The BMG Special • Antique Cherry

The BMG Special • Antique Cherry
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List Price :  £795.00UK/EU Discount Price :  £695.00 Inc. 20% VATSave :  £100.00Export Price - USA • Australia • Worldwide : £579.17
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BMG Custom Guitar Strap • RedBMG Custom Guitar Strap • Red
BMG Custom Guitar Strap • Red StripeBMG Custom Guitar Strap • Red Stripe
BMG Custom Guitar Strap • BlackBMG Custom Guitar Strap • Black
BMG Custom Guitar Strap • BeigeBMG Custom Guitar Strap • Beige
BMG Ltd. Edition 2017 T-Shirt • CharcoalBMG Ltd. Edition 2017 T-Shirt • Charcoal
Elites Electric Guitar StringsElites Electric Guitar Strings

"The variety and uniqueness on offer here make this an outstanding recording guitar when you've run out of options on your usual guitar collection... it's easy to justify how special this Red Special really is!"

Jason Sidwell • Guitar Techniques • August 2013


The flagship model of the BMG fleet and the result of a unique collaboration between Brian May, his long-standing guitar tech Pete Malandrone and House Music, The BMG SPECIAL combines the distinctive aesthetics and sound of the legendary Red Special with a wealth of modern appointments and superb quality, production-line craftsmanship.

All the foundations of the trademark BM sound are present and correct, with construction, pickups and electronics faithfully reproducing the original's unique character and tonal versatility. But this is so much more than just a replica... with a price-tag and a range of new colours driven by Brian's concept of a guitar "for the people", The Special is designed to provide modern players of all musical persuasions with an affordable pro-grade instrument that is the perfect "go-to" guitar for any performance environment.

Acoustic Chambered Mahogany Body


True to the look and spirit of the "Old Lady", the instantly recognisable pinstripe-bound, double cutaway mahogany body features an acoustic chamber modelled on Brian's original design that enhances the Special's natural resonance and decreases weight.

24" Scale Mahogany Neck


Engineered with a decidely contemporary feel, and considerably less deeply contoured than the somewhat gargantuan proportions of the "Old Lady", the glued-in Mahogany neck sports a generous 45mm nut width, comfortably spacious "D" profile and wonderfully smooth 24 fret ebony fingerboard. 

Tri-Sonic Style Pickups


Modern replicas of the classic '60's Burns design units that are so fundamental to the Red Special's powerful sonic character, the three series-wired, single-coil pickups feature the same retro-styling, winding and magnet alignment as the originals.

Original BM Switching System


As per the original BM design, The Special is equipped with 6 white-capped slider switches controlling individual pickup on/off and phase reversal and providing a vast range of tonal variations.

Wilkinson Knife-Edge Tremolo


Trevor Wilkinson's "Wave" tremolo-bridge provides a strikingly modern look to The Special as well as delivering smooth, comfortable performance and exceptional stability and sustain.

Grover Locking Tuners


Featuring Grover's innovative Rotomatic® internal "Locking Cam", these superb machine heads automatically lock your strings as you tune, allowing for super-fast string changes and ensuring rock-solid tuning stability, even with heavy tremolo use.

  << Discover more about the unique appointments and performance of the BMG SPECIAL

Body Acoustic Chambered Mahogany with Bookmatched Mahogany Top
Binding 6-Ply Pinstripe, Front + Back
Neck 1-Piece Mahogany
Finish Gloss
Truss Rod Dual Action (440mm)
Fingerboard Ebony
Frets 24 Medium Jumbo 18% Nickel Frets + Zero Fret
Fret Wire Dimensions Crown Height : 2.7mm (0.106") • Crown Width : 0.914mm (0.036") • Radius : 230mm (9.0")
Inlays White Front + Side Dots (Φ 6mm /Φ 1.5mm)
Neck Join Set Neck Construction
Pickups 3 x BM Brand Custom Tri-Sonic Style Series Wired Single Coil
Switches White Slider Switches • 3 x Pickup On/Off • 3 x Pickup Phase In/Out
Controls Master Volume + Master Tone (250k) with BM Replica, Lathe-Turned, Billet Stock, Aluminium Control Knobs
Bridge Wilkinson WVP Knife Edge Tremolo (36mm Block) with Brass Saddles • Custom BMG Trem Arm with Plastic Tip
Machineheads 3-A-Side Grover 406 Mini Locking Rotomatic® Tuners
Nut Graphite/PPS Black (45mm x 6mm)
Scratchplates Main Control Plate • Half-Moon Tail Plate • Matching Truss Rod Cover
Overall Length 98.8cm (38.9")
Body Length 40.63cm (16")
Body Width 35.67cm (14")
Body Depth 40mm (1.57")
Fingerboard Radius 250mm (9.8")
Scale 610mm (24")
Neck Width @ Nut 45mm (1.77")
Neck Width @ 12th Fret 53mm (2.09")
Neck Width @ 24th Fret 57mm (2.24")
Neck Depth @ 1st Fret 22mm (0.87")
Neck Depth @ 12th Fret 24mm (0.94")
String Spacing @ Nut 36mm (1.42")
String Spacing @ 12th Fret 45mm (1.77")
Weight Approx 3.2kg (7lbs)
Strings D'Addario XL-120 Super Light • Plain Steel .009 - .011 - .016 • Nickel Wound .024 - .032 - .042
Included Extras Premium Quality Gig Bag with Stitched Brian May Guitars Logo
Options (additional cost) Moulded, Impact Resistant, Plush Lined HISCOX "LiteFlite" Custom Fitted Hard Case with Stamped Brian May Guitars Logo
Country Of Origin World Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. - South Korea

Brian May

An exclusive demonstration of the first iteration of the BMG Special by the good Doctor himself.

Lucas Vianna

A superb demo of the Brian May Guitars SPECIAL from young, Brazilian guitar ace Lucas Vianna, a performer in the 2016 São Paulo and 2017 Danish touring productions of the smash hit Queen musical "We Will Rock You".

Lucas uses the Special to demonstrate some of Brian May's favourite pickup and phase switch settings : 

And here, Lucas shows off the Special's unique, genre-busting tonal dexterity :

  << Read more information on BMG switch settings HERE

It's Red and It's Special!

Jason Sidwell • August 19th 2013

Originally launched in 2001 by Burns, this version of Brian May's Red Special guitar was released in 2006 by Brian May Guitars, a company headed up by Barry Moorhouse of House Music, Pete Malandrone (Brian May's tech) and Brian May himself. 

As you'd expect, this guitar is available in red (Antique Cherry) just like Brian's own guitar but there are other options if you hanker for the design and tones but not this colour. Natural, Blue, Black/Gold, White, Green, 3-Tone Sunburst... there's much on offer.

While the design brief was for a guitar that offered 'best product at an affordable price', there's not a huge apparent difference between this model and Brian's own. Certainly from a distance, they look very similar as regards body shape, pickups, controls and dot arrangement for the 24 frets. Up close, the main differences are bridge type (here it's a Wilkinson bridge), the whammy bar (this one has a unique curve where it connects to the bridge), the type of volume/tone dials, no pickup surrounds and the headstock décor. The mahogany body (the original is oak with a mahogany veneer) also features an acoustic chamber that aids resonance at louder volumes as well as making for a lighter weight guitar.

For a guitar in this price range, there are some noticeable bonuses too; the Grover tuning lockers, combined with the graphite nut (a zero fret is present, just as on the original), helped tuning stability even when going for the bigger whammy bar dives that Brian favoured during the late '80s. There's also the workmanship on show; joints, frets and paintwork are pretty much faultless. For the more discerning, we liked the fact that the nut width of 45mm at the 1st fret is a little more than other guitars that typically favour 42-43mm. The neck isn't as deeply contoured as Brian's own but it is more substantial than many modern rock axes; with the nut width and neck contour we found it very comfortable to play. If you've found open string chords like A major a bit of a squeeze on a standard electric, you'll love the room two extra millimetres affords here. Talking of playability, each guitar comes strung with a .009 gauge set of strings enabling easy bend strings and smooth finger vibrato.

Tone


Having used this guitar over a period of several months – most extensively during show work for We Will Rock You – we're happy to report that the tones available are not only unique but also very reminiscent of Brian's own. This is down to the three retro single coil pickups that ape Brian's own Burns Tri-Sonic pickups. These are wired in series (instead of the more common wired in parallel) which means that each pickup turned on increases output volume. Three pickups may not be that unusual but two sets of switches certainly are (white here, same colour as on Brian's red special); the higher placed set turns the pickup on/off and the lower set is for in/out phase reversal. If two pickups are on and one is reverse phased, the resulting tone is minus the sonic elements that are shared by both pickups. This can result in some very unique sounds, from round humbucker based tones (in phase) through to thinner, almost vocal sounding tones that can help a solo cut through a band mix (out of phase).

From Bohemian Rhapsody and Fat Bottom Girls through to One Vision and I Want It All, this guitar undoubtedly gets you much closer to Brian's tone than any typical Strat or Les Paul. Of course, to get even closer you'll want to factor in choice of pick (Brian favours old sixpence coins, sometimes fingers) effects (treble boost, delay, phaser, chorus) and amplifier (Vox AC30 with top boost, the Deacy amp) but this guitar is a substantial aspect to May's magic. With over 20 pickup setting options, it's certainly one of the most tonally versatile guitars on the market!

