Now that the summer festival tours are over I'm back to creating some more guitar lesson videos on my Youtube channel. My latest video is a deep analysis of Brian May's solo on Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
This is an usual solo because it uses primarily the full major scale, in this case Eb major. Most rock and roll solos use pentatonic scales -- either major pentatonic or minor pentatonic. This solo begins with the major pentatonic, but very soon after switches to the full major scale.
In many ways this makes sense. Is this song really a rock song? To me it's more like opera or at least influenced by classical music. This full major scale gives May the opportunity to play some more classically inspired licks, like the trills he plays.
You can download my transcription for the solo using the link below. There are some differences between this guitar tab and many others that are on the internet. I've studied some footage and this sure looks right to me... and it sounds right.
Notice that many of those bends are pre-bends. They are not bends in the blues-rock tradition that go up then down. He bends the string before hitting the note. You have to practice these to know exactly how far to push the string up before you pick the note.