Brian May...and using a coin as a pick.

Discussion in 'The Cellar' started by chuckelator, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. chuckelator

    chuckelator Well-Known Member

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    I remember reading about that years ago in I believe Guitar World, and was just watching the video for "Don't Stop Me Now" ( my favorite Queen song, by the way) and noticed it. I imagine that's a huge part of his tone, and I can definitely hear in my head what it would sound like with a normal pick.

    Anyone else tried it???
     
  2. Rahlstin

    Rahlstin Well-Known Member

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    depends on the coin but it take some getting used too. I found it kind of a novilty thing
     
  3. SmokeyDopey

    SmokeyDopey Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I used a coin for some time with my acoustic (on my lap, for slide), and when I looked closer, I saw the string's metal shaving on the guitar, and the strings were worn out. And noticed they sounded weird, didn't sustain as well, and sounded ALMOST as if it had a chorus effect!
    But the acoustic strings lasted for months, so that was a couple of months on the same strings using a coin. If the strings are replaced regularly, I don't think it would impact as much.
     
  4. Söulcaster

    Söulcaster Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Yeah I've tried it. Gives you a different sound. I found it hard to play with the coin though. Very scratchy on the strings.

    I'm pretty sure he began using a coin out of necessity, due to being so poor as he was growing up. There's a video about how his father manufactured his guitar, he talks about the coin in it. Does Brian still use a coin?
     
  5. brp

    brp Well-Known Member

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    Actually, Smokey, I used a metal pick just awhile back on brand new electric strings (going for a certain attack effect for a recording) and I noticed immediately what you are talking about, wear on the strings, being filed down by the metal pick. It does give an attack tone that can't be duplicated otherwise though.

    I hate using a coin, used to do it when a pick wasn't around, better for acoustic and better than nothing I guess.
    You can certainly develop a style/technique with it though.
     
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  6. Georgiatec

    Georgiatec Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Brian used an old pre decimal sixpence piece for his pick. The coin has a serrated edge (I think a US dime is the same). Nowadays a 5p will get you the same sound...the sort of scrape across the wound strings you'll hear in his Queen's earlier (good) stuff. Brighton Rock is a classic example. :rock:
     
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  7. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands Well-Known Member

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    I'd probably have some good results with a metal pick, but my adventures with a coin were less then stellar. :(

    Oh well, I love my Ultex's. :D
     
  8. rich24a

    rich24a Active Member

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    Watch this video from about 46 minutes in...

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3SjSL27drY]Sound like Jimi Hendrix, Mark Tremonti & Brian May for under a £1000 - YouTube[/ame]

    Rob Chappers plays a Brian May guitar into a Vox AC15 with and without a coin, and you can definitely hear the difference in tone...
     
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  9. CaptainZero

    CaptainZero Well-Known Member

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    With a few minutes and a grinder, you could probably make a better pick out of a dime. Cheaper than my jazz III's too.
     
  10. keef1367

    keef1367 Well-Known Member

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    I use a brass pick I made myself out of 1.2mm sheet sometimes great attack and definitely a different sound from a standard pic can't get on with a coin tho :wow:
     
  11. TheDon

    TheDon New Member

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    Used a coin plenty of times when I couldn't find a pic or only stupid flappy pics were available
     

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