“Brian walked up to me and said, ‘I dig that.’ I was finger-tapping with my right hand. He says, ‘I'm going to nick that from you!’” The mystery virtuoso who inspired Brian May to two-hand tap recalls the exact moment it happened

Rocky Athas and Brian May playing live
(Image credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns / Corine Solberg/Getty Images)

In 2021, Brian May told Guitar Player he’d been inspired to develop his two-hand tapping chops after witnessing an unnamed electric guitar supremo use the expansive technique during a gig in Texas.

That anonymous virtuoso was again referenced by May in an interview with Classic Rock, and though he was never explicitly identified by the Queen guitarist, sources suggested that mystery virtuoso was Rocky Athas.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

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