In Use


While the amount of pickup options can seem overwhelming, some are favoured more than others by Brian. So we spent much time on his favourite tone; the bridge and middle pickups in phase. Used for various solos (check out his lead licks on Brighton Rock), it's a thick sound with a specific bite that's great for soloing (eg the scalic runs in It's A Kind Of Magic proved great for this) as well as low string playing (eg Ogre Battle's busy 16th note riffing). Certainly, it's the closest option if you're chasing a typical bridge humbucker tone but with an appealing raspy edge if you dig in on the lower wound strings. 

Combining neck and bridge pickups (out of phase) has a thinner, almost honky, tone that paired with amp distortion (ideally a Vox AC30) is pleasingly unique. Check out the solo on Liar (from "Queen 1") for reference. 

Another favourite tone of Brian's combines the neck and middle pickups for a warmer option than bridge and middle; listen to the solo on Roger's Rocket (from "Queen 2"). A variation of this, features the middle pickup set out of phase which is vital if you want to duplicate the harmonically rich lead tone for the solos on "Somebody To Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" (add a little phaser effect to the latter song for extra authenticity). With the light string gauge and easy playability high up the fretboard, playing the Bo' Rhap solo was a very joyous experience!

Conclusion


Brian May fans will love this guitar; great price, attention to build quality and an obvious visual appeal tick the important boxes. The tonal options also make it a must have but not only for those that hanker to emulate him. The variety and uniqueness on offer here make this an outstanding recording guitar when you've run out of options on your usual guitar collection. Based on these factors, it's easy to justify how special this Red Special really is!

<< SEE ALL BMG PRINT & ONLINE PRESS REVIEWS HERE

Average Rating (41 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
Wonderful instrument
Tuesday, 31 October 2017  | 

Dear Guitar folks

I wanted to let you know what I received my signed Red Special yesterday. What a wonderful instrument at such a great price! I've been playing all morning!

I wanted to thank you for such a great item. It made it all the way to Hollywood, California in one piece and the packaging was terrific. Thanks again and much success to everyone there!

Jason McDonald • Los Angeles, CA

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Response:

Hi Jason

Thank you for your positive feedback. We are thrilled to hear you are so happy with your new guitar!

Many thanks once again for choosing a Brian May Guitar.


Rating:  
Unique guitar
Sunday, 15 October 2017  | 

A nice, high quality guitar, easy to play with a lot of unique sounds. Good job, guys!

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This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
Swift & complete
Monday, 21 August 2017  | 

I placed the order on a Friday night and it was shipped on Weds. Good work. Was away for work so picked it up yesterday and put it to work. The only was niggle was there should be a small note inserted to illustrate position of the worm screw for the tremolo arm - far from obvious, but a net search sorted it!

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Response:

Instructions for fitting the arm on the BMG Wilkinson "Wave" knife-edge tremolo bridge can be found on our support page HERE


Rating:  
Stunning
Wednesday, 2 August 2017  | 

Just received my BMG Special and I need to say it lives well up my wildest imagination. Setting up the guitar was easy and it plays like a dream. The sound is stunning!

Thanks very much for building this legend and making it available for the public. This guitar is so different from anything else out there. Sounds so much better... And then the looks... Brian and his dad did an amazing thing by creating this thing. And I know this will continue for years and years.

Goodbye Fender... Goodbye Gibson...So long.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Small & easily preventable issue
Thursday, 29 June 2017  | 

Well built. Stays in tune. Definitely gets warm Brian May sound.

Strangely, tremolo arm/bar slides out and fall off it's place on it's own, as soon as you tilt a guitar, even a bit.

That is a serious problem, as is should be held in the bridge securely. Hence 4 stars

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Response:

To secure the tremolo arm on the BMG Wilkinson "Wave" knife-edge tremolo bridge, please refer to our product support page HERE


Rating:  
Fantastic & unique
Thursday, 15 June 2017  | 

Thank you very much... I absolutely love my new BMG Special and me and my friends find it a fantastic and unique instrument to play.

I really love the pickups and what you can get out of the switching, I had a luthier set it up and the action is superb, a joy to play.

How I chose the BMG special was years of frustration with several guitars and lots of testing trying to find one that my fingers can fret chords comfortably, so surfing google for one with a wider fret board I came across a lot of positive forum comments about the BMG for bigger fingers. I know that the regular advice is practice, practice, practice and I do, but 5 days a week I have to go out and work as a carpenter and my job just makes chunky fingers (plus a few of them have been mashed with a hammer a few times over the years!). A lot of the time I am transcribing music to the 5th fret, as that is where I can play the cleanest... the Special is about 40mm at the 5th and it's suddenly so easy to get clean chords. Even the 36mm at the nut on the BMG makes a lot of difference, and I have fun getting it back off friends and my son as they all find it super easy to play well.

