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Michael Johnson >> Brian May (Queen) style >>


Teacher: Hi Class, this is our 5th lesson on the series in the style of Brian May of Queen. The riffs you'll learn in this lesson come more from the later days of Queen, before Freddie Mercury passed away. Notice the straight forward riffs and then later into a classical type run and into more rock riffs. You can hear all of these in the lesson sample.

Lesson Sample

Teacher: Let's get started, our first riff in in the key of D:

Part 1 - Riff 1


Part 1 - Riff 1

Teacher: Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1

Teacher: Now this riff is actually based on the third box of the D Minor Pentatonic scale.

D Minor Pentatonic (Third Box Pattern)


Teacher: Let's move to the next section.

Part 2 - Riff 1


Part 2 - Riff 1

Teacher: Now this riff is very interesting. Let's brake it down into sections. The first phrase is a descending chromatic run starting from F and the continuing from A on the 6th string. You then play a Bb Diminished arpeggio and then back to F to repeat the first phrase. The second part of the phrase you ascending and descending line using the chromatic scale starting on the G (6th string), then you play a A7 arpeggio and then a Bb arpeggio. When tied in together all these parts sound very cool. Here's a jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2

Teacher: Have any of you played anything like this before?

tim: No, but this is really cool to play. The tough part is remembering all the parts.

Stratman: sounds like the background for a movie

Teacher: Queen had a very unique approach to rock, that's why the had such an innovative sound. It does, I think you can really hear their classical influence in this section. Ok, let's try the next section. This section is basically played using barre chords, but has some unique phrasing, here's the riff:

Part 3 - Riff 1


Part 3 - Riff 1

Teacher: I like the groove for this section, it reminds me of a Native American type sound. The chords sound cool when you play the C barre chord and lift your 3rd finger to play Bb and then back to C. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 3

Teacher: This rhythm is great to play a solo over using the D Minor/Minor Pentatonic scale. Here's the scale pattern:

D Minor Pen & Minor


Teacher: Try playing over the jam track using these two scale patterns. Here's our first lick using the scale.

Part 3 - Lick 1


Teacher: Notice how the first note slowly bends and then ending in a vibrato. Brian May used slow bending notes all the time. OK, now let's jump to the next section that is in F#:

Part 4 - Riff 1


Part 4 - Riff 1

Teacher: You start the riff by playing a syncopated beat using octaves of F#. Then you play the chromatic notes into the last note of each phrase. You end by using the A and D chords. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 4

Teacher: This rhythm pattern is good to solo over as well. This time you would use the F# Minor and Minor Pentatonic scales. Here's the scale patterns:

F# Minor/Minor Pentatonic scales


Teacher: Well, that's it for the lesson. Thanks and see you next lesson!

Stratman: good lesson see you then

Teacher: bye

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