The BMG Special • Antique Cherry

The BMG Special • Antique Cherry
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 The BMG Special • Antique CherryThe BMG Special • Antique Cherry 
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 ''Liteflite'' Fitted Hard CaseBMG "Liteflite" Fitted Hard Case
BMG Custom Guitar CableBMG Custom Guitar Cable
BMG Custom Guitar StrapBMG Custom Guitar Strap
Brian May Guitars Treble Booster ClassicBrian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic
The BMG Studio StoolThe BMG Studio Stool
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BMG Polo Shirt • Light BlueBMG Polo Shirt • Light Blue
BMG Classic T-Shirt • Heather IndigoBMG Classic T-Shirt • Heather Indigo
Official BMG Shirt • Exclusive Design By Brian MayOfficial BMG Shirt • Exclusive Design By Brian May
Official BMG ''Hold Everything'' WaistcoatOfficial BMG "Hold Everything" Waistcoat
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Optima 24K Gold BM Signature StringsOptima 24K Gold BM Signature Strings
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 result of a unique collaboration between Dr. 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 decidedly contemporary feel, and considerably less deeply contoured than the somewhat gargantuan proportions of the iconic original, 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 vintage '60s 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 and magnet alignment as the originals.

Original BM Switching System

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

Wilkinson Knife-Edge Tremolo

Trevor Wilkinson's "Wave" tremolo-bridge provides a strikingly modern look to the BMG 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.

Complete with Padded Gig Bag

A premium quality, padded gig-bag is supplied as standard with all Special models, made from durable showerproof material, with twin rucksack-style shoulder straps, side and front grab handles, dual front pockets and stitched Brian May Guitars logo.

An optional BMG fitted hard case is also available

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 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 + Tone (500k) with BM Replica, Lathe-Turned, Billet Stock, Aluminium Control Knobs
Bridge Wilkinson WVP Knife Edge Tremolo (36mm Block) with Brass Saddles
Tremolo Arm 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")
String Spacing @ Bridge 54mm (2.13")
Weight Approx 3.2kg (7lbs)
Strings D'Addario EXL120 Nickel Wound Super Light • Plain Steel .009 - .011 - .016 • Wound .024 - .032 - .042
Included Extras Premium Quality Gig Bag with Stitched BMG Logo - Length 108cm (42.5") • Width : 42cm (16.5") 
Options (additional cost) Moulded, Impact Resistant, Plush Lined Hiscox "Liteflite" BMG Custom Fitted Hard Case
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 switch settings : 

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 (280 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
Beautiful guitar
Monday, 21 September 2020  | 

I'm not sure I can add much to the great things others have already said - it's a beautiful guitar, very well made, and I'm sure I play better because of it!

Ordering was simple, and despatch was really quick. Excellent service, thank you!

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Rating:  
Fantastic service
Monday, 21 September 2020  | 

Fantastic service... delivery to Australia in 10 days - unbelievable. The guitar is beautiful, I’m gonna have a lot of fun.

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Rating:  
Dream guitar that plays and sound fantastic!
Saturday, 19 September 2020  | 

I bought this guitar as a sentimental gift for my fiancé who was named after Mr May. He was quite shocked and pleased that this guitar was gifted, I cannot stress that enough, but the review he says is simply this : He plugged the guitar into his Orange Rockerverb MK3 and turned it to 10 and was blown away. There were so many tones from the guitar that sounded great he couldn't stop playing it for hours. Our neighbors' review would be rather negative, as to be expected!

What a fantastic instrument! Financially speaking, it was cheaper to buy this direct than in the States, including the hard-shell case that was purchased at the same time. Bravo BMG Team!

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Rating:  
My first impressions
Friday, 18 September 2020  | 

I was totaly surprised how fast this guitar came to my home address in Melbourne. The BMG Special Cherry arrived in perfect condition and I am just so happy to finally get my hands on this fantastic representation of Brian's Red Lady - the voices I am discovering are just amazing to find and I can't believe how smooth and easy to play in my hands compared to my Fender Strat I have had for 20 years! Mated with my new VOX AC30C2X and the Treble Booster I also bought from you guys, I just love it.

I tried to get on the waiting list for the BMG Super, but no luck, so this is second best. Maybe one day a spot will become available for the BMG Super and then I can buy the cream of the lot. Now I can really learn to play along with Brian on my complete Queen studio albums collection. I had a wonderful time seeing Brian and Roger along with Adam Lambert at the last Queen concert in Melbourne Feb 2020. The first time I saw Queen live was in 1974 at the Sunbury Pop Festival in Melbourne, then I saw them in London at We Will Rock You's opening night when I worked for Air Seychelles, so to finally get my hands on the BMG Special is a fullfilment of a long dream that started in 1973 with Night at the Opera.

Thanks for the great Guitar and Service. Cheers
Capt Donald Sexton

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Rating:  
Delightfully realised guitar
Wednesday, 16 September 2020  | 

Received my Red Special today in anticipation of my sixtieth birthday. I purchased the red special along with the free care pack, a treble booster and a Vegan guitar strap.

The delivery took three days to arrive, which is average for most items, the guitar was well packed, with everything in order. I opened up the gig bag in which the guitar was packed and found a further Protective lining bag had to be Opened before I could cast my eyes on the beauty.

I say beauty, this guitar out of the bag has flawless finish and detail.

Then my heart sank... the tremolo arm was missing. I searched through the box and it wasn’t there. Then I realised the gig bag had pockets, a thorough search revealed the arm contained in another poly bag and all was right with the world. Also in the pocket was the shipping document a cleaning cloth and the genuine Brian May, Paul Rodgers 2005 Queen tour six penny bit. I dig my own when metal detecting so this one will stay pristine.

I thank Brian for showing his Vox Mini5 amp, on the second micro concerto. One of the reasons I have long backed off from buying a Red Special is that it would require a Vox AC30, which is a notoriously loud amplifier, if used as it should be. My neighbours and local area will be spared too.

Playing with the settings I straight away ran into a “Now I’m Here” sound. The action is set very low to the fret board, with no noticeable choking on the frets.

I confess my skills are rusty following a fairly long lay off, but I am suitably enthused now, thank you Brian and your genius Father Harold for such a timeless, good looking and very playable guitar.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Awesome
Wednesday, 16 September 2020  | 

Love it so much. Good price and great quality and plays like a dream....

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Rating:  
Just buy one
Wednesday, 16 September 2020  | 

I have been looking at these guitars for 2 years now and I finally got one - I love it, I can't stop playing it, and now my other guitars are just sitting there collecting dust as I keep reaching for my Red Special!

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Rating:  
Unique
Tuesday, 8 September 2020  | 

I have received the BMG Special in a good condition although it tooks 5 days to reach my place. I am satisfied with the guitar and really like the phasing switches including the on-off pickup switches on the guitar. I salute the late Harold May and Dr. Brian May for designing such a unique system.

 

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Response:

Just FIVE days from the UK to Malaysia, in the middle of a global pandemic... have to say we are very pleased with our delivery partners, DHL.


Rating:  
Nearly perfect
Monday, 31 August 2020  | 

Super fast shipment. Perfect package. Only small ajustments of neck and bridge and I had my perfect BMG. Electric and sound beautiful as expected. The 24" neck makes playing really comfortable. Full rating from my side.

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Rating:  
This guitar is one of a kind
Monday, 31 August 2020  | 

The guitar is so amazing! Thank you, Brian for making such an elegant guitar with some many neat features! I have played it every single day and have never had any complaints. Keep up the great work!

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Rating:  
A fine piece of work
Thursday, 27 August 2020  | 

The BMG Special is really a fine piece of work. I must admit that I am not a good guitar player yet (I'm 57 and just starting to learn despite my old days), I bought the BMG also as a collectible on one hand, and on the other, as a means to get my wife (she's doing classical acoustic guitar so far only) into the E-guitar thing.

So far, we found only time for few sessions, but we were quite astonished already :
- The finish is great.
- The special arrived almost in tune, despite the climatic catatrophes of the last weeks' heatwave in Europe.
- She keeps her tuning even if playing around a lot with the vibrato, or after days hanging on the wall.
- Despite so far only attaching a very simple "street box" amp without many effects, it is astounding how many variations of sounds you can get by flicking the pickup settings etc.
- Intonation is very clean over the complete fretboard (another sign of a very good basic setup).
- I find that the insulation / grounding etc. is done extremely well, there is absolutely no noise when you leave the amp on and put the thing at the side for a moment.

Thanks for all.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Words cannot describe how awesome this guitar is!!
Thursday, 27 August 2020  | 

Got my guitar for my birthday, and it is literally the greatest thing I have ever seen. The colour was stunning, it was super playable and sounded AMAZING!!! Easily my most prized possesion now!!! 100% would recommend to buy!!

