The BMG Special • Antique Cherry

The BMG Special • Antique Cherry
 The BMG Special • Antique CherryThe BMG Special • Antique Cherry 
List Price :  £845.00Worldwide Price : £620.83
UK Price :  £745.00 Inc. 20% VAT

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

Marvellous to play
Friday, 23 July 2021  | 

I am extremely pleased with my BMG Special which arrived safely in New Zealand having been shipped from the UK. It was very well packed and undamaged.

On opening the package, the guitar needed just a slight re-tune and was ready to play. I was also pleased that the intonation was correct and needed no adjustment. Similarly the fretboard height is set up properly and no adjustments were required to the truss rod.

It is a beautiful guitar and marvelous to play. The only comment I would make is that there were no instructions with the guitar, i.e. fitting of the tremolo arm (I did go onto the BMG website and found the video which showed, among other things, how to fit and secure). The accessories, along with the allen, Keys also includes a large spring but as yet I have not been able to find out what the spring is for.

All in all I am very, very happy with my purchase and would highly recommend. Five stars in my book. I now just need to learn how to play!!

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An additional spring is provided with every BMG Special should customers wish to swap the factory fitted (9 guage) strings out for a heavier gauge and need to re-balance the tension on the tremolo.

Awesome guitar
Monday, 19 July 2021  | 

Very pleased with the overall purchase experience. Very good information updates and on-time shipping and delivery.

Everything arrived well packaged and protected. The guitar is truly amazing, the tone and playability was very good straight out of the box and the quality and finishing detail are superb, especially on the neck and fretwork - better than some higher priced guitars from other well known brands.

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Great Guitar
Saturday, 17 July 2021  | 

Very pleased with my purchase - this is just an excellent guitar, and definitely not just for Queen songs. The range of sounds from the selector switches is amazing. The initial setup from the factory is spot on making the guitar very easy to play. I like the fact that you can switch from a fat, full humbucker sound to single coil Fender style sound very easily. In short, “Chuffed to bits”!

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Superb Instrument
Monday, 12 July 2021  | 

It is a masterpiece. It exceeded my expectations in every way. Of all the guitars I own, this one became my favorite. Thank you for the privilege of owning such a gem.

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BMG to Melbourne
Saturday, 10 July 2021  | 

Very happy with the BMG - strings very easy to bend (zero fret?), amazing how many different sounds with the switching system, tremolo a lot of fun.

VERY good quality all round and no hassle shipping to australia.The $300 import duty is the only other thing to consider if you want this versatile guitar.

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Friday, 9 July 2021  | 

An excellent quality instrument for the price - you will not find better.

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Dream guitar finally made a reality
Monday, 5 July 2021  | 

After wanting one for close to 15 years, I finally pulled the trigger and bought myself a proper BMG and I couldn’t be happier with it. Showed up a lot faster than I had imagined and was ready to go right out of the box. It was set up beautifully and plays like a dream. Now maybe I’ll save up and get a Super next!!!

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Thank you for the courtesy and helpfulness
Thursday, 1 July 2021  | 


I’m just writing after my phone call to you today. I phoned regarding a switch from a customers‘ Red Special which I am currently setting up/repairing.

I just want to thank you for the courtesy and helpfulness I was shown in dealing with you all. It’s very rare that I encounter this – I even ended up chatting about the west of Ireland where I am situated. Many kind regards and many thanks.

I wish you all the very best of health in this difficult time.

Best wishes
James Richardson


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Monday, 28 June 2021  | 

Merveilleuse guitare, un grand merci à Brian pour cette création, on l'a de suite en main et sur un AC30 le son est là. La finition est parfaite une véritable guitare de pro pour un prix très honnête. Phil

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Amazing guitar
Saturday, 26 June 2021  | 

It’s an amazing guitar. It’s so smooth and clear. The guitar of my dreams.

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Amazing piece to my Queen collection!
Thursday, 24 June 2021  | 

I am so excited to be a proud owner of an authentic signature series Brian May Red Special!

It is a beautiful piece, and a priceless piece to my Queen collection.

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My new #1!
Monday, 14 June 2021  | 

Great-playing guitar, I love it! A dream come true, she's my new #1!

