Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic

Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic
 Brian May Guitars Treble Booster ClassicBrian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic 
Worldwide Price : £207.50
UK Price :  £249.00 Inc. 20% VAT

Availability :  

Limited Stock Available  

Limited Stock Available

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The World's FIRST Multi-era Treble Booster

Treble boosters - simultaneously boosting gain and the high end of the tonal spectrum, whilst attenuating lower frequencies - have always been an integral part of Brian May's signal path, from Queen's earliest recordings to his current stadium-sized setup and the 2019 "New Horizons" single, and are an essential tool for any guitarist wishing to achieve a focused, cutting, overdriven sound, with clear note definition and string clarity.

The BMG TREBLE BOOSTER CLASSIC is a elegant and compact, multi-mode foot pedal designed by British electronics guru, Nigel Knight of Knight Audio Technologies, that combines three separate, uniquely voiced circuits that faithfully replicate Dr. May's most recognisable tones from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, providing modern guitarists with the opportunity to select the distinctive sound of their favourite May-era, at the flick of a switch and the turn of a level control, either to emulate the maestro or to explore their own new musical horizons.

Decades of Tone

Thanks to the unique access provided by his long term tech, Pete Malandrone, the sound representing each decade has been meticulously modelled after the actual vintage equipment used by Brian May during each period of his stellar career - his dynamic, germanium Dallas Rangemaster from the 1970's, the orange label, silicon BC149 transistor powered booster installed on his pedal board throughout the 80's, and an original 1998 Greg Fryer strap booster. Every possible technical nuance of these contemporaneous processors has been analysed in order to recreate the original circuitry and realise an astonishingly authentic reproduction of their tonal responses and output profiles.

Proudly made in England, the Treble Booster Classic is built into a compact, rugged, solid die-cast aluminium case and features a heavy-duty 3PDT footswitch for reliable, sustained use, true-bypass switching with LED status indicator, internal battery compartment, 9VDC socket for pedal-board power supplies, high quality Neutrik 3 pole jack sockets and a level control topped with a RS-style aluminium knob, so there is no mistaking the heritage of the tones therein.

Operating the BMG Treble Booster Classic

The BMG Treble Booster Classic is easy to set up and use.

With power supplied by an internal 9 volt battery, or via the 9VDC socket (fully isolated mains adapter NOT supplied), plug your guitar into the ‘IN’ jack and plug the ‘OUT’ jack into your amplifier.

It is essential that the Treble Booster Classic is the first unit in line after the guitar in the signal chain (if you are using a radio system, then the TBC must sit between the guitar and the transmitter pack). For a thorough explanation of the science behind this, please see the section below.

Select the era that represents the sound you wish to use via the slide switch on the top right-hand side.

The three position switch has three decades - 70's, 80's and 90's - marked on the right hand side with three corresponding icons - treble clef, solid star and outlined star - on the left hand side. These icons match the icons printed around the LEVEL control which indicate the point where the level (or gain) of the Treble Booster Classic matches that of the original vintage unit.

  • To match the tone and gain of Brian's earliest treble booster, simply slide the switch to the uppermost 70's position and rotate the level control so that the red dot indicator on the knob lines up with the treble clef.
  • For the eighties tone and level, slide the switch to the centre 80's position and rotate the level control all the way clockwise so that the red dot indicator lines upon with the solid star.
  • To emulate Brian's nineties sound, slide the switch to the bottom 90's position and rotate the level control so that the red dot lines up with the outlined star.

Please note that the level pot in this device also acts upon the bias of the TBC transistor stage and therefore has a DC component present, in addition to the usual AC (signal) component. This will result in the LEVEL control exhibiting a certain amount of noise (a "scratchy" sound) as it is rotated with the Treble Booster Classic switched in circuit. This is perfectly normal for the design of this unit and is not a sign of any fault.

Obviously, these settings do not have to be strictly adhered to; they are simply guides to indicate at which point you will be enjoying a response exactly the same as Brian did in the corresponding era. The BMG Treble Booster Classic has more gain available than the original Dallas Rangemaster and Strap TB so you can adjust the level to suit your own sound and style or amplifier requirements.

