The BMG Arielle

The BMG Arielle
The BMG ArielleThe BMG ArielleThe BMG Arielle
List Price :  £895.00Worldwide Price : £662.50
UK Price :  £795.00 Inc. 20% VAT

Availability :  

Pre-Order Now  Available 15/05/2021   

Pre-Order Now Available 15/05/2021

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"Arielle’s playing reaches places I never knew existed - I believe this guitar will do the same." Dr. Brian May • January 2021

Dr. Brian May and Brian May Guitars are delighted to present a brand new addition to the BMG line for 2021, the result of a fresh collaboration with American singer, songwriter and guitarist Arielle and the first original build that the Queen virtuoso has actively contributed to since he and his father embarked on the construction of the Red Special almost 60 years ago.

Inspired by Arielle's own BM-influenced 'Two-Tone' guitar and designed from the ground up by the two musicians as a competitively priced counterpart to the best-selling BMG Special, this exceptional instrument has been brought to vivid life by the House Music team to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their successful ongoing partnership with Brian May.

"This is the very first guitar that Brian May guitars has ever offered that is not based on my original Red Special. Designed by, and named after, Arielle, it’s a new dimension. To understand why this guitar was irresistible to me, you have to hold her in your hands. She’s light, smooth, agile, and... she sings like a bird!"

The new model takes its cue from Arielle's affection for classic 20th century guitar design, rocking a sleek, retro-futuristic look, striking burnt orange and translucent blue livery, distinctive raised centre-strip, vintage two-piece pickguard, chrome hardware and contrasting switch plate, alongside choice elements from Dr. May's storied, homespun creation - the distinctive 3-a-side headstock, familiar 24" scale, a trio of series wound, Tri-Sonic style pickups, and his famous phase switching system.

The result is an instant modern classic. "The Red Special in a parallel universe", as the maestro proudly proclaims, takes Arielle's novel design to a whole new level and, of course, infused with a liberal dose of RS DNA, delivers everything one should rightfully expect from a Brian May Guitar - impeccable design, superior quality, pro-spec construction, exceptional playability, and devastating tonal dexterity.

Striking Body Design

The flamboyant, asymmetric angles of the Arielle's lightweight body, at once timeless and forward thinking, clearly pay homage to radical American automotive and electric guitar designs of the 1950s and '60s, with a distinctive raised centre strip increasing the body mass for enhanced sustain and resonance and a split, 3-ply parchment pickguard and eye-catching, two-tone diagonal finish completing the cool, vintage look.

The solid body is constructed from Limba (aka 'Korina' by which it is more commonly known within the US luthier community). In keeping with Arielle and Dr. May's keen interest in utilizing sustainable sources, the use of this attractive African tonewood recognizes the importance and success of worldwide conservation programs; although considered severely threatened by over-exploitation in the first half of the last century, concerted efforts to preserve the species have seen Limba flourish well beyond its natural rainforest habitat, making its way into savannah areas and even penetrating regional evergreen forests.

24" Scale Mahogany Neck

Employing the short 24" scale favoured by Brian on the original Red Special, the one piece mahogany neck, in perfect balance with the lightweight body, has been engineered with a decidedly contemporary feel, featuring a generous 45mm nut width, comfortably spacious profile, and wonderfully smooth 24 fret ebony fingerboard with Arielle's choice of abalone diamond snowflake inlays in the traditional BM pattern.

BMG Tri-Sonic Style Pickups

Like the best-selling Special, the BMG Arielle features three BM branded Tri-Sonic style single coil pickups, modern replicas of the vintage '60s units so fundamental to the Red Special's powerful and distinctive sonic character with the same series wiring, retro-styling and magnet alignment as the originals.

BM Switching System

The famous Brian May design switch system is provided by electronics specialists Switchcraft. Six black DPDT switches, featuring high quality contacts and mounted on a contrasting 3-ply black control plate, engage each pickup individually as well as providing dedicated phase reversal, a familiar configuration that gives the BMG Arielle the same astonishing tonal dexterity as the original Red Special itself.

