Burns Brian May Signature Reviews 5

Aquired from strings 'n' things, Bridgewater, Somerset. Cost 500

This guitar has a beautiful red cherry finish based on the original colour of Brian May's 'Red Special'. The neck is very playable with a Strat-like curvature and dot inlays with three dots instead of the conventional 2 at the twelth and 24th fret. There are also two 2 dot inlays at the 7th and 14th frets. The tonal quality of the guitar is fantastic as it has three Burns Tri-Sonic pickups, which can be switched on individually. The pickups are also wired in series and have an on/off phase switch. This guitar will produce exact Queen tones using a boosted AC30 or by tweaking an FX pedal with a good amp simulator. The floating tremolo (similar to that of a strat) stays in tune very well though extreme dive-bombing can cause a little tuning problem. The arm is innovative as it is bent allowing you to play solo's and chords, whilst being in contact with the trem. the arm also slots straight into the trem unit. Another nice touch is Brian May's signature adorning the headstock, which holds the locking Grover tuners. These allow you to lock onto a string by pushing it straight through the hole and tightening the knob.

I changed the strings to 9's when I first purchased the guitar and this caused a few problems The trem became tight and most of the strings started to buzz in the first fret. However, with most trem set guitars the truss rod could be adjusted along with the trem to set it up for any string set up. The frets also tend to get a bit tight in the higher ranges but this just requires more accuracy in your playing, like the man himself.

The construction of the body is solid Basswood with acoustic chambers inside, identical to those of Brian May's original Red Special. The cherry-wood finish of the body, back of the neck and headstock is excellent and makes the guitar look the business. The neck is made from hard rock maple, with a solidy ebony fingerboard. The guitar has a 24" scale next with 24 frets and a zero fret. The shaping is interesting with curved A-symmetrical cut-aways, allowing access up to the higher notes.

This guitar is great value as you can create great tones by individually selecting pickups and using the phase on/off. The pickup switches are a bit of a challenge at first but once you're used to them you can create any tone you want, from a harsh twang to a smooth jazzy sound. If you're an avid Queen fan this is the guitar for you. From Bohemian Rhapsody to Crazy Little Thing called love, you've got it covered. The appearance is great along with the unusual shape and massive cut-aways from the body. If you need versatility buy this beauty cos' believe me they're selling like hot cakes!

Tim B. rated this unit 5 on 2003-01-10.

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