Queen star Brian May judges competition for South Shields guitarist

Guitar teacher James Rundle  online competition for guitarists has got Queen's Brian May to pick the winner.
Guitar teacher James Rundle online competition for guitarists has got Queen's Brian May to pick the winner.

A South Tyneside guitar teacher is feeling ‘A Kind of Magic’ after an online bid to find the next king of Queen proved a smash hit with rock icon Brian May.

When dad-of-three James Rundle set up a YouTube competition calling on musicians to send in videos of themselves reprising classic tracks from mega-selling group Queen, he decided to emailing his guitar hero and ask him to pick the winner.

Brian May.

Brian May.

That proved music to the ears of the chart-topping legend – who agreed to judge the 20-strong cast of hopefuls from all corners of the globe.

Mr Rundle, 43, who offers full-time tuition from his home in Gillside Court, South Shields, and runs his own YouTube channel offering guitar guidance, says he is “ecstatic” to win the seal of approval by the man who first inspired him to pick up the instrument at the age of 14. Having their skills scrutinised by the chart-topping musician will be an extra bonus for the entrants, who have been promised a unique first prize of a bagful of sixpences, which May uses as guitar picks.

Mr Rundle said: “I put together the entrants in a compilation video and uploaded it.

“I decided to send it to Brian May’s website to ask if they could pick a winner.

Seeing Brian May perform inspired to take up the guitar.

James Rundle

“I got an email back saying Brian had watched the video himself and would be picking a winner.

“I was ecstatic when I got the message.

“They even posted the video on their website and Facebook page.

“I’m now waiting to hear who he has chosen. There were entrants from all over the world – from Russia and Italy and Poland to Argentina.

Guitar teacher James Rundle  online competition for guitarists has got Queen's Brian Mayto pick the winner

Guitar teacher James Rundle online competition for guitarists has got Queen's Brian Mayto pick the winner

“They are all beside themselves.

“They can now all say Brian has watched them play a Queen song and that is like a prize in itself. One of the entrants is a former student of mine, Jacob Jolly, from South Shields, who is really hoping to win.

Mr Rundle is now disappointed he didn’t put himself in the video.

He added; “I first saw Queen live on TV at the age of 14 when they did a live show at Wembley in 1986.

“Seeing Brian May perform inspired me to take up the guitar.

“He has such a unique style and the fact he performs with a self-made guitar shows he has a stroke of genius.

“He has sustained his popularity for more than 40 years.”

Brian May said on his website: “It’s hard to pick a winner folks. Everyone had something to offer.”

You can check out Mr Rundle’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/jamesrundle72/