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Well worth the money!
Monday, 31 May 2021  | 

The neck needed a bit of adjustment but apart from that I really think it’s a great instrument and well worth the money. I love the extra width of the neck and playing around with different pickup settings. Thx, Bri 😉

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Beautifully instrument, carefree shopping
Friday, 28 May 2021  | 

Purchased this great guitar online from the Netherlands. Delivery was faster than advertised. Good track & trace. Customs and taxes went smooth as well. Very secure packaging. Thanks BMG!

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Great guitar
Friday, 21 May 2021  | 

A great well built guitar with a good range of sounds possible. I am really pleased with it. Good customer service also.

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Very pleased
Thursday, 20 May 2021  | 

Very pleased with this guitar. Tones, playability, quality are all as good, or better, than more expensive guitars that I own. Really like the wider nut width and shorter scale. Various tones available with phase and pick up switches really cool.

I would recommend this guitar to anyone.

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I'm in love with Dr. May Ph.D + the Red Special! Lovely in all Respects
Tuesday, 18 May 2021  | 

I think I'm in love!

The instrument Brian and his dad created all those years ago is simply stunning! And on my instrument - when I checked everything was perfect.

1) The fit and finish - perfect.
2) The fret dressing - perfect.
3) Intonation - perfect.
4) Pots - smooth and velvety.
5) Fret Board - perfect, and when I first saw how wide it was I thought - wow! - MUCH wider than my other guitars! BUT it really fits me like a glove. I have an octave span on the piano, so long fingers. I don't feel cramped up on the fret board either across or down. No stretch is too "stretchy".
6) Recovery after whammying the whammy - perfect. It returns precisely in tune. I can not say the same for my Strats (high end, USA made).

I would call this beautiful instrument the Swiss army knife of electrics, because you have full control of all three pickups, and it has just a hint of hollow body. Not just a multi-position knife switch like a Strat, or a three position like a Gibson. Using slide switches to engage or disengage each pickup and change its phase relationship is pure genius.

I ran it through my pedal board clean and dirty using the TS-8 Tube Screamer, Electro Harmonix Holy Grail reverb, MXR Carbon Copy and MXR Chorus, in all pickup and phase positions – Just lovely! Clean or with FX. Then I ran it through the AmpliTube 5 Brian May rack, and Brian came flying out! HA!

To say I am impressed with a very reasonably priced instrument is an understatement. I don't care if the factory is in the UK, the USA, Asia, or the moon - this instrument was built with PRIDE! - Very rare these days! House Music should be proud - YOU should be proud - Brian should be proud, he chose wisely (Why am I not surprised that an astrophysicist would choose wisely!). This instrument simply feels "right" to me in every respect, and just noodling about, getting the feel, a new song issued forth - "Strange World" is the title and theme for it (at least for now). I suspect it will be electric (Brian), acoustic (Taylor 514CE), bass (Fender fretless), piano, drums and vocal (I'm kind of a one gal band - write, track , edit, mix, master etc - Ha! - The LAST guitar that gave me this same warm vibe - and songs issued forth from it - was my Taylor 514CE, back in 1996.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

I frickin' LOVE this guitar
Monday, 17 May 2021  | 

I frickin' LOVE this guitar !!!!!!! It is a multi-dimensional thing - the guitar itself (looks/feel), the different sounds, and that it is modeled after Brian's original. What a great package, all in all.

A quick question. After I ordered it, I thought that I should have ordered the hard shell case for the trip over. It arrived in good shape, however, for the long haul, I want to get the BMG hard shell case. Can I exchange? How much? Many thanks again, you offered great, fast, service.

Backstory: I got a discount coupon from one of the big online stores, so I went through all the guitar offerings. There were over 2,000 guitars and about halfway through them, came across the BMG. Immediately ordered it. Then a week later, they canceled the order citing out of stock. Had been so excited about getting one and prior to this, didn't know they existed. So I located you all and ordered it.


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An excellent product
Wednesday, 12 May 2021  | 

We bought the BMG Special as a surprise gift to our son who has been a life long fan of Queen. His pleasure at now owning a Brian May Guitar has not disappointed; he loves the look of the guitar, the skilled craftmanship and of course how it plays.

The efficiency of the service was fantastic, arriving only three days after ordering it.

Thanks, all in all extremely impressed.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2021  | 

I absolutely love this guitar and it sounds absolutely amazing. High quality and a beautiful look.

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