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Rating:  
Great
Sunday, 23 August 2020  | 

Great guitar and great service!!!
Thank you

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Rating:  
Great to play
Friday, 21 August 2020  | 

Very good service during very awkward times. The guitar itself great to play and looks good.

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Rating:  
Excellent guitar
Friday, 21 August 2020  | 

Despite not being an exact replica of the original red special, the BMG Special is capable of delivering a tone very close to the original one. Anyway, don’t think at it like a Queen only guitar, it’s more versatile than the most of the other instruments on the market and definitely a must-have in that price range.

The strap and the soft case are a nice add-on, both are top quality. The guitar required a minimal setup, the intonation was perfect, I just fine tuned the action but it was nicely playable out of the box. The manufacturing is quite good, the finish is perfect and the frets are correctly dressed and required zero intervention, a nice surprise: they were polished! I don’t think it's possible to get a better value for the money.

I would have liked to add the Super to my collection, but being not available (please give me a shout if you reissue it) the BMG Special is a cheaper but absolutely valid alternative. I couldn’t be more satisfied by it.

A little suggestion to the team: the addition of one sixpence coin would be a super cheap and nice touch

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Love this guitar
Thursday, 20 August 2020  | 

I truly love this guitar, it plays well and sounds great. The finish looks great.

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Rating:  
I don't really do this, but...
Thursday, 20 August 2020  | 

I have a nice collection of guitars (don't really want to call it a collection, to be honest, since it's my work tools, and I use every single one of them) and, to be honest, the occasions where I've just ordered/bought a guitar without trying it first are VERY rare. However, I'm a huge fan of Queen and Brian May's guitar playing (I've even played some Queen tribute shows in Mexico of all places), and when I saw the ad for the Brian May guitar on FaceBook, I felt I just HAD to have it. The price was very decent and the shipping much lower than I had anticipated. I felt I could actually take a chance on this one. Well, I must say, I'm REALLY happy I did.

Starting with the customer service. The contact was easy and very friendly. The delivery time was surprisingly fast in these Corona times, and the packaging was very sturdy and safe.

When I opened the package, the guitar was packed in a nice BMG soft case, and the guitar strap that was included in the deal was of surprisingly high quality! I will most likely switch out my regular live strap for this one (the added "pick pockets", lol, are very cool), plus Brian May Guitars had also added an extra gift, the special Brian May coin, which I actually missed buying at the latest Queen show! Much appreciated!

So, the guitar. First impression is it was B E A U T I F U L! The finish was spotless, the color was deep and rich, it looked like a guitar 3-4 times as expensive. Playing it, the neck was perfect in my hand (which is sometimes a problem, since I don't like guitar necks that are too flat, or too V-shaped). You could also feel the quality since the fret edges were soft, there was no annoying noise or buzz and everything just felt smooth and nice.

I plugged it in and it sounds awesome! I have a variety of guitars including Les Pauls, Strats, Teles and others in-between, but the BM guitar added some new colors to my sound. There's so many cool variations you can get by selecting different combinations of the pick-ups and selecting in/out of phase. I don't even have a Vox AC30. I'm a Marshall guy. No problem, it sounds GREAT anyway!

So, bottom line, I'm a VERY happy customer now in the possession of a guitar that will stay with me and will be used on various recordings, starting with my upcoming (fourth) Mountain of Power album!

Thank you Brian May Guitars and The House Music Group for outstanding service and a great guitar!

Janne Stark
www.jannestark.com

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Fantastic guitar
Thursday, 20 August 2020  | 

This beauty flew all the way to Mexico and arrived in perfect condition. Great setup, great sound, great playability. Endless sonic possibilities with all the pickup and phase combinations. Definitely a 5-star instrument, will buy again if lost or stolen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Beautiful🤘👑🤘
Thursday, 20 August 2020  | 

It's so awesome and I absolutely love it!

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Rating:  
Love this guitar!
Thursday, 20 August 2020  | 

I bought this guitar because Brian May is one of the most unique guitarists I have ever heard play and I love Queen. I've known about the Red Special for a long time. Getting a chance to play a guitar that is something like it is awesome. When I was a kid I could not afford the guitar I wanted. I have a Les Paul, a Telecaster, a Strat and a Martin acoustic, but this Red Special copy is the guitar I am playing and enjoying right now. The action is great. It plays beautifully. I am still getting the hang of the pickup switches. But I love this guitar!

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