Bushman Goes Guitar Shopping

Photos by MJ Klein

Lately I’ve been looking to expand my horizons.  I’m getting bored with the same thing, musically speaking.  Since my 1958 Epiphone has been unavailable, all I have been using for the past few years is a Fender Stratocaster that’s been highly modified.  I don’t really like the Strat and I’ve grown tired of it.

I wanted to get a guitar that wasn’t just the same old stuff made pretty.  There are a ton of absolutely gorgeous guitars that are basically all the same as far as capability goes.  They are mostly based on Fender or Gibson designs, and rather limited.  So, the choice was clear for me.  I had to get a Red Special.

Burns Brian May Guitars
I had made arrangements with a guitar shop boss down in Kaohsiung, to take a look at 2 different color.  Even though the sunburst looks great (on the right) I decided to go for the original color.  These are made by Burns London.

Burns Brian May Guitars
What makes this guitar so unique is the pickup choices and the electronics.   The Red Special uses 3 Burns Tri-sonic pickups, wired in series (as opposed to parallel in other guitars).  There are 3 slide switches for turning each pickup on and off, and 3 more switches for each pickup that reverse the phase.  This guitar has more settings than anything I’ve ever seen before.  Plus those great Queen sounds are all there too.  I can go from the searing solo on Bohemian Rhapsody to the heavy chords of We Will Rock You, with just a few switch changes.  The number of sounds and the outright versatility of this guitar are mindblowing.  I’m going to use this guitar on stage at the Taoyuan Stadium gig coming up on April 13. I’ll get some more photos of it soon.

Click here to read about the original Red Special.

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    1. cfimages » i heard something on YouTube with Eddie and Brian playing together. pretty interesting combination, and quite frankly, not one that i would have picked myself.

    1. cfimages » it’s remarkable because its Brian May singing with Roger and John, with a single guitar track. very smooth and creamy guitar tone too.

  1. Dude-I so avoid guitars and guitar shops because they are so frigging beautiful and awesome. This of course is way up there. Play it well my friend!

    Mark Forman’s last blog post..TaiChi Man

    1. Mark Forman » i was thinking that you are one of the friends that i would like to play this thing for. properly handled, it sounds amazingly like the original. i’ve been using my Mitutoyo to set up the pickup heights like Brian’s and so far it’s very close.

  2. Brunty »

    it would be my pleasure Brunty. i’ve been considering having the Fong Band play on my roof for a big spring party! unfortunately the only existing video these days is on my YouTube account. you’re welcome to check it out.

  3. AS a lifelong fan of Queen I have always wondered what owning a guitar like this may be like – I have heard the switches that control the pickups along with being able to go in and ou of phase is fantastic

    I will stick with my 5 selection pickup at the moment!

    1. Olly@Guitar Books » i have one of those guitars with the 5 position selector switches and i no longer play it. some positions on the Brian May guitar are redundant but the sounds are fantastic, nevertheless. it’s exceeded my expectations.

  4. For a long time I’ve looked at pictures of these Brian May guitars. They always looked a bit odd, but for some strange reason, looking at the pics you’ve posted here is giving me a serious change of heart.
    They’re quite positively beautiful.
    One word that comes to mind about Brian Mays guitar sound, and his choice of notes, is Majesty.
    Interesting that the band was called Queen.
    Do you know if those guitars are available in South Africa?
    I feel a need coming on.

    1. Andrew » they are odd at first. but after you play one for awhile you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.

      i’m sure the Brian May company will ship you one if there is no local dealer in your area. they’re pretty good guys.

      here is the URL for Brian May Guitars:

      let us know how you make out!

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