The BMG Special • Antique Cherry

The BMG Special • Antique Cherry
 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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"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

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, 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 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.


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 (295 Reviews):  
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Exceptional service
Monday, 16 November 2020  | 

I would like to thank you for the prompt and exceptional service I received from you regarding my recent purchase of this guitar. I was concerned that the looming lockdown may have affected the dispatch of it. However, I was delighted that the order was promptly processed and dispatched within a day of you receiving my order. It arrived in New Zealand 5 days from me placing the order, and I received it at home less than two weeks after ordering it. It is a lovely instrument and very good value and I am delighted with, both it, and the service from you and the team. I also would like to mention the excellent service from DHL, the freight company. I hope that you all stay safe in these uncertain times of covid  and wish you well for the future. I will certainly deal with your company again  in the future, and highly recommend  you to my musician friends. Thank you.


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Better than I could have imagined
Tuesday, 10 November 2020  | 

Just a quick message to say 'thank you' for all your help with the purchase of my red special. She arrived today and is better than I could have imagined, please pass my thanks to all concerned.


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Of course I had to get this guitar...
Thursday, 5 November 2020  | 

When I was in kindergarten in 1973, I remember hearing "Keep Yourself Alive" on the radio... was hooked immediately. Through the years, as I learned to play and tinker, I tried to emulate the "Old Lady" by rewiring my guitars, fiddling with amps and effects, etc...

FINALLY - I just go straight to the source, and get my own Red Special... it's well appointed, plays wonderfully, was set up rather well out of the box (some minor tweaks), and it sounds OUTRAGEOUS. I've got the Amplitube Brian May emulations, as well as the Vox BM-1 "Deacy" amp and a bunch of time to play and get familiar with the feel of the guitar. This is my 9th electric guitar in my current collection, and already one of my all time favorites. When the pandemic is history, and I can start gigging again, this WILL be one of my main players.
THANKS for putting out such an awesome instrument at such an affordable price! Who knows - I may get another...

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Friday, 30 October 2020  | 

I bought this for my daughter who adores Brian May, every moment she gets she is playing that guitar!

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Customer service is outstanding
Sunday, 11 October 2020  | 

I purchased this guitar for my teenage son for his birthday. I was afraid I was not going to get it in time so I sent them and email and not only did I hear back from them right away but they made sure it arrived on time. The customer service is outstanding and my son loves his new guitar. It is definitely worth the money. I will definitely be purchasing from them again. Thank you, Gill and everyone at Brian May Guitars.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

Red Special
Monday, 5 October 2020  | 

Love it!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

What a great quality guitar!
Monday, 5 October 2020  | 

Can I just say how impressed I was on opening this product. I had tried playing this model in my local Epsom branch of Guitar Guitar. This is first time I have bought an unseen guitar online & I couldn’t be happier. All arrived intact and in beautiful condition. I have a collection of approximately 30 guitars of electric / acoustic versions, with some of the more well known brands; Gibson, Fenders etc., but I have to say that this BMG Special has possibly the nicest fretboard in terms of feel & width at the nut and is an absolute dream to play. The tuners and just everything oozes quality. Brian & his Dad got this so right, although I of course, realise this is a replica. I am very proud to own this model & it will enjoy pride of place within my collection.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Thursday, 1 October 2020  | 

I really like this guitar, it just feels "really right". Better than other guitars I have that are more expensive. I am having a little trouble setting the action up as low as I want, but that's a reflection on me not the guitar. It plays really nice, it is surprisingly light yet very solid.

If you want a good guitar at a good price you simply can't go wrong with this one!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

I'm in love with my guitar!
Monday, 28 September 2020  | 

I've just started taking lessons. I had a very cheap guitar, the plug broke and my local music house said they were not bothered to repair it because it wasn't worth the effort. Then I had a better one which I shared with my son, but is incredibly heavy for me to work with. So I thought it was the ideal occasion to invest in something for myself. Ordered last week and received today - Monday- amazing service, but this I am used to from the BMG people.

The guitar is breathtakingly beautiful, size and weight are totally fine for me. And it sounds so good! It has the best strings I've ever played! As I'm just learning, there are thousands of features I cannot even dream of yet, but my fingers feel so comfy on the frets!!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

Amazing guitar
Monday, 28 September 2020  | 

I class myself as an intermediate guitarist and managed to at last save up and treat myself. Not disappointed at all, looks stunning, feels great and out of all guitars I have plays beautifully. Recommend to anybody. Would you expect anything else from an instrument endorsed by probably the world's greatest guitarist. 10 out of 10.

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I'm in love with my guitar
Saturday, 26 September 2020  | 

Hello folks, I bought my BMG in a shop of my city, Tenerife, and what can I say? As a Queen fan, it's like a dream to have this guitar.

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Outstanding customer service
Friday, 25 September 2020  | 

I placed an order with you on Wednesday and, amazingly, I received my order last night. I had emailed you after I placed my order because this is a birthday gift for my son and I wanted to make sure I received it in time for his birthday. I am amazed that after speaking with you I received my order so fast. When the truck pulled up my driveway I said to my husband that it had to be the guitar I ordered from you. My husband said that it wasn’t possible and that there is no way it would be here that fast! I really appreciate the effort you put in to make sure it was here for my son's birthday.

I have never dealt with a company with such outstanding customer service. Thank you so much. My son is going to love his new guitar! There is no doubt I will be ordering from you again!


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Big Red
Wednesday, 23 September 2020  | 

Unique iconic instrument.

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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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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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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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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

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.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020  | 

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

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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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