Volume and tone are controlled by 250k pots with a Sprague 0.033μF 'Orange Drop' film capacitor delivering exceptional sonic purity, a nuanced tonal roll-off sweep and, with individual pickups or selected pairings, a pleasingly warm response, without getting too muddy or bright.

Wilkinson WVP Tremolo Bridge

Continuing BMG's long association with veteran British engineer Trevor Wilkinson, the Arielle is fitted with his acclaimed WVP 2-point tremolo, a vintage-flavored variant of the unit used on the BMG Special. With a modern, friction-free design offering one of the smoothest actions of any fulcrum vibrato currently available coupled with a sleek, low-profile surround to eliminate lateral saddle movement, the WVP offers superior comfort, stability and performance.

Additional features include a stamped steel, heat hardened top plate, solid stainless steel saddles, and a "stagger-drilled" solid steel sustain block that provides unrivalled tuning stability, ensures easy and accurate intonation adjustment and improves overall sustain, brightness and top end, resulting in a more expansive, sharper tone.

Grover Tuners

The distinctive BM style headstock sports Grover 406 Mini-Locking Rotomatic® tuners, making re-stringing a breeze and ensuring rock-solid tuning stability, even with lots of vibrato and string bends.

These superb, machine heads feature compact metal knobs with adjustable tension, an 18:1 gear ratio for fine tuning, lifetime sealed lubrication and Grover's ingenious internal "Locking Cam" string post that automatically secure the strings as they are brought to pitch.

Playability & Sounds

Versatile and bold, the heart of the sound is round, wide, warm and rich, with clean, clear highs and crisp note articulation, even with overdriven sounds. Eminently capable of authentically delivering the hardest of rock or the most intimate dream pop shimmer, the Arielle has clearly been engineered to be a brilliant, one-stop stage and studio workhorse. 

For blues and roots styles, there is a pleasing presence and a tight, focused bass response whilst jazz players and country pickers will love the chiming clarity, especially on out-of-phase settings, and the smooth, hollow twang of the neck pickup. Cranking up the gain, combining two or more pickups in phase, the broad Tri-Sonic response and resonant Limba body give crunch chords ample room to breathe and allow lead licks and solos to project clearly and powerfully. In all positions - single coil or humbucking - the Arielle retains a natural brightness with a tight, balanced, low end courtesy of it's foreshortened scale length. 

With a fast, modern radius neck, inviting 24" scale, a body shape that is comfortable and balanced whether sitting or standing, and a responsive, diverse tonal palette, this is an instrument designed to an endlessly rewarding joy to perform with.

Body White Limba (Korina)
Binding Cream Binding, Front
Neck 1-Piece Mahogany
Finish Gloss Polyurethane Two-Tone Diagonal Burnt Orange \ Translucent Blue with Matching Headstock
Truss Rod Dual Action • 440mm
Fingerboard Macassar Ebony
Frets 24 x Medium Jumbo Frets
Fret Wire Crown Height : 2.7mm (0.106") • Radius : 250mm (9.8")
Inlays Abalone Diamond Snowflake Facing Inlays • White Side Dots
Neck Join Set Neck Construction
Pickups 3 x BM Brand Tri-Sonic Style Series Wired Single Coil with Chrome covers
Switch System Switchcraft DPDT Black Switches • 3 x Pickup On/Off • 3 x Pickup Phase In/Out 
Controls Volume : Alpha B250k • Tone : A250k with Sprague 'Orange Drop' 0.033μF Capacitor
Control Knobs Chrome UFO Style
Bridge Chrome Wilkinson WVP 2-Point Knife Edge Tremolo (41.2mm Block)
Tremolo Arm 6" Arm with Parchment Tip
Machineheads 3-A-Side Grover 406 Mini Locking Rotomatic® Tuners
Nut PPS (45mm x 6mm)
Scratchplates 2 piece, 3-ply Parchment Pickguard • 3-ply Black Switch Plate
Overall Length 1054mm (41.5")
Body Length 432mm (17")
Body Width 304.8mm (12")
Body Depth 45mm (1.78") with 5mm (0.2") Raised Centre Strip
Fingerboard Radius 304.8mm (12")
Scale 610mm (24")
Headstock Angle
Neck Width @ Nut 45mm (1.77")
Neck Width @ 12th Fret 52mm (2.05")
Neck Width @ 24th Fret 57mm (2.25")
Neck Depth @ 1st Fret 20.84mm (0.820")
Neck Depth @ 12th Fret 22.48mm (0.885")
Neck Depth @ 12th Fret 22.37mm (0.920")
String Spacing @ Nut 36mm (1.42")
String Spacing @ Bridge 53mm (2.09")
Weight (Approximate) 3.4kg (7.5lb)
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
Country Of Origin World Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. • South Korea

“I am a lover of life, a singer of songs, and player of guitars”

Born in New Jersey, raised in California and Hawaii, and now splitting her time between London and Florida, Arielle is a fiercely independent and determined young performer and recording artist blessed with a crystal clear, four-octave voice, exceptional guitar chops, and a musical style that combines the vocal purity of Karen Carpenter and Joni Mitchell with the bombastic guitar stylings of Jeff Beck and Brian May. Proudly self-identifying as a "nineties child, with a sixties and seventies soul", she has written and recorded seven self-released EPs and two long-players to date, gaining ever-increasing international notoriety and critical plaudits for her emotionally drenched, organic, classic folk-rock stylings.

Most recently, in between contributing to Eric Johnson’s 2020 album ‘EJ Vol. II’ and the soundtrack to the Joe Bonamassa documentary 'Guitar Man', Arielle has recorded her own brand new collection – the remarkably assured 'Analog Girl in a Digital World' – set to drop in the spring of 2021, coinciding with the launch of Arielle's very own eponymous commercial guitar model.

Whilst a completely fresh product for the international playing community and a "new dimension to Brian May Guitars" as Dr. May himself proudly describes it, this remarkable instrument is actually the result of a unique team-up between Arielle and the Queen legend whose origin story begins over a decade previously…

“It was like we’d always been friends”

Aged 17, and already an accomplished player, Arielle first encountered Brian May in 2007 at a signing session to promote “Bang! - The Complete History of the Universe”, his collaboration with astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and fellow astrophysicist Chris Lindell, at Book Soup, the famed indie bookstore on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. On meeting the maestro, Arielle recalls: “The experience was magical, yet I had seen it in my head so many times that it became real to me. It became natural. I can’t tell you how many of these books I have read about manifesting your dreams, and having them become real... They work!”

Having brought along her trusty B.C. Rich Warlock to be autographed (to his request of “Show me what ya got” Arielle complied by dropping a Randy Rhoads solo), an initial discussion about music began a conversation and friendship which continued when Arielle relocated to London the following year to study at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.

"It's five guitars in one"

During her time in the UK, under Brian May's guidance, the young guitarist was suitably struck by the iconic Red Special to seek to fashion her own bespoke guitar from scratch, recruiting a friend (elusive Californian luthier, Patrick Yates) to assist in realising a uniquely personal concept that combined the Old Lady's feral tone and protean versatility with functional elements and appointments from several other favoured instruments, and her unabashed passion for retro-modern aesthetics.

The resulting instrument, dubbed 'Two-Tone’' (less for the distinctive orange and blue finish, than for its unorthodox dual tone controls), became Arielle’s constant musical companion and inspiration for the next 13 years, as her professional career blossomed through on stage performances with Cee-Lo Green and Vince Gill, headline solo shows and support slots for Heart, Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jett, Gregg Allman, Larkin Poe and Keith Urban, guest sessions with Eric Johnson, a duet with Talia Dean of Kings Daughters, and regular appearances on the hit ABC TV drama 'Nashville'.

