The BMG Special • Antique Cherry • Left Handed

The BMG Special • Antique Cherry • Left Handed
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The BMG Special • Antique Cherry • Left HandedThe BMG Special • Antique Cherry • Left HandedThe BMG Special • Antique Cherry • Left Handed
List Price :  £825.00UK/EU Discount Price :  £725.00 Inc. 20% VATSave :  £100.00Export Price - USA • Australia • Worldwide : £604.17
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BMG Custom Guitar Strap • RedBMG Custom Guitar Strap • Red
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Optima 24K Gold BM Signature StringsOptima 24K Gold BM Signature Strings
Elites Electric Guitar StringsElites Electric Guitar Strings
Elites ''Science Of Sound'' Acoustic Guitar StringsElites "Science Of Sound" Acoustic Guitar Strings

From Monday, October 14th for a strictly limited period, every BMG Special purchased will be accompanied by an official Brian May sixpence produced by the British Pobjoy Mint to commemorate the 2005 Queen + Paul Rodgers World Tour. This exclusive, limited edition coin comes complete in a perspex display case.

Promotion applies to purchases made on or after Monday, October 14th 2019 and will be available strictly while stocks last. This exclusive coin is not available for purchase separately.

"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


Brian May Guitars Special - Antique Cherry - Left Handed

The result of a unique collaboration between Brian May, his long-standing guitar tech Pete Malandrone and House Music, The best-selling 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.

Knife-Edge Tremolo


A point-pivot 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.

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 (500k) with BM Replica, Lathe-Turned, Billet Stock, Aluminium Control Knobs
Bridge Point-Pivot, Knife Edge Tremolo, 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 Plastic Main Control Plate • Half-Moon Tail Plate • Matching Truss Rod Cover • Tremolo Cavity 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 Nickel Wound EX120 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".

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

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

"Great price, attention to build quality, and an obvious visual appeal tick the
important boxes... an outstanding recording guitar when you've
run out of options on your usual guitar collection"

Jason Sidwell • August • 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!

Average Rating (5 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
Finally getting to play left-handed on a beautiful guitar!
Thursday, 22 August 2019  | 

I had decided to bite the bullet and start playing left-handed (as it should be). After doing some research, I decided to go with this lovely left-handed model from BMG.

Purchasing was a breeze and shipping was mind-bogglingly quick. The only surprise was a modest tax collected by the shipper at the last minute. Not a big deal, and I don't mind paying a legitimate tax, but was just surprised.

Having said that, the guitar and case were beautifully packaged Within minutes I was up-and-running. The feel of the guitar is first-rate, and so far the sound is great (discounting my gorilla-like playing).

BMG has done a great job here, offering a capable instrument at a sane price. Gleefully recommended.

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Response:

Apologies if having to pay import tax/custom duties came as a surprise... we do highlight this fact on our customer support page HERE.

Until a post-EU UK manages to sucessfully negotiate one of those magic, tariff-free trade deals with the USA and the rest of the world that Brexit advocates promise, such charges will always be due on purchases from Brian May Guitars.


Rating:  
Quality
Tuesday, 13 August 2019  | 

The purchasing process on your website was very easy and straightforward. I was very impressed. As soon as I opened the package, I immediately realized it was a high quality guitar.

I just hope I can do it the justice it deserves.

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Rating:  
A 43 year dream is finally realized...
Wednesday, 17 July 2019  | 

From the time I heard my first Queen album back in the early 70's, I have dreamed of having a Red Special of my very own. A lifetime later, now that my children are all grown up, I decided to order one of these beauties. It made its way across the pond to me in Canada unscathed and I felt like a child in a candy store opening up the box to stare in awe at what I now finally held in my hands. With a few moments of setup I was ready to play... so I did.

Wow... this guitar is FIERCE! I can hardly find the words to describe the growl that I can pull out of this beast, but with the flick of the wrist I can tame her and turn the guttural rasp into a delicate whisper or a soaring aria. Hands down, this is the most versatile instrument I have ever had the pleasure to play, and I will treasure it for as long as I live.

I wish this guitar had been available 40 years ago when I was playing guitars in a few local bands instead of the Strat that, in truth, did the job for me, but doesn't hold a candle to the versatility of this instrument.

Thank you Dr. May for making this available to the common man, and for the stellar job you have done in designing and creating such an exquisite example of a guitar that can only be classified as a functional work of art. Your attention to detail and dedication to perfection is unparalleled, and greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work!

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Rating:  
Killer special - guaranteed to blow your mind
Thursday, 13 June 2019  | 

Had my Special about a month now and it’s playing beautifully with a ‘killer’ range of tones. The neck feels gorgeous with a really nice playing action. Overall the build quality is of a very high quality and in my opinion far outweighs its price point.

BMG were very helpful throughout the ordering and delivery process, keeping me updated with delivery timescales and tracking info, making the whole buying experience very easy and assured.

Thank you to all at BMG for a great guitar.

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Rating:  
One happy boy!
Wednesday, 7 February 2018  | 

My son was so happy to receive his guitar last Friday .... he's 15 years old and this has been such a goal of his to purchase the guitar, and he did it, with his own hard work and determination. It is such a beautiful guitar, the hard protective case is of fine quality. Cannot fault. it will be treasured for years to come. Thank you so much, Brian May Guitars.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful.