Brian May Guitars
Red Special Story
A little over 40 years ago, largely because we could not afford to buy a high quality electric guitar, and partly because we enjoyed a challenge, my Dad and I decided to make an electric guitar. I designed an instrument from scratch, with the intention that it would have a capability beyond anything that was out there, more tunable, with a greater range of pitches and sounds, with a better tremolo, and with a capability of feeding back through the air in a “good” way – i.e. in a self-sustaining mode.
Previously (ironically) electric guitars had been designed NOT to feed back, but in the hands of Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix, they were forced to! My Dad had the technical knowledge and skills to make the dream come true. The result, after two years of spare-time work, exclusively with hand tools, was the instrument I now call my “Red Special” – or the “Old Lady” – the guitar which has been a part of me through 30 years of live concerts and studio work with Queen, all around the world.
Through the years there have been a multitude of replicas of the Red Special, built by amateurs and professionals, including two major commercial issues, with Guild Guitars of the USA, and Burns Guitars of the UK. As of 2006, the commercial Red Special has at last come home. I was concerned that it ought to me personally who controlled the manufacture of these instruments, and so I have teamed up with Barry Moorhouse of House Music, and Pete Malandrone, my long-time tech man, and we have created BRIAN MAY GUITARS, our aim being to make the absolute best product at an affordable price, so that all may enjoy the special sound and feel of a Brian May guitar.