The BMG Arielle - Two Tone

The BMG Arielle - Two Tone
The BMG Arielle - Two ToneThe BMG Arielle - Two ToneThe BMG Arielle - Two ToneThe BMG Arielle - Two Tone
List Price :  £895.00Worldwide Price : £662.50
UK Price :  £795.00 Inc. 20% VAT

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

The result of a fresh collaboration between Dr. Brian May, Brian May Guitars, and American singer, songwriter and guitarist Arielle Schwartz, The BMG Arielle is 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.

"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!" — Brian May

This new model takes its cue from an 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 and contrasting switch plate, alongside choice elements from Dr. May's storied, homespun creation including a familiar 24" scale, the distinctive 3-a-side headstock, a trio of series wound, Tri-Sonic style pickups, and his famous switching matrix.

"The Red Special in a parallel universe" as the maestro proudly proclaims, takes Arielle's novel concept to a higher level and, 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 unique Brian May designed electronics system is provided by six black DPDT switches featuring high quality contacts mounted on a contrasting 3-ply black control plate. Engaging each pickup individually as well as providing dedicated phase reversal, this familiar configuration 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-flavoured 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.

Locking 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” — ARIELLE

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 released a brand new collection – the remarkably assured 'Analog Girl in a Digital World' – 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” — ARIELLE

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.

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?!”

"We collaborated in making the Arielle a new mission to guitarists everywhere - to open up a new door to excellence!" — Brian May

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, Arielle and Brian May always shared a common purpose. "Everything was about playability, diversity, and tone." she reveals, "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's the Red Special in a parallel universe... It REALLY does sing!" — Brian May

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.




Guitar Interactive Reviews the BMG Arielle

Nick Jennison, regular GI contributor, producer, music educator, and axeman with NWOBHM stalwarts Blitzkrieg, discovers much to love about the "totally unique" BMG Arielle in the latest edition of the online magazine, including its "bold, striking design", "super-premium hardware", "rock solid tuning stability and "incredible tonal versatility", and comes to the inescapable conclusion that "you're getting a whole lot of guitar for the money".

The accompanying video, in which Nick dives deep into the astonishing range of tones available from the BM-designed switching matrix – from atmospheric clean picking to crunchy rock riffage and full-on, cranked-up, screaming lead – is a superb, comprehensive primer for the myriad, dizzying delights of this characterful instrument.

Arielle Demo by Adam Fear from A Strings

Adam Fear from Welsh indie guitar specialists A Strings puts our "two-toned titan" through its paces, getting to grips with the comfortably broad, vintage radius neck, praising the brilliant "super-smooth" Wilkinson tremolo and cool looks, and ably demonstrating the wide sonic palette available from the uniquely versatile BM-designed pickup/phase switching system.

The Story So Far...

Arielle Plays 'Take II' from her 2018 'Mind Lion' EP

Brian May Introduces the BMG Arielle

Arielle — My Guitar Story

Brian May and Eric Johnson with the Arielle Prototype

Everyday is Christmas Day at May Mansions

The Original Two-Tone

Average Rating (8 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

A lot of fun to play!
Monday, 3 January 2022  | 

I love my new Arielle, so glad you made this - and I found myself one - what a way to start 2022!

I think that its classic, yet modern and sleek-looking, is so retro in the cool slanted 2-color scheme, and the Explorer-esque shape. Its sound is the real deal - it's very sweet, clean with the special unique pickups.

It sounds really crisp for a 24 inch scale, which has become my favorite neck length. And such sustain - best of my bunch! Along with the super bridge and tuners, they all really go together nicely to keep it in tune. Just thought I'd let you know - I'm digging this, and it is a lot of fun to play!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

Simply fantastic
Friday, 22 October 2021  | 

Iím a huge fan of Arielle and a long-time customer of BMG so I could not miss this guitar. Itís a fantastic instrument. I find the shape extremely comfortable, the neck thickness allows for great playability, and the fretboard is just 'wow'. If you think this is a Red Special in a different shape, well it's not. This is unique. It is also extremely versatile. I published a video on YouTube where I play different genres with different gear and itís great. You can play anything you want with this guitar, so I highly recommend it.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

A uniquely crafted instrument full of features to please both the player and the listener!!!
Sunday, 20 June 2021  | 

When you are in the market for a new guitar, there are many decisions to make from any level of player. Cost, features, feel, style/shape, and overall appearance are just a few things being considered.

Being a guitar player for over 15 years I have played a variety of guitars. A feature found on the new BMG Arielle guitar that I am quite familiar with on my own guitars is the Grover tuners - they have provided me with the best in tune performance and I am glad to see them featured on this model. Like many features of Brian May's original "Red Special" - the BM switching system and the tri-sonic pickups, just to name a few - bring the most sought after tones and sustained vibratos, leaving any player feeling confident and eager to create unlimited melodies and solos all the while having the advantage to change a sound at their fingertips.

The easy to adjust tremolo bridge creates ease when adjusting to any player's liking, and the smooth solid action of the bridge creates long lasting sustain. The body of this guitar boasts unique class with Arielle's own creative two toned color based off of her very own hand built original "Two-Tone" instrument. The fretboard is smooth, with easy sliding and bending to stretch those notes into next week fast. The raised area around the main centerline of the body gives a very unique look and bold presence to this incredibly built scream machine.

