660 days without playing a single concert, and then back with a new tour with several changes, the most important being Spike Edney on synths, piano and guitar. Live Aid is included here as they used Works-era equipment. Roger made a deal with Zildjian and stopped using Paiste products (including the gong).

Brian had a new replica of his guitar, made by the American company Guild (Brian was living in Los Angeles back then), which looked very similar (though not identical) and the sound was almost identical, only a bit darker. Roger, an avid guitar collector, found a classical electric guitar (which looks like an acoustic but is actually electric), that Brian would use later on for some legendary recordings including Innuendo (1989, Steve Howe played that same guitar as well).


Roger's Ludwig kit
Roger's Ludwig kit
Roger's Ludwig kit
Drum kit
  • Ludwig 26" x 16" bass-drum.
  • Ludwig Speed-King pedal.
  • Ludwig Hercules hardware.
  • Ludwig 14" x 6.5" snare drum.
  • Ludwig 12" x 11", 13" x 12" and 14" x 13" rack toms.
  • Ludwig 16" x 16" and 18" x 16" floor toms.
  • Simmons SDS-VII e-drum pads.
  • Wuhan 20" china cymbal.
  • Zildjian 15" hi-hats.
  • Zildjian 17" and 2 x 18" crash cymbals.
  • Zildjian 20" ride cymbal.
  • Zildjian 22" china cymbal.
  • Bass-drum logo: Queen on The Works font, black background (white at Live Aid).
  • New Era.
Roger's mics
  • snare: AKG c451e (without "a51")
  • hi-hat: AKG c451e with "a51"
  • bassdrum: Beyerdynamic M300N
  • toms: Sennheiser MD421-II
  • overhead: AKG c451e with "a51"
  • snare-bottom: Shure SM57 LC
  • vocals: AKG C452E (probably)

Bass guitars

John's Fender Precision '68
John's Fender Precision '68
John's Fender Precision Special
Musicman Stingray
John's Fender Precision Elite
Electric bass guitars
  • Fender Precision 1968 [main]
  • Fender Precision 1981 [Under Pressure]
  • Music Man Stingray [Anothe One Bites the Dust]
  • Fender Precision Elite [spare]


Brian's Red Special
Brian's Telecaster
Freddie's Telecaster
Gibson acoustic
Spike's Gordon Smith or in fact Gibson Les Paul Junior?
Brian's Gibson Flying V
Brian's Ovation
Main electric six-string guitars
  • BHM bespoke [Brian]
  • Fender Telecaster 1978 [Crazy Little Thing]
  • Fender Telecaster 1981 [Staying Power] - played by John Deacon. A Black-Gold model, CE 10484.
  • Fender Telecaster 1983 [Crazy Little Thing] - played by Freddie Mercury. A Standard 1983 Blonde model.
  • Fender Telecaster [Jailhouse Rock] - played by Rick Parfitt in one concert.
  • Gibson Chet Atkins CE [Is This the World We Created]
  • Gibson Les Paul Junior [Hammer to Fall] - played by Spike Edney
Spare electric guitars
  • Guild BHM bespoke
  • Gibson Flying V
Acoustic guitars [Love of My Life, Crazy Little Thing]
  • 2 x Ovation Pacemaker 1615 twelve-string


Steinway piano
Oberheim OBX-a
Oberheim OB-8
  • Steinway 1972 D concert grand 8 ft 11.75 in
  • 2 x Oberheim OB-Xa.
  • Oberheim OB-8. - used only for the mimed performance in Montreux.
  • Roland Jupiter 8.
  • Roland VP-330 [Ga Ga, Machines].
Electric grand piano
  • Yamaha CP-80
Steinway piano
Yamaha Electric Grand Piano

What about the recording sessions?

The Works is perhaps the Queen album where the instruments used for the recordings differ the most from what was used on stage. On the record, they used Linn LM-2 drum machines for some songs (in fact, Roger doesn't play at all on the studio version of Break Free), Yamaha C-7 pianos (both Musicland and the Record Plant had them as part of their back-line equipment), John played the Fender Special 1981 bass on Break Free and also played three different guitars on it (Gibson Chet Atkins, Fender Telecaster and Fender Stratocaster) and the vocoder on Ga Ga was an EMS-2000.

Brian recorded Is This the World We Created with his twelve-string Ovation, not with the Gibson Chet Atkins he'd use on stage. He also used a Gibson Firebird guitar (owned by Ben Fenner) on Hammer to Fall and Tear It Up (and possibly I Go Crazy as well). That shows how Brian, even with a different guitar, still sounds like himself; on the contrary, if we gave another guitar player (even a professional one, unless they're a Brian imitator, and even then...) the Red Special and Brian's rig, he/she wouldn't sound like Brian - regardless of how important the equipment is, the main ingredient is and will always be the performer.

Synths used for this album's recordings were Oberheim OBX-a and Roland Jupiter 8.