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MF MD HG Clearance Blowout 10-23-14

Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar Antique Cherry 

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Product #512637
Top Rated
Overview
  • Mahogany body (with acoustic chamber), Pinstripe binding, two-piece scratchplate
  • Mahogany neck, 24" scale (Depth: 22mm at 1st Fret - 24mm at 12th Fret)
  • 24 fret, Ebony fingerboard (Width: 45mm at 0 Fret - 57mm at 24th Fret)
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $1,234.98
  • Your Savings:
    - $435.98
  • Your Price:
    $79900
2 UsedFrom $511.36
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  • Black

    $799.00 Top Rated

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  • 3Tone

    $799.00 Top Rated

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  • Antique Cherry

    $799.00 Top Rated

    In stock

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  • White

    $799.00 Top Rated

    Ships By 11/21/14

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  • Honey Sunburst

    $799.00 Top Rated

    Ships By 11/21/14

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See All Brian May Guitars Signature Model Electric Guitars
Brian May Guitars

Improved and refined replica of Red Special.

The Brian May Signature Electric Guitar features an acoustically chambered mahogany body, a dual truss rod mahogany neck, and ebony fingerboard. The pickups are Tri-Sonics that Brian sealed in Araldite adhesive to prevent microphonic feedback inherent with metal covered pickups. These are controlled by the original Brian May switching system with individual on/off and phase switches, one volume and one tone pot.

The Brian May guitar is faithful to the spirit of Brian's original 'Red Special', an instrument that has achieved iconic status and a unique place in rock history, and designed by Brian May himself. The Brian May Special is a stunning guitar, blessed with superb build quality, awesome playability and an astonishingly rich diversity of killer tones. In fact, it delivers everything you'd expect from an instrument built to the exacting standards of one of the world's greatest guitarists but, in keeping with Brian's vision of a "guitar for the people", with an amazingly affordable price-tag that belies its superior appointments and performance.

Without question one of the most eagerly anticipated instruments of the century. The original BMG replica was originally launched in winter 2001 to rapturous critical and public acclaim. UK Guitarist magazine hailed it as "Best Guitar of The Year" and theater audiences around the globe thrilled to the guitar's sound in performance in the Queen musical "We Will Rock You."

But the story certainly didn't end there. Brian, his long-standing guitar technician Pete Malandrone, and Barry Moorehouse of House Music have significantly improved upon the guitar's overall construction as well as refining the bridge assembly, electronics, finishing and color choices. Simply put, one of the finest artist-designed production guitars is now even better. Case sold separately.

Check the drop-down menu to the right to select colors and/or other options.

Features
  • Mahogany body (with acoustic chamber), Pinstripe binding, two-piece scratchplate
  • Mahogany neck, 24" scale (Depth: 22mm at 1st Fret - 24mm at 12th Fret)
  • 24 fret, Ebony fingerboard (Width: 45mm at 0 Fret - 57mm at 24th Fret)
  • Grover GH305 locking tuners, Dual truss rod, Graphite nut,
  • New bridge, brass saddles, Brian May custom tremolo arm
  • 3 x Burns Tri-Sonic pickups (series wired)
  • Master volume/tone controls
  • Original Brian May switching system:
  • Individual pickup in/out phase
  • Individual pickup on/off
  • Case sold separately

Break free with the Brian May Signature guitar! Order today.

 
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Brian May GuitarsBrian May Signature Electric Guitar
 
4.7

(based on 97 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (81)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

96%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good tone (25)
  • Good feel (24)
  • Good pick up (24)
  • Fun to play (23)
  • Solid electronics (23)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Jamming (22)
    • Practicing (21)
    • Recording (20)
    • Rock concerts (19)
    • Small venues (14)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Experienced (19), Professional musician (8)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Very unique guitar

    This is an interesting guitar. Certainly not for everyone, but interesting nonetheless.

    Although I've been a lifelong fan of Brian May, I have to admit that I've never been all that...Read complete review

    This is an interesting guitar. Certainly not for everyone, but interesting nonetheless.

    Although I've been a lifelong fan of Brian May, I have to admit that I've never been all that interested in trying to replicate his sound. He has one of the most distintinctive tones in the business and his style is also pretty unique. But when one of these unexpectedly dropped into my lap, I had to give it a try.

