He beat iconic guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.
“I’m absolutely speechless. I’m blown away. I have to say it’s completely unexpected,” May told Total Guitar Obviously, I’m deeply touched that people feel that way about me. I’m not under any illusions that, technically, I’m even on the tree of great guitarists.”
“I guess this tells me that what I’ve done has affected people, and that means a great deal to me,” he continued. “I will never claim to be a great guitarist in the sense of, you know, a virtuoso. I guess I just try to play from my heart and that’s about.”
On beating Hendrix to the top spot, May added: “Oh my god! Well, it is very humbling. Jimi is, of course, my number one. And I’ve always said that. To me, he’s still something superhuman.
“Its like he really did come from an alien planet, and I will never know quite how he did what he did. And every time I go back to Hendrix, I’m thrilled and stunned, and I get that feeling all over again, like either I’m going to give up playing guitar, because I can’t face up to this, or I’m gonna really have to get into it in a big way and try and do what is in my own body and soul. I never stop learning from Jimi. Strangely enough, these days I seldom play his stuff but it’s kind of inside my anyway.”
He also discussed how LED ZEPPELIN‘s Jimmy Page inspired him: “He’s almost my generation, but a little bit older, and we went to the same primary school, although he was, I think, two or three years above me — and that’s a lot when you’re small. So I always looked up to him, I gotta say, because he’s kind of a local boy to me. Strangely enough, we live quite close to each other at the moment.
To me, he’s a master of invention, that’s what I would say,” May continued. “And he’s a major, major force in defining what heavy rock became as it was being born. I never get ed up of listening to those ZEPPELIN albums, and I never will. And it’s a funny feeling as well, because we were boys trying to do our thing and hoping that one day we might be rock stars and live their life, and listening to ‘Communication Breakdown’ and ‘Good Times Bad Times’, I remember I had that feeling of, ‘Oh my god, he’s doing what I want to do and I either have to give up or else I have to try bloody hard.'”