Remember to unplug the input jack when not in use if you are running an internal battery to preserve battery life.

An insight into the dark art of Treble Boosting a Red Special

By Nigel Knight • November 2018

First and foremost, this is a treble booster, and so should sit first in line after the guitar in the signal chain. There has been much debate over the years as to why the TB should sit first so, to explain why, let’s start with the guitar itself...

Any Red Special-influenced instrument, in most modes of ‘BM’ style operation, employs at least two single coil pickups in series, whereas most single coil-loaded guitars configure them in parallel. This has the benefit of increasing the output level of the guitar, which helps drive the AC30s (or equivalent) further into saturation. In addition to this, in a number of switching set-ups, the pick-ups' polarity provides ‘humbucking’ qualities, thus reducing hum and noise. 

The theoretical downside is that it also increases the overall impedance of the guitar which renders it more susceptible to ‘tone sucking’ if plugged into a low impedance load. Now, most guitar amplifiers and effects stomp boxes are designed to offer the guitar a relatively high impedance load (at least 500Kohm for some stomp boxes and 1Meg ohm or more for amps). Alas, the humble treble booster has other ideas, as it sits far lower than that at less than 100Kohm.

Now, here’s why the treble booster must come first, straight after the guitar (and when we say straight after, we mean STRAIGHT AFTER, so if you are using a radio system, then the TB must sit between the guitar and the transmitter pack).

So, the guitar is high Z (impedance) and the TB medium Z. Under normal circumstances the treble booster would just suck the high frequency detail from the guitar and that’s just what it does when the guitar is at full volume. The volume pot is fully open, and the low Z load of the TB drags down the high frequency detail of the Red Special. This is what provides the creamy, warm, fully distorted tones we all love. However, when Brian backs off the guitar’s volume, the signal distorts less and cleans up to his renowned glassy tones. This happens because the guitar’s volume pot is wired to effectively provide the pick-ups with a constant high Z load, whilst driving the TB with a varying source impedance. So, when the guitar volume is backed off, the guitar’s pickups see a high Z load, but the TB ‘thinks’ it’s being driven (pushed) by a low Z source, and so the TB can’t suck the high frequencies any more and delivers the glassy cleans.

So, it is imperative that you make sure the guitar and the TB can ‘talk’ to each other and interact with each other, because that is where the magic happens.

Construction Solid machine, die-cast aluminium box with powder coat finish
Controls Heavy duty footswitch + Spun aluminium Red Special style output level control knob
Input/Output 3-pole Neutrik jack sockets
Footswitch 3PDT true by-pass with high intensity green LED status indicator
Performance Multi-mode treble booster selectable via slide switch and level control
Position 1 • 70's Modelled on Brian's Dal's Rangemaster • Peak Frequency : 12kHz • Peak Boost : 33dB
Position 2 • 80’s Modelled on Brian’s Orange label TB83 • Peak Frequency : 3.6kHz • Peak Boost : 32.7dB
Position 3 • 90’s Modelled on Brian’s 1998 Strap TB • Peak Frequency : 3.4kHz • Peak Boost : 29dB
Power From PP3 9 Volt battery (not included) / External 2.1mm DC socket - 9VDC Centre Negative Power Adapter (not supplied)
Current Consumption  ≤ 580uA
Protection Internal reverse polarity diode
Battery Life Approximately 500 hours • Disconnect power by removing INPUT jack plug
Dimensions (L x W x H) 111mm (4.37") x 67mm (2.64") x 46mm (1.81")
Weight 265g (9.35oz)
Origin Made in England

Creating the BMG Treble Booster Classic

Nigel Knight • November 2018

The Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic has been a long time in the making and was originally destined to be a single function TB that would be modelled on the current system used by Brian. However, a spark of genius from Mr. Pete Malandrone manifested itself in what seemed like a very annoying question one day: “Why can’t you make it sound like TB's from all of Brian’s eras?” Now, Pete is renowned for his penchant for throwing the odd curveball, but this particular one was going to cost me a lot of time and effort to pull off, and so initially I said "no" explaining that I simply didn’t have the time to do it, and that a single function booster was the way to go. So that’s what we started designing. However, that niggling head-worm courtesy of Mallers kept very close quarters until, in the end, I figured we should, at the very least, give it a try.