And thank you very much to Dr. Brian May for having the strength of conviction to make what you are doing happen and for an accessible, premium instrument.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Fabulous guitar... marvellously friendly service
Thursday, 15 June 2017  | 

My BMG Special arrived a couple of hours ago and I just wanted to tell you how fabulous this guitar really is.

I took it for a spin with "Bohemian Rhapsody" (who doesn't!) and "Tie Your Mother Down" and was blown away on the spot.

But I bought it to play my own music on and a couple of my numbers sounded so different. I couldn't believe I was playing my stuff with that fantastic sound! My Strat and my Les Paul are presently destined to sit in their stands for a while. They are simply outclassed by the BMG, and believe me I am ultra-attached to my Les Paul!!!

I especially wanted to thank you very, very much for such marvellously friendly service. It felt good to feel appreciated when I put the phone down again. Great work. I'm sure I will be returning. I'd love a green Special... My wife will shortly go mad.

So many thanks and congratulations on the quality of the guitar and the friendliness of the service.

Have a great, great day!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Amazing guitar!!
Tuesday, 6 June 2017  | 

Well done and thank you BM and team... a tremendous testament to Brian and Harold's incredible originality and the BMG team's enterprise.

The guitar is brilliant and the ordering, purchase, communication, packaging, delivery and presentation have been first-class.

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This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
High quality guitar and sounds very well
Tuesday, 16 May 2017  | 

It took around one week to arrive in Quebec, Canada with UPS.

This guitar is amazing, it is worth the money asked for and it sounds as the original if you have a good treble booster and the right amplifier. The Hiscox Hard Case is outstanding too.

The service and communication from Barry and Gill Moorhouse is very good and they are quick to reply your questions.

If you want to sound like the legend Brian May, you need one of these beauties.

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Rating:  
What a guitar
Monday, 1 May 2017  | 

Perfect service, nice people on the phone. Delivery came one day before schedule - and what a guitar. 100% recommendation from me.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
The touch of the Legend
Tuesday, 21 February 2017  | 

The guitar is pretty good, the accessories as well. Details don't matter. I got it, it's great first of all.

Brian, thank you!

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
A dream comes true...
Tuesday, 31 January 2017  | 

This is an amazing instrument and I could not be more satisfied.

Beyond this, for me, it is a symbol of something that I love that has been part of my life for years and I have the honor to have it at home now.

Thank you Dr. Brian May for all that you represent for me and others around the world.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Awesome!
Tuesday, 10 January 2017  | 

This is the most awesome guitar I've ever played!

To anyone hesitating buying it : just press the "Add to Basket" button and check out!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Perfect
Sunday, 8 January 2017  | 

Wonderful product, perfect sound, excellent quality and excellent contact with Barry!!!!!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Great
Wednesday, 7 December 2016  | 

Great item for playing, and also as a decoration for huge QUEEN fan.

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This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
Best. Guitar. EVER.
Monday, 5 December 2016  | 

This is the best guitar ever.

Forget Fender, Gibson and Ibanez: this is definitely the guitar you need.

21 sound combinations, high end finishes & much more...

Thank you to the staff too for the kind and fast support.

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This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
Great value for money guitar and 5* service
Tuesday, 29 November 2016  | 

I had planned to buy the Super Red Special but after a telephone conversation with Barry, who gave me good advice, I opted for the BMG Special.

This is an awesome guitar for the price and I'm delighted with it. It's light and very easy to play and when played through the amp has a lovely clear tone.

Friendly, helpful and very professional staff. 10/10 all round.

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Rating:  
What a beauty!
Thursday, 17 November 2016  | 

I'm positively surprised about the quality of this guitar. It took about 10 days from the order to get the guitar to Finland. Everything was decent and the guitar needed only minor adjustments and of course tuning to the right pitch

The reason I did not give five stars is the zero fret buzzing or clicking when the G or B strings are bended. It still happens after proper adjustments. I think that those strings needs a string guide to get more tension at least .009 set strings. Unfortunately there wasn't string guide in the package.

Otherwise I really like BMG Special guitar and it's a keeper. The sounds and playability are awesome. Also reaching the upper frets is much easier than on my Fenders and Les Paul.

Thanks for the BMG and all the best for the Master itself, Dr. Brian May!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Great experience
Friday, 30 September 2016  | 

Not only an amazing instrument - the service was excellent. Fast flawless delivery to Australia. The Hiscox case is also worth every cent... I am really enjoying getting to know this guitar and all of its sonic capability.

Definitely an instant favorite.

Thanks Guys - Hookey

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Rating:  
Great service and gorgeous guitar!
Monday, 15 August 2016  | 

Just received my BMG Special. The exterior box had been a bit dented and torn, but the guitar was well enough protected that it remained in pristine condition - and it looks beautiful! Haven't had time to play, beyond a quick tune up, but I am very pleased with BMG's service and prompt delivery!

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Read all 41 customer reviews...