Seeing Arielle play her own original "Two-Tone" for many years always made me want one to call my own. She has proudly created an incredible instrument and has showcased her talents worldwide with her talents onstage throughout the world. Teaming up with Brian May Guitars was the right choice and collaboration of a marketable item. This guitar has the most uniquely incredible easy adjusting features and quality throughout the components, a sleek, well balanced bright colorful rich body, and the price tag is just right for such an amazing piece. Brian May and Arielle have both created incredible music in there own rights, and have teamed up to embark on a new journey with this guitar.

I would completely recommend this guitar to all ranges of players based on what is incorporated in one instrument for a wide range of playing styles. This is a very well packaged instrument from Brian May Guitars, including installed strings, plastic overlay on pickguards, switch system, and hardware, foam wrapping over entire guitar inside the gig bag, and supplied tools and tremolo bar included. Instrument plays incredible and right out of the box stayed 99% in tune.

A fine, high quality instrument!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful.

Love this guitar!
Friday, 11 June 2021  | 

I received a BMG Arielle as a 50th birthday present from my girlfriend, and it is amazing. Iíve been playing for just over 35 years and have encountered many styles of guitars - without question, the Arielle ranks high on my list.

One of the most appealing features for me is the ebony fretboard. It is my preferred fretboard material though, in my opinion, isnít quite as prevalent as rosewood or maple, which makes it special. I love the smooth texture, and your fingers simply glide up and down the neck.

In conjunction with this, the 24-fret design is a blast. While I own other guitars with 24 frets, the Arielle is by far the most comfortable due to the expansive neck width. The short scale combined with the added real estate makes those upper frets truly accessible and less challenging to get a solid tone at the higher positions.

This is my first guitar with built-in phase switching. I am having loads of fun experimenting with the in-phase/out-of-phase configurations. With each of the three pickups being independently switched, there is a multitude of interesting combinations. The amount of control available through the volume and tone controls is especially evident in many of the out-of-phase setups.

The pickups have a great spectrum and the volume pot is smooth throughout the range. Admittedly, I typically donít vary my volume often while playing. However, this guitar has me exploring volume techniques a great deal more in conjunction with the vast array of phase configurations.

Rounding out the technical aspects, I am also a fan of the Grovers and the Wilkinson. I do a fair amount of tremolo work, and the Arielle stays in tune effortlessly. This is the first guitar I have owned with either of these hardware components, and Iím a fan of both. I have not restrung this one yet, but it looks like it will be a snap with the Grovers.

Beyond the playability and components, the guitar is stunningly beautiful. The shape quickly grabs your attention, perfectly complimented by the paint scheme and intricate details such as the raised center section of the body and the V-style headstock. The lightweight design makes it easy to play for hours on end.

Iím incredibly fortunate, as I had an up-close-and-personal experience with the original Two-Tone. Accordingly, I can attest that this guitar is a great nod to the original, with the added magic that only a BMG model can bring.

This is a fantastic instrument, and I highly recommend it. It is a delight to play and will undoubtedly continue as a go-to in my collection.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful.

BMG Arielle is an Outstanding Guitar
Friday, 11 June 2021  | 

The BMG Arielle guitar is an extraordinary instrument. I received mine in early April, opened the carefully packed shipping box, took out the BMG guitar case, unzipped it, and saw the guitar that I had been waiting for.

I am a fairly new player and found this guitar to be easy, and fun, to play. The design, feel, switch options, tone and volume controls, and the appointments are wonderful. She stays in tune very well and sounds great in any setting. I have only made a few small tuning adjustments in the past several months. The neck fits my hand, and the ebony fretboard is like butter. WOW. It just feels so nice to play - And I play her almost every day.

The BMG Arielle guitar is worth every penny and will be great as your first electric guitar or as an outstanding addition to your collection. So, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor. Treat yourself and order a BMG Arielle guitar today.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

WOW!!!! Where do I start?
Thursday, 10 June 2021  | 

This is an amazing guitar that is well thought out and perfectly crafted for every level of guitarist. I am especially blown away by the ease of traversing the neck. I was a little concerned about the pickups and their configuration but no, after a short noodle, I was blasting huge sounds out of my rig in no time, as well as opening all new creative sounds Iíve not explored or heard before.

The finish is exquisite and a must-see. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is I absolutely love this guitar and have barely put it down since I got it.

Nice job, huge surprise.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

A versatile, modern guitar with a vintage feel that covers all styles
Thursday, 10 June 2021  | 

I was lucky enough to get one of the first ones from the first batch and the guitar surprised me. Clearly based around the Red Special with its specs, the guitar seems somewhat more versatile and lends itself to all styles of playing. Iím not sure if itís the wood or construction but you can easily go from '50s blues to hard rock as itís got it covered with the switching system. I donít feel the need to plug in a treble booster with it to get the guitar to sing and it goes well with more amps than just an AC30. It obviously does work well there too.

The neck is something I always pay attention to and on mine it was beautifully finished with the fret work being fantastic, which makes playing it easy. The modern guitar certainly has a vintage feel to it, and striking looks. Burnt Orange and Blue - donít let Arielle hear you say itís red!! The blue section on mine really shows the black limba grain beneath and itís a thing of beauty. Photos donít do it justice.

If you are looking for something to inspire you to make music or play some other styles then I would highly recommend picking one of these up.

My only complaint would be lack of black triangle behind the tremolo, and two tone knobs

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful.

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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13 of 13 people found this review helpful.