The BMG Special LE • Emerald Green

The BMG Special LE • Emerald Green
The BMG Special LE • Emerald GreenThe BMG Special LE • Emerald GreenThe BMG Special LE • Emerald GreenThe BMG Special LE • Emerald Green
List Price :  £945.00Worldwide Price : £704.17
UK Price :  £845.00 Inc. 20% VAT

Availability :  

Currently Out Of Stock  

Currently Out Of Stock

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"The variety and uniqueness on offer here make this an outstanding
recording guitar when you've run out of options on your usual guitar" 
Jason Sidwell • Guitar Techniques

Brian May Guitars Special - Green

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 with 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, made from durable showerproof material, with twin rucksack-style shoulder straps, side and front grab handles, dual front pockets and stitched BMG logo, is supplied as standard with all Special models.

An optional BMG Custom 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 Macassar Ebony
Frets 24 x Medium Jumbo 18% Nickel/Silver Vintage size Frets + Zero Fret
Fret Wire Crown Height : 0.914mm (0.036")  • Crown Width : 2.7mm (0.106") • 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 "Wave" 2-Point 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 PPS (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 (Approximate) 3.2kg (7lb)
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.


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!


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

Childhood dream come true
Friday, 12 November 2021  | 

Ever since I learned guitar as a kid, marvelling at Brian's tone and harmony, I've lusted after that guitar. All the better I could buy it in my favorite colour!

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Wednesday, 22 September 2021  | 

My BMG arrived fast and well packaged on the other side of the world. It's absolutely stunning! I'll treasure it for the rest of my life.

Now, if only I could play as well as the good Doctor, that would certainly be something.

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Love this guitar
Monday, 30 August 2021  | 

Love the emerald green! I enquired asking if the team would ever consider a limited edition sapphire blue, but, sadly, no reply

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Thank you so much for choosing a Brian May Guitar and for taking time to leave your 5 star review, Jason.

With two fabulous shades of blue already in our palette of alternative colorways for the BMG Special, it is unlikely that we would consider adding another similar finish right now, but we will certainly consider your suggestion.

Who knows what the future may bring to the LE Series?

Well designed and crafted
Tuesday, 15 December 2020  | 

Really very nice guitar, well designed and really crafted with a lot of ethusiasm and tendency to perfection regarding the woodwork and the finish of the body. Unfortunately the plastic covers of the pickups and tuners, the "placebo" tremolo cover and the back tremolo cover do not fulfill this ambition at the cut edges. They really look like they were directly from the cutting saw assembled to the guitar, without any finishing or smoothening / sanding them before. This is a bit disappointing, especially as the other parts are so well made.

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Good looking and very nice
Monday, 14 December 2020  | 

To get it out of the way - I am not a gigging guitarist, I am a step-dad type playing for myself for my own enjoyment. Please bear this in mind.

Build quality appears solid. It's a very beautiful guitar, nice fretwork, slightly rounded fretboard edges, very pleasant to play. The knobs look better than in the pictures on the site. The neck is thick-ish (check the specs). If you like thick necks you'll enjoy this one. If you prefer Ibanez slim neck types you might be frustrated here. I find it quite comfortable.

I mostly play straight into a 4W Plexi-style amp. This can be a little dark and this guitar really wants a treble booster (or something) to liven it up. With a treble booster though, it is very nice sounding and also very touch sensitive. It has a very dynamic response and adjusting the volume knob while playing makes sense.

I find the tremolo bar is slightly in the way of the switching system but it may be a question of getting used to it. (I am not really used to a trem-system at all). I am not done investigating the tones I can get. This guitar will produce both humbucker and single coil type sounds - and more, thanks to the switching.

It was playable out of the box (obviously after acclimatization and tuning).

Does it sound like the real thing? I don't know and don't really care. I mostly got it for its features. I suspect you can get very close if the rig matches that of Brian May - and your skill,playing style and heavy-/light- handedness does as well.

Taking the price point into consideration, I think this is a very good guitar indeed. I am happy to have gotten one. 5 stars.

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She's a beauty!
Friday, 13 November 2020  | 

Lovely balance, comfortable neck and a delightfully rich tone even unplugged. Arrived very quickly and played beautifully straight out of the box. The gorgeous Emerald Green finish is top quality and absolutely flawless... fell in love immediately and I’m sure I’ll be playing my Special for many, many years.

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Brilliant guitar
Tuesday, 7 July 2020  | 

Very pleased with the guitar, sound, action, playability all superb! If I had to make one negative comment, it would only be with regard to the colour; don't get me wrong - the finish is great! I chose the Emerald Green version and, although it still looks wonderful, the green is very much darker than it appears on the website photographs... It actually looks black under most light conditions, and I've always avoided black guitars as I don't like the colour personally. I certainly wouldn't call the colour Emerald Green, it is a very, very dark shade of green.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful.

5 Stars!
Thursday, 9 April 2020  | 

Love it.

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A pleasure to play
Monday, 21 October 2019  | 

The guitar and gig bag arrived in perfect condition from England in a box that had protected it. I was initially struck by the beauty of the finish. It is a gorgeous instrument. I have really enjoyed playing it. The neck is thin, but a little wider than I am used to, which makes complicated chords more comfortable to play. The pickups have a very balanced tone - with all three on, you have neither the exaggerated brightness of a single-coil or the midrange hump of a humbucker. This allows you to shape the sound any way you want.

I guess my only very minor complaint was that it came strung with very light gauge strings, which I plan to replace. I really love this guitar!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


As standard issue, all BMG Special models are supplied factory strung with D'Addario XL Nickel Wound EX120 Super Light gauge strings (.009 - .011 - .016 - .024 - .032 - .042).

Monday, 30 September 2019  | 

Great build quality, playability and tone for the price, even better than expected, backed up by a first class service - thoroughly recommended!

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Works great, sounds great
Thursday, 19 September 2019  | 

Sold my green Guild back to a friend. Read up on your current product and chose BMG special LE. Arrived in great condition and within a few days stayed pretty much in tune. Would have liked to see Brian May's produced in U.K. but as one who build guitars know Vietnam has a lot to offer luthiers.

Noticed the Guild was mis-wired from Guild, But the May I received from you was correctly wired in tandom series.

Works great, sounds great, feels good in the hands. Rocks through all my variety of amps. Thanks.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


The Brian May Guitars Special range is actually manufacturered at the internationally renowned facilities of World Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. in Korea.

A great guitar!
Wednesday, 13 March 2019  | 

Beautiful, unique sounds and easy to play. Feels just right in spite that I am used to Fender guitars. The only negative experiance was the delivery, It took a while from order (January 25) until delivered at my home (February 18). By then I was abroad. Had also some problems with UPS to get it delivered to my neighbour.

Finally I own a very nice and special guitar. Thank you for making it.

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Green With Envy
Thursday, 31 March 2016  | 

It has great sustain and a wonderful tone... and that's before you plug it in. On plugging in, what can I say, it's a kind of magic - it really is! With the switching setup you can get at least a dozen really useful and beautiful tones from this thing.

The finish is flawless, the fretwork, fingerboard and tremolo are all really well done, the tuners are smooth and precise and after stretching the strings she holds tune really well. The neck feels really comfortable to play and the 45mm width at the nut is a really good idea, especially when playing open chords. I got mine with the free case upgrade, and It's a really good case too


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7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

Excellent Guitar
Monday, 15 February 2016  | 

Very pleased with this guitar, looks good and sounds good too! Also the service received from you was 1st class and fast.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful.