The BMG Special - Antique Cherry

The BMG Special - Antique Cherry
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The BMG Special - Antique CherryThe BMG Special - Antique CherryThe BMG Special - Antique Cherry
List Price :  £895.00Worldwide Price : £662.50
UK Price :  £795.00 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.

Tone

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!

Conclusion

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

Rating:  
A joy to play
Thursday, 5 May 2022  | 

Been playing for 60 years with many different guitars and I compare this Brian May Guitar with my treasured 1960's Fender Jazzmaster.

Great product well made.

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Rating:  
Feels great!
Wednesday, 27 April 2022  | 

This is the 1st time I have bought a guitar without touching it 1st, but being a BMG I took a chance somewhat confidently and what I received is the friendliest neck on a guitar I have noodled on. There are no flaws or defects that I can see and it sounds great and just plain fun. Thanks very much guys and gals for sending me an instrument I will use constantly.

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Rating:  
Very good guitar
Friday, 22 April 2022  | 

I can't wait to play those classic songs of Queen,By the way, there are also many fans of Queen in China!

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Rating:  
A guitar that will definitely rock you!
Tuesday, 19 April 2022  | 

The guitar came already tuned to our surprise and in perfect conditions, as well as the rigid cover and the wonderful signed strap. It’s such a wonderful guitar with a particular sound. My daughter can’t take her hands off of it!

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Rating:  
Topissimo
Wednesday, 13 April 2022  | 

Great quality great product. Piece of art really nice to play, never had such a pleasure to get a guitar.

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Rating:  
Absolute engineering masterpiece!
Friday, 8 April 2022  | 

This guitar produces the MOST BEAUTIFUL sound that I have ever heard! The craftsmanship on it is spectacular and has the most gorgeous colour, the pictures just don't do it any justice. The on/off and phase switches on each pickup give it such versatility that I had never thought possible before! You go from a smooth, mellow tone to a sharp piercing tone at the flick of a switch. I highly recommend this guitar to anyone and everyone and would suggest to also purchase the treble booster pedal to go with it, as it just completes the overdriven yet under control "screaming" sound. I am absolutely in love with this guitar and give it a 39/10 badgers!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Magic
Friday, 8 April 2022  | 

The best guitar I have.

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Rating:  
Everything I hoped it would be
Sunday, 3 April 2022  | 

This really does give you Brian’s sounds - I couldn’t believe how authentic it sounds. Once you get beyond playing all of your favourite Queen riffs however (and this will take a while!), you will discover an incredibly versatile guitar that sounds and plays amazing. It feels genuinely different from the run of the mill - I’m over the moon with it. Great friendly service from the team at BMG as well!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Outstanding job!
Wednesday, 23 March 2022  | 

Amazing quality instrument, feels like jewellery to look at and to hold! Thank you everybody who made it possible, and thank you ever so much, Dr. May, for every note you have played on your Red Special!

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Rating:  
A great guitar
Friday, 11 March 2022  | 

What a great guitar. Takes a little time to get used to all the pickup settings. Plays super fast right out of the box. Set-up was perfect. Shipping was very fast, Less than a week to get here.

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Rating:  
Quality is spot on!
Tuesday, 1 March 2022  | 

Received my Brian May Guitar just over a week after ordering it from the UK. Must say I am more than pleased with this guitar, from the action all the way down to the phase switches.

This makes 12 guitars that I currently own and this BMG is by far head and shoulders above all of them! Quality is spot on! Honestly never thought I'd ever own a BMG Special, but the investment is well worth the price.

Thanks to Brian May and his team for making such a great guitar!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Great guitar
Saturday, 19 February 2022  | 

I Baught this guitar, not to sound like Brian May, but as a great guitar with a great variety of sounds. I love having the ability to switch between the lighter sound of a single coil pickup but without having to switch guitar when I want to go back to my usual preference for the humbucker sound.

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Rating:  
Lovely guitar
Friday, 18 February 2022  | 

Lovely guitar. Only thing is I didn't know when it would arrive. Plays really good.

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Rating:  
I couldn't be happier
Monday, 14 February 2022  | 

I recently received my BMG Special and I couldn't be any happier. For the price you pay - $1,000 - the quality is something you'd expect in an instrument in the $2,000+ price point. I also build my own guitars and I look at everything with a sharp eye and the fit and finish is of a superior craftsmanship. I'd like to also comment on working with my sales person, Mr. Dave Good at BMG Guitars. I've never ordered a guitar from an overseas supplier and Dave explained the process and eased any of my fears. Overall my experience with the Brian May Guitar company I give a 5 star review, I would purchase from these guys again anytime.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
The best birthday present, ever
Monday, 7 February 2022  | 

Bought by my wife for my 60th birthday. What a guitar... the variety of tones, stability of tuning, shape, size, weight, what's not to like?!
And a free strap thrown in (cheers, Brian).

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Well done
Friday, 4 February 2022  | 

Superb guitar at an affordable price!
Thanks and rock on🤘🏼.

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Rating:  
Love my new BMG Special
Thursday, 3 February 2022  | 

The BMG company is great - great communication (I had several questions that were quickly and kindly answered before my purchase). Everything was as described. Set up and fit and finish are great, sound is awesome, though Amplitube or a Marshall - huge variety of sounds, and it's super slinky to play. Tiny bit of buzz on some areas of the lower 3 strings, but it does not sound through the amp. I may need to raise up the action a hair if it becomes a problem. I will wait until it settles since it got shopped across the Atlantic this winter though. Super happy with purchase.

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Rating:  
Très satisfait
Wednesday, 2 February 2022  | 

Très satisfait de l'envoi rapide et soigné.
Heureux de posséder cette réplique et de commencer à apprendre la guitare afin de pouvoir à terme jouer le répertoire de Queen.
Je recommande Brian May Guitars 😉

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Exciting guitar!
Wednesday, 2 February 2022  | 

Despite my age (61) I still get exciteded about guitars, and this one didn't disappoint. It played beautifully straight out of the box. It took an hour or so for the strings to play in and the guitar holds its tuning well. The neck suits my hand well and I find it an easy guitar to play. I would prefer to have the trem arm stay where I leave it instead of it swinging freely, not sure if there is an adjustment that can be made to the trem arm to make this possible, or an adjustment to my playing technique may be required.

Tone-wise it is very versatile and I find it is capable of covering any genre as I play a wide variety of songs. I have a Les Paul Anniversary, Fender Strat and a number of other guitars; the Special is up there with them. I would seriously recommend this instrument, it's great!

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Response:

Instructions for the correct installation of the tremolo arm are provided on the PRODUCT SUPPORT PAGE for the BMG Special.


Rating:  
Excellent
Tuesday, 1 February 2022  | 

I wanted to say a big thank you to the team at BMG and Dr May for the guitar. It arrived the day before my birthday which was amazing. 'Tie your Mother Down' was the first (and probably predictable) first play on it. My son was so excited and now we are starting to share it.

From 1st email to delivery and play - excellent!
I have already recommended to friends.

 

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