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Old 03-18-2009, 01:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Red special?

I've been looking at getting the Brian May signature Red Special cos I love the nice clean tone that it can get so I was wondering if anyone had any experience using it at all?

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Old 03-18-2009, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I borrowed one belonging to a friend of mine a few months back. The guitar sounds great when the amp is on clean, but it on it's own won't give you the real brian may lead tone if you're looking for it. The neck is really nice. Fans of classic/vintage guitars would like it (not sure which you're a fan of). The switches take a bit of getting used to, also. I'd strongly recommend trying one out before buying one (if you were thinking of buying online).
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I own the Burns version of the Brian May guitar... got it from "American Musical Supply" about 4 years ago for $600... don't think they sell it anymore. Anyway, I enjoy playing it and "trying" to get the Brian May sound (which requires a modded high end Vox AC30, volume on 10... with a treble booster and probably something else Brian left out to lead fanboys off track).

As a guitar in general, it's pretty solid... I view it as more of a toy then a high quality instrument, but that's me. Something about the jumbo fret/ebony board combo mixed with the style of my playing makes basic open chords float in and out of tune at times (something that doesn't happen with my American Strat) which shouldn't happen considering it has a fret at the 0 position (which is pretty cool). Again, this I attribute to my playing style, you may find this is a non issue with you. The multiple switch positions on the guitar is a lot of fun as I've probably used them all for all different types of solo's and rhythm patterns. As far as getting used to them it just takes a basic understanding of both rows. One row affects each pick up in phase (what you're used to) and the other coincides with those pick ups out of phase. Sounds confusing, but if you play it enough it gets easy pretty fast.

I play it through a Vox-AC15 with a treble booster and sometimes either an ibanez tube screamer or a keeley modded Ratt pedal (which sounds awesome). A funny/embarrassing thing is that for 4 years now I've been winding the strings on this guitar the wrong way... with the grover tuner pegs on this guitar (which are sweet) you are suppose to pull the string all the way through and then start tightening, so when you cut the end off you don't see any string wound around the peg. I was doing it as I would with a strat and the result was it wasn't staying in tune the way grover tuners are suppose to... now it does, silly me.

Overall, a good instrument... but if you can get your hands on the Guild version of it ($1800 and up) that would be closer to what Brian May had in mind when he built his own guitar. The Burns is the best they could do while keeping the price under a grand. I'm thinking Brian has a new design/company in mind for his next line of guitars... the fact it's hard to get your hands on the Burns model leads me to believe they are working on enhancing it and will release a new version of it sometime in the future... but, who knows. Finding a case for it is also something I've had a lot of difficulty with... I use a gig bag since it's such an oddly shaped guitar and doesn't fit in most guitar cases correctly.
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Last edited by Whatsitoosit; 04-02-2009 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatsitoosit View Post
I own the Burns version of the Brian May guitar... got it from "American Musical Supply" about 4 years ago for $600... don't think they sell it anymore. Anyway, I enjoy playing it and "trying" to get the Brian May sound (which requires a modded high end Vox AC30, volume on 10... with a treble booster and probably something else Brian left out to lead fanboys off track).

As a guitar in general, it's pretty solid... I view it as more of a toy then a high quality instrument, but that's me. Something about the jumbo fret/ebony board combo mixed with the style of my playing makes basic open chords float in and out of tune at times (something that doesn't happen with my American Strat) which shouldn't happen considering it has a fret at the 0 position (which is pretty cool). Again, this I attribute to my playing style, you may find this is a non issue with you. The multiple switch positions on the guitar is a lot of fun as I've probably used them all for all different types of solo's and rhythm patterns. As far as getting used to them it just takes a basic understanding of both rows. One row affects each pick up in phase (what you're used to) and the other coincides with those pick ups out of phase. Sounds confusing, but if you play it enough it gets easy pretty fast.

I play it through a Vox-AC15 with a treble booster and sometimes either an ibanez tube screamer or a keeley modded Ratt pedal (which sounds awesome). A funny/embarrassing thing is that for 4 years now I've been winding the strings on this guitar the wrong way... with the grover tuner pegs on this guitar (which are sweet) you are suppose to pull the string all the way through and then start tightening, so when you cut the end off you don't see any string wound around the peg. I was doing it as I would with a strat and the result was it wasn't staying in tune the way grover tuners are suppose to... now it does, silly me.

Overall, a good instrument... but if you can get your hands on the Guild version of it ($1800 and up) that would be closer to what Brian May had in mind when he built his own guitar. The Burns is the best they could do while keeping the price under a grand. I'm thinking Brian has a new design/company in mind for his next line of guitars... the fact it's hard to get your hands on the Burns model leads me to believe they are working on enhancing it and will release a new version of it sometime in the future... but, who knows. Finding a case for it is also something I've had a lot of difficulty with... I use a gig bag since it's such an oddly shaped guitar and doesn't fit in most guitar cases correctly.
The out of tune problem you're experiencing is nothing to do with the zero fret, you're just playing with WAY too much force in the fretting hand. Use a lighter touch or some heavier guage strings. You'll be more in tune no matter what guitar you're playing, and you'll end up being able to play for longer. If you focus on the light touch part of thigns, you'll also find your dexterity vastly improves.

The reason it doesn't affect you on the strat is because the frets are much smaller, so theres no big gap of air undeneath your fingers to bend the strings into.


As for his next line of guitars, Brian has started his own guitar company. Google brian may guitars and it comes straight up.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
The out of tune problem you're experiencing is nothing to do with the zero fret, you're just playing with WAY too much force in the fretting hand. Use a lighter touch or some heavier guage strings. You'll be more in tune no matter what guitar you're playing, and you'll end up being able to play for longer. If you focus on the light touch part of thigns, you'll also find your dexterity vastly improves.

The reason it doesn't affect you on the strat is because the frets are much smaller, so theres no big gap of air undeneath your fingers to bend the strings into.


As for his next line of guitars, Brian has started his own guitar company. Google brian may guitars and it comes straight up.
you misread/misunderstood my post... I said this problem is most likely attributed to my playing style (which I developed learning on a strat) despite the fact the guitar has a zero fret (which is designed to help eliminate this issue).

I have been practicing a lighter touch... especially for the Brian May, it works wonders. Also, I always use 10 gauge strings... I rather adjust my style then change my gauge, I don't dig the heavier gauges. I also mentioned the jumbo frets probably attribute to this issue I was having for the same exact reason you mentioned so... thanks for repeating me.

Good to know about the Brian May line of guitars, since I own one I never had a reason to google it... but for anybody looking... check it out.
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Last edited by Whatsitoosit; 04-02-2009 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatsitoosit View Post
you misread/misunderstood my post... I said this problem is most likely attributed to my playing style (which I developed learning on a strat) despite the fact the guitar has a zero fret (which is designed to help eliminate this issue).

I have been practicing a lighter touch... especially for the Brian May, it works wonders. Also, I always use 10 gauge strings... I rather adjust my style then change my gauge, I don't dig the heavier gauges. I also mentioned the jumbo frets probably attribute to this issue I was having for the same exact reason you mentioned so... thanks for repeating me.

Good to know about the Brian May line of guitars, since I own one I never had a reason to google it... but for anybody looking... check it out.
I know you said playing style, don't worry about it, but I think you've misunderstood the purpose of a zero fret. The design of a zero fret isn't to reduce the effect of bending things sharp by excess pressure.

Zero frets are used primarily to allow for the lowest possible action at the first fret, without the hassle of cutting a nut slot to the correct height for each string, and also to give a more consistent tone between open notes and fretted notes.

The upshot of what you're describing is actually a side effect. Incorrectly cut not slots will place the strings too high above the fretboard at the nut. When you fret these guitars with too high nuts, you need more pressure to contact the string to the fret, and it must be stretched to do so, meaning the note will become sharp. A zero fret eliminates these problems because during a fret level, it is also levelled, and thus it matches the curvature of the fretboard perfectly, and is as low a starting point for the action as is physically possible without instant fretting out. Lower action means less string stretching, means less sharp notes towards the low end of the fretboard.

Of course, if manufacturers made their guitars with the nut slots cut correctly, this problem wouldn't even need correcting. Its not a fix, its just an easier way of achieving the same thing a correctly cut nut slot should anyway.

As for repeating you, I think you'll find what I actually did was expand upon and give reasons for the points of contention you mentioned. YOu never mentioned the reasons for your playing style causing what it does, so I explained it for the benefit of anyone who wasn't able to make the conclusion apparent themselves.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatsitoosit View Post
Anyway, I enjoy playing it and "trying" to get the Brian May sound (which requires a modded high end Vox AC30, volume on 10... with a treble booster and probably something else Brian left out to lead fanboys off track).
i believe that missing piece of the sound would be his own fingertips
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
I know you said playing style, don't worry about it, but I think you've misunderstood the purpose of a zero fret. The design of a zero fret isn't to reduce the effect of bending things sharp by excess pressure.

Zero frets are used primarily to allow for the lowest possible action at the first fret, without the hassle of cutting a nut slot to the correct height for each string, and also to give a more consistent tone between open notes and fretted notes.

The upshot of what you're describing is actually a side effect. Incorrectly cut not slots will place the strings too high above the fretboard at the nut. When you fret these guitars with too high nuts, you need more pressure to contact the string to the fret, and it must be stretched to do so, meaning the note will become sharp. A zero fret eliminates these problems because during a fret level, it is also levelled, and thus it matches the curvature of the fretboard perfectly, and is as low a starting point for the action as is physically possible without instant fretting out. Lower action means less string stretching, means less sharp notes towards the low end of the fretboard.

Of course, if manufacturers made their guitars with the nut slots cut correctly, this problem wouldn't even need correcting. Its not a fix, its just an easier way of achieving the same thing a correctly cut nut slot should anyway.

As for repeating you, I think you'll find what I actually did was expand upon and give reasons for the points of contention you mentioned. YOu never mentioned the reasons for your playing style causing what it does, so I explained it for the benefit of anyone who wasn't able to make the conclusion apparent themselves.
Very well, thanks for the explanation... the zero fret education was quite interesting.

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i believe that missing piece of the sound would be his own fingertips
lol... oh yeah, that too.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As a tangent to this thread....

My local music shop slashed the prices of Brian Mays Digitech signiture pedals to about 1/3, so i watched a few Youtube vids and thought that looks handy, fun and now its cheap.

I went to the shop, plugged an American Strat into the pedal and used the same model Amp i use at home..... what i heard was the biggest load of scratchiest sh!t ever! It sounded awful.

Lesson - Always try before buy if possible!!!!!!!!!! of course i bought a DD7 online from Taiwan knowing everything would be fine AND it WAS! lol!
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, I've read enough reviews on the Digitech to know to steer clear of it. How can you bottle his sound into a little piece of metal? his sound was the product of thousands of dollars worth of gear, the right type of room and, as Mr. Dave mentioned, his fingers
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