Brian May Special review by Brian May Guitars

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.8 (36 votes)
Brian May Guitars: Brian May Special

Price paid: £ 549

Purchased from: Guitar Guitar, UK

Sound — 8
I'm using it with a Vox AD50VT on basic settings, with all the effects backed off, and letting the guitar do the work. The only effects I've used so far are a little chorus and delay, and that really ups the ante. The switching system gives you access to a really wide range of sounds, from twangy and bright to gutsy humbucker. You can also find lots of the signature sounds from Queen songs, too. And lets face it - that's why you're buying it! Yes you are - you know you are!

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, setting aside the nonsensical delivery time (seems that they have trouble with anything other than the antique red finish) and the very poor service from House Music, this is a really nice guitar. It ticks all the boxes in terms of playability and tone. I found my style changing a little to get the best out of it, but hey, that not a bad thing. The switching system is a great feature and you have to admit that it's a real looker!

Reliability & Durability — 8
The hardware is good quality for the price and I have no concerns at all in terms of durability. As with my other guitars, I'll be fitting Schaller Strap-locks. The standard strap buttons are a bit small to give me any degree of confidence. And as already mentioned, the switches, control knobs and nut will be going too.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
It hadn't been set up at all when it arrived, which was particularly disappointing as it took the Brian May people 8 MONTHS to deliver it (due to the colour), and the setup took me bloody ages to get right! However, now that the action is sorted, the guitar plays beautifully. The neck profile is nice and thin, but the fretboard itself is a clean, wide comfortable place to be. The nut is far from the best I've seen, which leads to a "ping" at the zero fret when bending the G string, but I plan to replace that soon, too.

Features — 8
2012 Korean copy of the great man's guitar, with a few mods to make it affordable. Mine is in white (well, more of a cream colour actually), as I couldn't bring myself to front it up with the full colour copy. Scratchplate and truss-rod cover in Tortoise-shell. Burns Tri-sonic pickups in chrome finish, Wilkinson trem and Grover tuners make up a pretty good hardware pack. It's also got the Brian May on/off in/out phase switching system. I'll be changing the switches and control knobs as soon as poss, as they are cheap-looking and let the finish down a bit on an otherwise great looking piece of kit.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought one a few months ago (Brian May version not the Burns) and I'm really impressed with it. It's got a really nice tone when played clean and is great for rock too (of course). Just wish I could play a 10th as well as the man himself!
    I like the black one. I never see a used one and 800.00 for that guitar is about 300.00 too much. I like the sounds you can get out of it with electronic and nice pups.
    First impressions: Solid build quality. Moderately weighty. Shorter neck (46 cms over 24 frets) - may take some getting used to. Wider neck (45 mm). Chunky body (36 cms wide). The 'Space Hopper' shaped body makes it less ergonomic to play sitting down. Volume and Tone knobs wobbly (not fitted properly). Crackly Volume control (hopefully a squirt of electrical cleaner will fix this - but it's a new guitar?). Main scratch plate a tad jagged around the edges (some fine filing or sandpaper might be in order). Tri-Sonic Pickups low output. Great Wilkinson Knife Edge Tremolo - adjustable, sensitive and accurate. Great Grover Rotomatic Locking Tuners. Goes out of pitch like a tremolo if neck squeezed hard - what's going on there? Set-up The guitar wasn't set-up very well. Action (string height) too high - not easy to play. Intonation (harmonic length / bridge saddles) incorrect - out of tune at higher frets. Tri-Sonic Pickups too low - output lacking gain. I followed Greg Fryer's excellent Set-Up guide on the BMG Product Support page and now it plays and sounds great. Just the crackly Volume control to fix and all should be dandy.