So how did we go about designing such a unique piece of kit?

First things first, I needed references of Brian’s TB's from each era, and so a trip into the depths of the maestro's lock-up would see Mallers and I pulling out box after box, trying to locate suitable candidates. The chosen units for each specific era were his Dallas Rangemaster from the 1970s, old BC149 units from the '80s, and an original 1998 strap booster by Greg Fryer.

These were then put on the test bench and analysed to the nth degree - gain, noise floor, peak frequency boost, peak frequency width and slopes were all measured and documented.

Well, that was the easy bit. Now I just had to design a single treble booster that could emulate them all with minimal controls and, most importantly, in a form that could be easily produced and sold at an affordable price.

After a lot of head scratching and swearing later, the first prototype was built and, as if it was just meant to be, it worked perfectly, straight out of the ‘metaphorical’ box. Much A/B testing was done, switching between units old and new, and a couple of component changes or additions followed, just to hone the responses to get them as close to the originals as possible, but the core circuit remained the same throughout.

A quick look at the comparison response graph below shows just how close they are to the originals.

Average Rating (51 Reviews):  
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Classic treble Booster ?
Tuesday, 9 November 2021  | 

I bought this a little while ago, to go with my BMG Cherry Red version of BM's guitar. I'm still awaiting the delivery of the guitar. Once I get the guitar I can tell you how the TBC performs!

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I'm in love with my KAT
Wednesday, 3 November 2021  | 

Everything in perfect order! Only the German customs office takes ages and cashes again properly. You need a lot of patience. The Treble Booster is nicely packaged and a sticker from KAT is also included and, of course, it sounds great!

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Well worth the wait! I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS THING!
Monday, 11 October 2021  | 

Although I was originally dismayed to have received a defective pedal (which apparently is a very rare occurrence) the fine folks at House Music were able to send me a replacement right away (and even covered the shipping costs!) and it WORKS LIKE A DREAM... I play an official BMG Red Special guitar into a Vox AC30 and the addition of the KAT Treble Booster was the missing ingredient that has really let me dial in THAT tone!

Also, some people on forums were telling me that you have to have your amp cranked in order for the TB to work, but this is not true. It sounds fantastic at bedroom volumes.

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Tuesday, 14 September 2021  | 

I have tested this booster last Saturday in my studio & rehearsal room. I have used a Vox AC-30 Top Boost from 1965 and my Fender Stratocaster from 1963.

The Vox's settings were: Normal input, cut completely off, bass off, treble full, volume almost cranked up full. This is the basic setting if I need a classic rock sound with a Strat in combination with a Vox - some kind of musty but dynamic sound as usual.

With the booster it suddenly appeared more gain, "the overtones, the sustain, and the "splutter"", which Brian mentions in his book (Brian May's Red Special, page 19). And I think it's true! This combination sounds really great! Normally I don't like foot pedals very much (except Sweet Elephant from Marcus Deml) - I prefer the distortion sound coming from an amp (and from your fingers) as you normally have the most dynamic sound, which sometimes can be shrinked by a 9V pedal in my opinion.

But in this case, I'll have to say: great natural combination, I'm impressed - wow! And I believe Brian reading on the same page that "all treble boosters are modelled on that old Rangemaster circuit". Though I have no possibilty to compare (which you normally should), I think it must be the same, or even better, sound as you have more options (i.e. 70's, 80's and 90's mode). Sometimes you think all these guitar stars make promotion and endorsement for equipment they in reality don't play, or just play special customized high price versions.

So I think you don't make a mistake if your are searching for a booster with great tone to pimp up your vintage Vox or Marshalls.
Many thanks to Brian!

Alex (Germany)

p.s. next time I will test it with my modded Marshall Mayor.
p.p.s.: I almost could't belive that Jimi Hendrix also played sometimes a Vox in the beginning of his career in England - in combination with a Rangemaster, but Brian has seen it!

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The seller is more than excellent
Wednesday, 18 August 2021  | 

The TBC pedal is of excellent workmanship. It manages to reproduce the effect used by Brian in his live shows excellently... When inserted the guitar does not sing... Screams... Great... the seller is more than excellent... the sale follows step by step.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Friday, 21 May 2021  | 

If you do the research, you'll hear the word "snowstorm" was used as the original pedal was discovered by somebody. While it's not the original that goes for 4 times the $ on the open market, it is true to the tone you'd expect if you have at least similar input (guitar) and output (amp). I'm using a BMG Special through a Vox AC10 or an Orange Rocker32, and it gives me chills. The reference to "snowstorm" is due to the static you'll encounter while everything is idle, but when you start playing that little issue will disappear as you are engulfed in that tone. The snowstorm is a small price to pay to hear it...

Unlike the original, you actually have control over the ON/OFF settings. As I understand, if you plugged in the original it was ON and you had no other choice but to blow your face off. Sounds cool, but I like having the ability to go neutral if chained together with other pedals.

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Great Pedal
Monday, 3 May 2021  | 

The pedal is compact, effective and works wonders when paired with the BMG Special. I especially like the ability to switch between Brian’s '70s, '80s, and '90s tones, while still being given the ability to fine-tune to your liking. Aesthetically, the pedal is about as good as a pedal can be. It’s not too big, and the overall design is logical and smart. It works well with any guitar but is a must have for any BMG Special owners!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

THE sound!
Wednesday, 28 April 2021  | 

I have owned many treble boosters over the years. The Flynn Amps OC44 in to my AC30CC1 has previously been my go-to but this KAT takes it to the next level for me. I know it is expensive but I probably lost more money buying and selling pedals chasing the sound I was looking for.

I can't recommend this enough. I am a huge Queen and Brian May fan but don't use a TB exclusively for Queen covers. It gets you that 60s and 70s Rock sound - I have a Victory Sheriff 22 and that plus TB is Thin Lizzy, Priest etc. It is the missing ingredient.

Just get one, you won't regret it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Was it all worth it?!?
Tuesday, 20 April 2021  | 

Yes - Absolutely amazing pedal - Spend the $$$ people, because it’s bloody worth it!

I use mine alongside my old BHM Digitech pedal and after toggling with the limited treble I got from that, the KAT boosts those sounds lovingly from my Marshall amp.

Pros: Everything. Crisp, rich tones. The control knob (looks like Bri’s).
Con: Change the toggle switch to white - the black sometimes makes it difficult to see the setting in some rooms

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Great little pedal
Monday, 12 April 2021  | 

Having done some research on treble boosters over the last few months, I was convinced that I needed one to help me achieve the sound I was looking for. My main guitar is a Les Paul going into an original Marshall Silver Jubilee combo. The sound is great, but a little muddy when the amp is cranked up.

My first impression when plugging in the Brian May TB classic was a bit underwhelming until I sent my guitar into the clean channel with the master volume turned down a bit. It made a huge difference and sounded much nearer the sound I was looking for.

Would definitely recommend this pedal as it can definitely add that treble sweet spot to make your guitar sing.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021  | 

Everything is as expected. Build quality, aesthetic, and most important, the sound quality, are superb.

Congrats, Brian May and Nigel Knight.

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Great booster
Friday, 29 January 2021  | 

I have really enjoyed using the Treble Booster Classic. There are many variations of sounds to be had from adjusting both the pedal and using my guitars volume control accordingly. It runs perfectly into my old Marshall JMP which is set to mild break-up and the pedal gives it that extra push. This pedal can help cover a lot of ground from Queen-esque tones all the way through to Deep Purple and early Black Sabbath tones. Highly recommended, as long as you use it correctly and your playing technique is up to scratch.

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Amazing booster / Amazing customer service
Friday, 29 January 2021  | 

I received a Honeyburst BMG for Christmas and decided to get the Treble Booster. I love it. The sound is amazing. Highly recommended for everyone.