    The first thing I noticed was the neck. It's huge. Wide and very thick - with pretty beefy frets. I can't think of another guitar I've played with such a thick neck. My understanding is that May's genuine 'Red Special' has a significantly fatter neck. He must have enormous hands. Initially I expected the neck shape to be a turn off but the more I played it,I thought. Interestingly, it seemed to dictate how I played it. I found myself doing long chromatic runs - not unlike Brian himself. Uncharacteristic for me but the flat fingerboard and really well crowned frets seem to draw your fingers around the board in a different way than normal.

    I played the guitar unplugged for a while to get a general feel. The chambered body resonates very nicely and the guitar is surprisingly loud for a solid body. Some have complained about the balance. It is a bit odd, but I was able to get used to it pretty quickly. If anything bothered me it was the hard edges of the body. As a Strat player primarily, I found the squared off body a bit uncomfortable, but this is no different than playing a bound tele.

    The tremolo is alo a tad different than most. Though it's more or less a variation on the two point trems that people have been making for decades, the bar is a shape I've not seen before. It allows the player to hold the bard while picking and accomplishes that nicely. When used in a more standard manner, the 'hook' in the bar isn't noticeable. I have no complaints with tuning stability. Though I'm not one known for a lot of divebombing, I tried to stress the system a bit and the tuning was as stable as any other guitar I have. The Grover locking tuners took a few minutes to figure out, but seem to do their job nicely.

    Then I plugged it in. I'm lucky enough to own an AC15 and that seemed the logical place to start. Here again the guitar is 'unique'. The Burns pickups may look somewhat like Strat pickups but don't expect them to sound the same. They're both darker and sharper. Perhaps a bit more like the pickups in a good Tele, but not quite. If I had suggest that they sound like anything, I would probably say they sound like good old Dano lipsticks. They're a bit more full than the Danos, but have some of that bite. Each of the three pickups has its own character though all are pretty hot - driving the amp to breakup long before a strat would.

    The switching arrangement is - yes, you guessed it - unique. On off switches for each plus a phase switch for each. I've had a few other guitars with swtiches and it works fine. Though in a performance situation, I would preffer the convenience of a blade, these get the job done and do offer three pickup combinations that are impossible with a Strat style blade (Neck + Bridge, All three on and all three off).

    These pickups are wired in series as opposed to the industry standard parallel. This gives pickup combinations a very different sound and feel than your used to and when turning two pickups on effectively gives you a humbucker. The bridge and middle pickups together sound more like Les Paul to me than, say, the middle position on a Tele. All three on offers a very ballsy, in your face tone that nicely drives an amp into breakup very quickly.

    The phase switches offer even more options though this takes some getting used to. Each switch inverts the phase of one pickup. Think about that relationship for a moment. It means that this is only a factor when using more than one pickup. Changing the phase of the bridge pickup alone will have no affect at all. When you're using the bridge and the middle pickups together, it doesn't matter which of the phase switches you change - the result will be the same. Both up or both down will sound identical. When you turn on all three pickups, it gets more complicated. You will then either have them all in phase with each other or two in phase and one out and you get to pick which you want out.

    The out of phase sounds are very different then in phase. Much of the bottom end is removed, leaving a brighter, shriller sound. In some cases, even achieving a lo-fi kind of affect.

    Do NOT expect any two of the single coils, out of phase with each other to sound like a strat. The series wiring just doesn't allow fo the 'clucking' sound that we all know and love.

    A few final notes on the electronics. The volume and tone pots are reversed from what one would normally expect with the volume being the farthest back. While any single coil guitar will produce some 60 cycle hum, I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet this thing is. I haven't removed the pickguard for a peak yet but my guess is that it's well shielded.

    So is Brian's tone in there? Yes, it really is. With the AC15, I was very easilly able to reproduce that signature sound (not the playing, just the sound) I can only imagine what a treble boost and an AC30 could accomplish with this.

    I was actually quite surprised how much it sounds like the real 'Red Special.' The mahogany body, totally different tremolo system should sound really different, but for some reason they don't. The original is made of oak. How can mahogany sound like oak? I have no answer, but it does.

    Luckily, there's a lot more in here too., I found the guitar very well suited to blues and eventually came to feel like I was playing a P-90 equiped Les Paul.

    I think the common thread in this review is 'unique'. It looks unique. It feels unique and it sounds unique. This guitar will not be for everyone. The neck alone will put some off. This will never be a dive bombing, super-hot metal kind of thing. Nor will it ever be a mellow jazz box. But it's pretty much exactly what May designed it to be. If you want to sound like him, this plus an AC30 and a treble boost will get you very, very close. But it's beauty really lies in it's versatility and the number on tones that are present.

    If, on the other hand, you just want something different, this guitar should interest you. I promise you, it will feel and sound different than anything you have. It's always nice to have a different tool in the shed.
    Mahogany body and neck, ebony fingerboard, 2 point trem, locking tuners, three Burns 'Tri-Sonic'single coil pickups, individual on/off switches for each pickup as well as individual phase switches for each. One volume pot and one tone.
    This guitar is remarkably well made for a Korean instrument. I don't say this lightly, but it appears to have the build quality of American made Fenders. Beatiful finish. Excellent fretwork. Nice binding front and back. Perfectly seated set neck.

    Frankly, at this price, this guitar has no right to be this well made.
    For the price these are selling at now, if you're interested in such a guitar, it's a steel.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Poor quality control.

    I have been a huge Queen fan for 25 years and it was always my dream to own a Red Special. That dream quickly turned into a nightmare and I had to return the...Read complete review

    I have been a huge Queen fan for 25 years and it was always my dream to own a Red Special. That dream quickly turned into a nightmare and I had to return the guitar. Kudos to Musician's Friend for having such an awesome return policy and great customer service.
    I'm giving this a three because of the pickups and pickup configuration. There's a wide variety of tones to be had with this guitar, but the guitar itself is lacking in other areas. The horns on the upper part of the body are too shallow to make holding it on your leg comfortable when sitting. You feel like you're fighting it all the time because of balance issues. Another problem is the trem arm. It free floats in the arm hole, and if you lean the guitar forward, it'll fall out. The only remedy to this is a tiny screw underneath the trem plate at the back of the trem that is virtually invisible and nearly inaccessible.
    The finish on this guitar is nice, and the locking tuners work well, but there's a big issue with quality control on these guitars. They don't come set up at all. When I got mine, I had to adjust the neck and the trem height both to get rid of fret buzz. Unfortunately, the saddle on the E string could not be pulled back far enough to intonate the string properly. I had to remove the saddle spring and pull the saddle back completely to the back of the trem to get it to intonate. Even then, the E string wouldn't stay in tune at all. It constantly would go sharp if you did any string bends or used the trem. I spent two and a half days trying to dial in and make this guitar workable, and finally just gave up and sent it back. This issue could have been discovered if there had been any proper set up done at the factory before the instruments are sent out.
    With poor quality control requiring a lot of set up and potentially having trem/bridge saddle issues, I have to give this a 1.

    Reviewed by 97 customers

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    5.0

    Brian May Signature Electric Guitar

    By Forti

    from The Brnx N.Y.

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Custom Shop Look
    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Good Pick Up
    • Good Tone
    • Great Neck
    • Solid Electronics

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Recording
      • Rock Concerts
      • School Bands
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

      When I received the Brian May guitar, I was impressed by the workmanship for such korean made instrument. But hec this is 2014 not 1970's. It was very well made almost to the custom shop quality guitars they make today. It's very resonant and the tone is wonderfull!! A mix of an ES335 and a strat. Prety close to an acoustic sound when played unplugged really impressive instrument. The tremolo is very usefull if you know how to set it right. The arm was very loose so I pushed the arm down an lifted the tremolo and inserted the allen key to a small screw on the back and tighten up to my liking. I don't understand these people about the arm being too loose duh!! use your common sense please!! go to the Brian Red Special web site and read the instructions and print them and put them in the gig bag for future reference. The neck is phenomenal it feels close to the Paul Gilbert Ibanez Fireman and a Gibson 59 Les Paul neck Excellent frets jumbo and perfect!!. It plays geat for slide and open tunings. the tuning pegs are wonderful and easy to put the srings fast. The gig bag is excellent. This guitar my friends If it was made in th USA would take you back at lest 2000.00 easily not kidding is that good!!

