Brian Harold May played a guitar which was partially made from the oak above a fireplace. It also utilized a spring from a motorbike. The coin he used was a sixpence
(these are no longer available in Britain
so May had some made by the Royal Mint
with his own head on instead of the Queens).
Before Queen were formed May played in the band Smile with Queen drummer Roger Taylor. After the collapse of Smile(there debut single was a flop) May decided to concentrate on his academic career as an astronomer.
Brain May wrote approximately half of Queen's material.