In 2017, Arielle reconnected with Brian May during a UK tour and mentioned that she was considering producing a self-financed, commercial version of her Two Tone design… to which Dr. May, with a hugely successful guitar brand to his name, immediately suggested : “Why don't I help you?!”

"Arielle is an awesome musician - a truly phenomenal player, with an ability to produce the most beautiful tones as well technical mastery. Of course it’s in the fingers, but I was keen to discover how she had fashioned her own instrument to achieve her sound. We collaborated in making the Arielle a new mission to guitarists everywhere - to open up a new door to excellence!"

Work began the following year with the House Music Group’s Barry Moorhouse duly called upon to provide the resources of Brian May Guitars and production partner, World Music, to fashion a brand new commercial instrument fusing choice elements from both Two Tone and the original Red Special.

Over the next 24 months, the project evolved via a progression of samples assembled for scrutiny at Dr. May's home in between performances with Queen + Adam Lambert throughout Europe, the USA and Australasia, and Arielle's own trans-Atlantic touring and recording commitments.

Logistics aside, gaining approval from two discerning guitarists with exacting standards yet different demands and styles may ostensibly have seemed daunting, but as Arielle reveals, she and Brian May always shared a common purpose :

"Everything was about playability, diversity, and tone! - It needs to look sleek, it needs to be unique, while also classic and timeless, and it needs to sound GOOD at a great price... That was our goal.”

The goal was achieved in the summer of 2020, despite an unexpected new challenge which saw everyone involved locked down in their respective bunkers across the world, with the final iteration fully realising this shared artistic vision, as well as representing a bold and contemporary addition to the Brian May Guitars canon.

"It REALLY does sing!" 

Eminently playable and visually arresting, the BMG Arielle sports the exact same lightweight Limba/Korina body, retro-futuristic stylings, raised centre strip and colour scheme as the original 'Two-Tone’, matched with a mahogany neck, meticulously profiled and balanced to accommodate Brian May’s signature 24” scale, and a smooth, vintage radius ebony fingerboard adorned with abalone diamond snowflakes. Throughout, a passion for both classic and modern design inspires the pairing of split pickguards, series wound Tri-Sonic style pickups, authentic BM pickup/phase system and distinctive 3-a-side headstock with innovative Grover locking tuners, Wilkinson two-point tremolo and industry-leading Shin-Chin electronics.

As befits a Brian May Guitar, especially one described by the maestro himself as "the Red Special in a parallel universe”, the Arielle naturally inherits the BMG brand's enviable reputation for superb playability, professional build quality and tonal inclusivity, well evidenced by the audio visual samples provided here.

With a basic sound that is edgy, detailed, crisp and full, the exceptionally nuanced tonal palette delivers everything from a distinctive out-of-phase BM-approved crunch, to a rich blues voicing, to clear, bright cleans perfect for delicate fingerpicking and effect-heavy dreamscapes.




The BMG Arielle : The Story So Far...

The BMG Arielle : Arielle Plays 'Take II' from her 2018 'Mind Lion' EP

Brian May : Introducing the BMG Arielle

Arielle : My Guitar Story

Brian May with Arielle Prototype

Eric Johnson with Arielle Prototype

Everyday is Christmas Day at May Mansions

The Original Two-Tone

Average Rating (1 Review):  
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Quirky yet interesting
Saturday, 3 April 2021  | 

The Arielle is a quirky yet interesting instrument to play. Its long fretboard oozes a sense of confidence and being to the player, while the Tri-Sonic pickups are sharp, bright and distinctive with their series and in/out of phase controls - the characteristic sound of BMG - as good as ever.

The volume, tone and whammy are close to the strumming hand and very accessible. The bridge is also perfectly placed as a rest for picking. This is a stylistically delightful guitar and, in its Burnt Orange and Translucent Blue, a joy to own.

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