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      great, unique guitar unlike any other

      By steve-o

      from north central MA

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics

      Cons

      • Fret Buzz

      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Recording
      • Rock Concerts
      • School Bands
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

      there are plenty of reviews here to help you decide if you want to pull the trigger on this guitar. i just want to clarify one issue of mis-information people keep posting about the tremolo arm. people keep writing in their reviews that you can't adjust the play in the arm and that it just falls out because there is no adjustment screw. FALSE. with the arm attached, push down on the trem. this will expose the back of the trem block as it tilts up and out of the body. right where the trem block attaches to the bottom of the bridge you will see a tiny set screw. simply tighten/loosen that to adjust the play in the arm to taste. done! the only real negative is that due to the short scale you are more prone to fret buzz if you're heavy handed (just like on a jaguar). this can be minimalized by avoiding super light string gauges and tuning to A-440. tuning down a half-step or more will only increase the liklihood of fret buzz.

      Comment on this review

       
      4.0

      Unique Is An Understatement

      By Ratmonger

      from So Cal

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Fun To Play
      • Good Feel
      • Good Pick Up
      • Good Tone
      • Solid Electronics

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Jamming
        • Recording
        • Small Venues

        Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

        Very impressed with this guitar out of the box. Feels and looks quality. Les Paul/Strat plus. I love the Ebony fretboard. Flat-wide board may take getting used to for some. Not for tiny fingers. Very versatile pickups. Easy to play; great tones.

        Sadly, the strings on the guitar are too light; and will not stay in tune. I did not even use the Trem arm, which could only have made the tuning worse. The E string broke within minutes of playing it out of the box. I will take some time to set-up, tweak and update this review later. I am optimisitc.

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        Great Guitar

        By Josh

        from Key largo, Fl

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel
        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone
        • Solid Electronics

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Jamming
          • Practicing
          • Recording
          • Rock Concerts
          • School Bands
          • Small Venues

          Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

          I bought this guitar about a month ago, and it has exceeded my expectations. It came set up with the action low and the intonation just right. The guitar sounds amazing with my 100 watt Marshall tube amp and I have used for multiple gigs.
          I bought this guitar because I needed a single coil guitar to go alongside my humbucking Gibson Sg standard, and I never really liked the feel of stratocasters. This guitar feels like a Gibson but sounds completely different. Also, disregard all of the comments that say the neck is extremely wide, as it is barely larger than my Gibson.
          The only downside that i can think of is the free floating trem bar that sometimes falls out. The system its self works great, but if you lean to far forward the bar falls out. Other than that its a great guitar and i encourage everyone to buy one.
          p.s.
          I bought the guitar in honey sunburst, and it is absolutely b-e-a-utiful.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Well designed and executed instrument

          By n/a

          from Spotsylvania, VA

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Excellent Well Executed
          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Good Pick Up
          • Good Tone
          • Solid Electronics

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Jamming
            • Practicing

            Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

            Excellent, well thought out and well executed guitar. The switching is unique and provides a lot of versatility. The neck is fast and the the action was perfect right out of the box. The zero fret is a smart idea - the strings do not buzz. The tuning machines stay in tune. Only problem I had is that the vibrato arm just slips in the hole without locking, and can fall out if the guitar is turned downwards.

            Comment on this review

            (3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Like a brillian drunk.

            By ScottyL

            from Shingle Spring, CA

            About Me Professional Musician

            Pros

            • Fun To Play
            • Good Feel
            • Good Pick Up
            • Good Tone

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Jamming
              • Practicing

              Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

              I hated to return it because the combo of tones are wonderful and easy to play and gorgous. But, there are far too many inhearent problems with the design: The trem bar cannot be made to be stationary, and also falls out. The volume and tone pots are reversed when compared to ALL other electric guitars. Stupid. The pickup on/off swithes are also reversed; so confusing. When you turn on a wall light switch, you click it upward. Not Brian's guitar, which also makes the parallel switcing confusing. It's extreemly easy to ajust the intonation, but it goes right back out if you use the tremolo. Rediculous! It's akin to dealing with a brilliant drunk. Impossible. Good luck, folks...

              Comment on this review

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Very Nice Guitar

              By JasperDyne

              from South Jersey

              About Me Experienced

              Pros

              • Fun To Play
              • Good Feel
              • Good Pick Up
              • Good Tone
              • Solid Electronics

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Jamming
                • Practicing
                • Recording
                • Rock Concerts

                Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

                I don't usually buy "signature" products, because it automatically brands you with a certain amateurish/wannabee status. It's kind of like buying a set of Tiger Woods golf clubs. You're never going to be Tiger Woods and buying his clubs thinking they'll make you more like him is delusional.