Not only that, when you order anything from BMG, the customer service from Barry and all there is unsurpassed.

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Awesome pedal
Wednesday, 27 January 2021  | 

The thing with pedals is, you either like them or not. What works for the one doesn't for the other... this is a very distictive sounding pedal, it will get you your classic rock tones, like Tony Iommi's and Rory Gallagher's if you use the right guitar and amp. I own several BM type guitars - Guilds and a BMG Super - and I'm very pleased with the sounds I get with my Marshall 1978x top with greenback Celestion speaker loaded cab. I will have to get a Vox for "that" exact sound but, for now, the pedal gets me where I wanna be! And I can sound like me!!

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The coolest
Monday, 25 January 2021  | 

This is coolest Brian May item since long time. It is must-have product for fans and a good idea to get one while you still can. Delivery time was fast, next to speed of light! If only one day there would be Brian May phaser and 'Brighton Rock' delay combo in one pedal...

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Get the solos clearly audible
Monday, 11 January 2021  | 

I heard about the reble booster on the internet and why Brian is using it since decades. I'm a hobby guitar player and since I switched to electric guitars in the late 1970s I think my solos are too loud, while the audience thinks they're too silent. This is certainly based on my peculiar fable for soft and full sounds with a lot of sustain that are hard to distinguish from the sound wall generated by the rest of the band. With the treble booster, I did not need to change a thing as to the volume, just switch it on and, at the same volume, the solos stick out; at least inside our rehearsal room. Live gigs will show more later this year; fingers crossed!!

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A must
Friday, 8 January 2021  | 

Fantastic treble booster – 3 presets based on Brian's '70s, '80s and '90s boosters, but you can tweak each to your own personal taste with the level control.

Makes your BMG come to life.

I have a BMG Signature and a 1993 Guild Signature, both massively enhanced using this. It really is a must if you own a Red Special.

Worth every penny.

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Pleased with my purchase
Monday, 4 January 2021  | 

Very much up to my expectations; I've yet to try it with my other guitars but my PRS Custom 22 (LH) that sounds good anyway has been enriched by that "live" expression. I experienced that equivalent sound in 1965 when I played in a band competing in the Melody Maker Beat competition at the Wimbledon Palais (our biggest audience at that time). The equipment was supplied by the original Vox company with a "Beatles" stage sound engineer setting it for us.

I used my Hagstrom Acoustic with De Armond pickup through an AC50 on chrome stand. The engineer instructed me to kit a full chord - yes, that was the full sound I received and have not been able to replicate that since. Yes, we won that heat of the competition and fulfilled to some extent the expectations of the five coach loads of fans that accompanied us - we had a very happy return journey to Uppingham, Rutland.

My own AC30 (tweed case on chrome swivel castor legs) had been reworked by my cousin (an electronics engineer at PERA Melton Mowbray, where I worked as a student electronics draughtsman on atomic submarine circuits based at Barrow in Furness). That AC30 was transformed after he rewired it and had that same wow factor that the BM Treble Booster produces.

I've not tried it with my other guitars I'll enjoy putting these through their paces (one is a LH Red Special); I'm using a PRS SE50 combo that is much better than earlier reviews suggested.

Yes, I'm pleased with my purchase and, on that evidence, am having my clever cousin make me another of these boosters from kit form. Incidentally I sold my Vox to raise funds when I was married in 1974. You always have regrets throughout life and that is one - NO, not getting married, here we are in lockdown after all these years!

David Walker, a satisfied customer.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020  | 

What can I say? What a wonderful little pedal- so easy to use and what a dramatic effect it has on bringing out the best in my guitars, not just my BMG. Wish I’d got one years ago - a must for any serious guitar player.

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Simply nails it
Tuesday, 20 October 2020  | 

I am totally impressed with this Treble Booster. While there are many options on the market (new & old), this product is impossible to beat for the price. The "decades" presets perform as described and the feel of the unit as good as anything I have tried. Highly recommended!!! It works great with both modeling amps... and a genuine EL-84 driven amp!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

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