popularity just because of luck and the media pushing them.

But if you investigate closely, pretty much everything about Queen is thought out. You will remember them. You will listen to them. A bit frightening actually…

Be like Brian, But also beware

What’s the takeaway for us normal guys?

First, if you are a guitarist and desire more exposure. Be memorable. Get people to talk (“did you know this x guy has this”). Do things differently. It works. It has helped Brian May, it has helped Buckethead, and it has helped Matteo Mancuso.

Second, beware.

Be careful whom you allow to come inside of your head. You can’t choose that no one influences you. But you can dictate who you let influence you.

Brian May is living up there, between your ears, and making sure that you soon turn Bohemian Rhapsody on…But who else is living there? Do you even know?

References

[1]: https://www.guitarworld.com/news/brian-may-sixpence-guitar-pick-explanation

[2]: https://guitar.com/news/music-news/brian-may-sixpence-guitar-picks/

[3]: https://www.etsy.com/market/brianmaypicks

Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…). Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or just email me.
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