                That's one reason I got the green version and not the regular "Red Special." Brian May has some honkingly big shoes to fill and if you're playing one of his guitars, there's a huge amount of expectation from your audience.

                In spite of that prejudice, of my 10 guitars, this is one of the finest instruments I own. The workmanship is excellent. The frets are like silk and the neck is smooth and fast. I don't know if some of the previous complaints about the neck being too thick are reviews of this model, but my guitar's neck is pretty thin and easy for even my sausage-like fingers to navigate with ease.

                The body and binding are flawless. There's just enough "life" in the wood to sparkle in bright light, but not become a distraction. It's a very pretty, yet quirky beast that's a real attention-getter.

                Action was near perfect right out of the box—it was dang near in tune, too!

                Gig bag is high-quality with a nice, rugged feel.

                Playing it is a delight. You can tell that this is a guitar deigned by a guitar geek. Everything is just right. The tonal variations you can get out of this thing are remarkable. I spent quite a bit of time messing around with the switching combinations and you can coax just about anything out of this, except some of the twangier Telecaster sounds (which is probably why Brian used a Tele on Queen's rockabilly-inspired songs like "Crazy Little Thing Called Love").

                My only issues with it were the weird tremolo bar that just sort of floats in its socket, unlike the screw-in types in Strats and the lack of any documentation or manual in the box. I had to search online to find a key to the various switches and what they do to affect tone.

                This is a really nice guitar for the money. If you're on the fence about buying one, don't hesitate. You'll be glad you did.

                Comment on this review

                (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Best Guitar I Have Ever Own!

                By rpguitars

                from Frisco, Texas

                About Me Experienced

                Pros

                • Fun To Play
                • Good Feel
                • Good Pick Up
                • Good Tone
                • Solid Electronics

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Jamming
                  • Practicing
                  • Recording
                  • Rock Concerts
                  • School Bands
                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

                  Plan to purchase another Brian May guitar.

                  Comment on this review

                  (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Excellent Guitar and sound!

                  By rpguitars

                  from Frisco, Texas

                  About Me Experienced

                  Pros

                  • Fun To Play
                  • Good Feel
                  • Good Pick Up
                  • Good Tone
                  • Solid Electronics

                  Cons

                  • None

                  Best Uses

                  • All Music
                  • Jamming
                  • Practicing
                  • Recording
                  • Rock Concerts
                  • School Bands
                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

                  This guitar is well made. I plan to buy another one!

                  Comment on this review

                  (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  WOW doesn't even come close...

                  By Seth

                  from Eastvale, CA

                  About Me Experienced

                  Pros

                  • Fun To Play
                  • Good Feel
                  • Good Pick Up
                  • Good Tone
                  • Solid Electronics

                  Cons

                  • Free Floating Tremolo

                  Best Uses

                  • everything
                  • Jamming
                  • Practicing
                  • Recording
                  • Rock Concerts
                  • School Bands
                  • Small Venues

                  Comments about Brian May Guitars Brian May Signature Electric Guitar:

                  Let me say first that the staff of Musician's Friend was superb. Their dedication to the customer is unmatched! From beginning to end, the customer service department was extremely friendly.

                  Then I receive the guitar...

                  I've had this guitar for a week, roughly. Upon opening the package, the first thing you notice is the craftsmanship on the guitar. It can sit inside of a living room and look right at home. This has nothing to do with the fact that I've wanted this guitar for the last 23 years. Let me tell you now...it was well more than worth the wait!

                  The strings that come on the guitar need to be replaced. I broke 3 of them on the first night I played it, and I don't play hard either. Upon doing that, some slight work on adjusting the bridge, this guitar was good to go.

                  I own the Brian May digitech pedal issued a few years previous, and what a wonderful marriage it is! Even if you're not looking to exactly copy the Brian May sound, this guitar is for you! You won't need anything else...this guitar has it all! I've read the reviews on here about it having a wide neck. Let me say that the neck is no wider than the one on my Strat. The tone, the power...this guitar has it all! I'm spoiled from here forward. The only thing I don't particularly care for is the tremolo arm is loose and doesn't have the ability to stay in. It takes some getting used to. But one drawback compared to the many pros...I consider it not a big deal.

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