This famous song is great for learning good rhythm and string control. The bassline is one of the most distinguishing features of the song, and is great fun to play. As always, we stay true to the song and include all the right riffs and licks for guitar, but for fun we also show the bassline for guitar - it's too good to miss, and the guitar does nothing during those parts of the song anyway. This is a much more enjoyable way to play the song and nothing is missed out.
There are 2 guitars, and this is the main (and easier) one. The funky rhythm guitar part is shown in the next ActionTab, although you can hear it here too. To save on a massive pointless gap in the ActionTab we skip the interlude that happens in the middle of the song (where it's just drums, keyboard and Freddie making noises - no guitar or bass).
We start with following the bassline. The riff is easy played very slowly, but will take practice to get to full speed. Remember to just get it right slowly first until you get it smooth at a slow speed, only then work on building speed. Always break the riffs into manageable chunks and concentrate on those riffs until you get them right, then move to the next riff.
Notice the rests (gaps) between notes during the first riff. This is achieved by muting the string after playing it. This gives a strong rhythmic punctuation, vital to the song. Just play the notes as shown, but remember to mute them! We mute here with the fretboard hand fingers to stop the notes dead. Just lightly touch the string - enough to silence it, but don't use too much pressure in your touch or you will get a note sounding! You can mute with your picking hand instead if you prefer. To do that, pick the string as normal, then palm mute the string to kill the note.
The riffs throughout the song use a lot of muting for rhythmic punctuation. This is excellent for helping your string control and learning how to play good, punchy rhythms!
The riffs in this song are rooted in the E natural minor scale (E F# G A B C D E) - the principal notes used being E, G and A. This is particularly the case in the first (main bass) riff that we just looked at, and also the next riff, where Brian May follows the bassline, but plays up an octave - again using the E G A notes.
Notice that the little finger is used to play the A note this time. If this is awkward for you, instead try fretting your 3rd finger across from the adjacent E note played previously. Just lay your 3rd finger across both strings when you play that note, so you can instantly pick across to the A note on the adjacent string. The same technique is used here in this later riff - play and watch to see what we mean (use the Slow Down feature, as it is quite quick!)
All the riffs for this guitar part are very straightforward and simple, but will take practice to get tight at normal speed. Remember to break them down into manageable chunks, then build up speed with practice - and you can't go wrong!