NGD B M G Red Special

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Tsukiyomi, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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    Well the day has arrived here that I wasn't sure ever would. Regular readers will know (because I often go on about it) that back in 1994 I bought one of the 1,000 Guild BM-01 Red Special models. At the time that was the high-end Brian May copy. She served me faithfully in everything from a Queen covers band to my own recordings and gigs until I eventually had to sell her to fund my move to the States.
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    I've always regretted letting that guitar go - I saved for months to be able to afford it in the first place and even on the day I bought her the guys in the music shop were trying to talk me into buying two Les Pauls instead (yes, that's how much it cost back then).

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    Now, after being almost GAS-free since buying my Gretsch a year ago, I've started looking at the new Red Specials. For a while they were made by Burns before Brian set up his own company (overseen by his long-time guitar tech, Pete Malandrone). There's been talk that these were being discontinued, so when one popped up on Musicians Friend last week in used, Grade 1 Mint condition for $200 less than the new price, I jumped. (Actually it turns out after calling MF that the only 'flaw' with this was that the outer of the two boxes had a dent in the corner. Their loss was my gain!)

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    I won't do a full review - most people who know guitars know at least something about the Red Special, and while this isn't as faithful a reproduction as either my old Guild or the $5,000 top-of-the-line model Brian's currently putting out, it scratches an old itch. The video below says more than I ever could about these guitars:



    It's a wide neck, with a D-shaped 50's LP feel and 45mm nut and the ebony fretboard has a 9.8" radius but the neck's width makes it feel flatter (it's very comfortable to play though). 24 frets, 24" scale length, so the stock 9's feel almost like 8's. The switching system does take some getting used to, although having owned the original for years, it only took me a minute or two to get back into the setup here.

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    Fit and finish are incredible without a single flaw anywhere that I've seen. The binding is perfect and there isn't a mark, chip or bubble anywhere at all. Volume and Tone pots are smooth and responsive, again like the original, and it's easy to go from the full roar to articulate cleans using just the volume alone.

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  2. Mark W

    Mark W Well-Known Member

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    Really cool git. Love the binding job. HNGD!
     
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  3. backinit

    backinit Well-Known Member

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    Damn sweet, Billy.
    Love it.
     
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  4. msc_

    msc_ Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I'm really happy for you. You've been wanting another Red Special for ages. Congratulations!!!
     
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  5. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks gents :) Yeah, this was really always my dream guitar and as I said, my huge regret was having to sell the old one, even though the pros outweighed the cons (hot wife, beautiful daughter...) but between this and the Gretsch I really can say my GAS (well, guitar-based) is all but taken care of. Even though I've been a fan of Queen since I was a kid, this does so much more than any other guitar for me.

    Besides, now I can start looking at pedals again :p
     
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  6. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Yesssss. I needs one. Congrats!!!
     
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  7. uwmcscott

    uwmcscott AGF Survivor Champ

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    Very, very cool guitar, congrats!
     
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  8. LessPawl

    LessPawl Well-Known Member Supporting Member+ Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice find man. That one is available in lefty too, I think? I'm outta GAS though. HNGD, enjoy
     
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  9. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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    Yep, they're available as lefties although I've never seen one other than on music store websites. What's cool is that they don't charge extra for the left handed option (y)
     
  10. LessPawl

    LessPawl Well-Known Member Supporting Member+ Gold Supporting Member

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    MF usually has them.. They are cool looking guitars. Hope you enjoy yours a bunch. :)

     
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  11. Rokdog

    Rokdog Well-Known Member

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    it's nice to bring an old flame back into your life...when the timings right
    HNGD !!
     
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  12. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    Billy you amaze me!
    That is a guitar I'd never heard of prior to this thread!
    HNGD!
     
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  13. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Well-Known Member AGF Registered Dealer

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    Rad Special = 100% win!

    clipz!
     
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  14. Frankenfretter

    Frankenfretter Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Very nice. Congratulations, Billy!
    Are the pickups fairly comparable to the actual Tri-sonics?
    I love that guitar, although I'm not a big fan of thick necks (with some exceptions).
     
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  15. Spike

    Spike Well-Known Member

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    Very nice! Congrats.
     
  16. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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    You didn't know the Red Special? I really think you'd like it with that wider neck and acoustic chambers (it's actually second only to the Gretsch & Douglas in terms of unplugged volume), plus there's no excuse for not trying one out in GC since there are lefties ;)

    To give you a little more info (and to answer @Frankenfretter), the pickups actually sound closer to Brian's than my old Guild ones did. It's not a night & day difference, but if my Guild had about 90% of Brian's sound, these have about 95% - they're maybe slighly more organic and less clinical than on the old guitar if that makes sense. What I can say is that having seen Queen twice and also Brian as a solo act several times, I can get close enough to any of his sounds to make a layman think it's the same guitar. A Queen aficionado would probably spot the difference straight away, but I'd do a Coke vs Pepsi blindfold test on this most days of the week.

    Here's a clip of Brian playing this model, taken from the website:


    So while this doesn't quite have all of the sound and definition of Brian's RS, for me it's near enough, especially considering it's a sub-$1,000 guitar while his is pretty much priceless.

    And for those who don't know the ins and outs of the Red Special, here is an old video (God, I remember buying this on VHS!) but this new guitar gets me as near to these sounds as I'll ever need.

     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
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  17. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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    Something I'm liking about this guitar is when I compare it to my old one it's almost like an AL2k v 3k thing. This one is like a stripped down, no nonsense version but oddly enough I prefer it (which is just as well, it softens the blow of never owning the Guild again, haha).

    Oh and going back to the sound, here's a guy who can do it a lot more justice than I can:

     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  18. Daren lomas

    Daren lomas New Member

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    It's a very well made guitar, but as it's drawbacks that you need to be aware of
    It's slightly kneck heavy, awkward to play sitting down, there's not much adjustment in the saddles if you want to float the bridge high enough to pull up a tone and a half, the strings fan out a little through the nut, they should be straight as to Brian's original design, I find the strings choke out due to the small radius , over all though it looks well made, happy with mine
     
  19. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    Zombie resurrection alert!
     
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  20. Tsukiyomi

    Tsukiyomi Well-Known Member

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