The Queen guitarist’s main instrument – that he used on all but two of the band’s recordings – is one of rock’s most iconic squeezes and the fact that he and his father made the entire thing virtually from scratch in a shed at the bottom of the family garden almost beggars belief.
Fans had been reduced to putting together their own versions of what is affectionately known as the Red Special, and with widely differing results. Brian actually has a small collection of the better submissions at his home, but the world was crying out for an official model.
May had dallied with the likes of Guild and Burns, who produced the first BM signatures at a number of price points to rave reviews before the relationships turned sour (something about inconsistencies in quality), and finally, in 2004, the fully sanctioned guitar hit the streets.
Loaded with the same TriSonic pickups and switching system as the original, it’s very close to the Red Special in both tone and feel, even though it boasts a slightly slimmer neck and modernised vibrato.
The incarnation with the Antique Cherry finish is easily the most authentic, but maybe think twice before opting for the all-black Metal May.