As the year comes to a close, we learn that Dr Brian Harold May, C.B.E., musician, songwriter and animal welfare advocate has received a richly deserved knighthood in the New Year honours list for services to music and charity and becomes Dr Sir Brian Harold May C.B.E. The full citation is included below.
I would like to thank you for supporting Doug Short Guitar Blog by visting this website, watching my YouTube videos and subscribing to my YouTube channel. I have produced 17 videos this year to augment the traditional words and pictures style of dsgb.net and present Brian May guitar and equipment related content via a more engaging medium. Most of these have been technically challenging to produce and some (BHMOHM and Tri-Sonic pick-ups, Deacy amp for example) have required investment amounting to a few hundred pounds on top of the US$100 per annum cost of keeping dsgb.net on line so please help me sustain this endeavour by liking and subscribing. I will consider an equipment giveaway if you can help me reach and maintain the 1,000 subscriber/4,000 watch hours milestone to join the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP). I have also populated my Pinterest and Instagram accounts with photographs from project activities and events I attended so please check them out too.
Looking at the year in numbers, dsgb.net has been on line for two years and had 16,650 visitors and 95,500 views in 2022 representing 48% and 92% increases respectively over calendar year 2021. I am very pleased with this growth for what is a niche interest website. My YouTube channel has grown from 360 to 791 subscribers enjoying 125,227 views and 4,319 watch hours. After a much-needed seasonal break from my main line of work developing and delivering simulator training at EDF Energy’s Torness nuclear power plant, the main challenges for 2023 are to first complete the series of three videos on building a Deacy amp replica and then realise other ideas to give fresh insights into, and inspire others to start their own Brian May related guitar and equipment projects.
In part two of a series of three videos about making a replica of Brian May’s legendary Deacy amplifier, I unbox the Knight Audio Technologies (KAT) custom kit of electronic components and assemble it, discussing the characteristics of key components such as the transformers as I progress. The video duration is 21 minutes.
In part one of a series of three videos about making a replica of Brian May’s legendary Deacy amplifier, I briefly discuss the origins of the Deacy amp circuit (salvaged from a vintage transistor radio that John Deacon found in a London dumpster in 1971) and what Queen tracks Brian used it to record on. I then move on to talk about the new Knight Audio Technologies (KAT) amplifier board kit and the other component parts required including suitable vintage and modern woofer and tweeter loudspeakers and the cabinet itself. I finish by introducing the only official Deacy amplifier replica which was made by Knight Audio Technologies between 2011 and 2019.
The one we have all been waiting for is finally here. Live at 19.00 on Saturday, 5th November 2022, Red Special Guitar Podcast host Jon Underhill brings us an intimate discussion with Queen guitar legend, astronomer, animal rights campaigner and stereoscopic photographer, Dr Brian May. Watch, listen, enjoy and show your support for Jon’s endeavours by liking, commenting and subscribing to The RSGP on its various platforms.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral on 8th September 2022 aged 96. She was always there for all 48 years of my life, a colossus of a human being who embodied all the best British values including politeness, tolerance and respect for others and good humour. God Save The Queen. Long Live The King. https://www.royal.uk/
The 2022 gathering of Brian May Red Special enthusiasts in the U.K. is imminent. Jon Underhill, host of The Red Special Podcast will welcome us once more to Theale Village Hall near Reading on Saturday, 8th October from 10 am to 5.30 pm. A number of participants will be flying in from the USA this year and we are sure to have the usual representatives from the U.K. and Europe (the continent, not the rock band) including Sweden and The Netherlands. No matter whether your interest is primarily in Brian’s music, building or playing his guitars, amplifiers and other equipment, there will be something of interest to see, hear and chat to other knowledgeable people about.
The schedule is not promulgated to avoid the disappointment of broken promises and dashed expectations in case guests or equipment are unavailable at the last minute but I can tell you that Jon has lined up some interesting people to interview and demonstrate a variety of Brian May related gear. I will be attending and staying at the Hilton Reading on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October. I will bring my Red Special replica, at least one KAT Studio-One amplifier and my purple Guyton RS Transporter if Andy Guyton has fitted its new carbon fibre pickguard. I might also bring a copy of The Red Special book and some metallic Sharpie markers on the off-chance that I can get it signed by one or both of the authors.
In 1963, because they could not afford to buy a suitable instrument, Brian May and his father Harold took an innovative and practical approach to designing a new type of electric guitar. Later dubbed “The Red Special”, neither of them could have predicted that ten years later it would become as famous as Brian himself. In this video, I explore an urban myth in the Brian May Red Special enthusiast community that they drew around various household objects to form the basic outline and features of the guitar. Like all good urban myths, it might have an element of truth to it so watch the video and decide for yourself.
I made the embedded video below in June 2022 to accompany the FAQ on Tri-Sonic pickups. It is 22 minutes long and covers Tri-Sonic pickups in depth. I take a look inside an early 1960s vintage pot magnet style Burns Tri-Sonic pickup and compare and contrast vintage and modern variants. I discuss the characteristics of the specific set fitted to Brian May’s Red Special guitar with reference to a replica set made by Ade Turner of Adeson Pickups.
I demonstrate two methods for engraving the chrome plated brass cover then wind a bobbinless Tri-Sonic style coil on my Stepcraft 2/840 CNC machine using a custom made former to my own unique design. Finally, I assemble all the component parts of a Tri-Sonic pickup and measure its DC resistance and inductance using a Peak Atlas LCR45 meter.
Before he fitted the three Burns Tri-Sonic pickups to his Red Special guitar which feature in all Queen recordings and live concerts, Brian made his own pickups with his father Harold’s guidance. He discussed them in an interview with Simon Bradley for the Red Special book in which they featured in Chapter 6: Revisiting The Past. You can read the transcript on the official Red Special website which is maintained by Simon:
I recently completed a project to make a replica set of these pickups following Brian’s original design sketch but winding them to try to achieve similar DC resistance (7.0-7.4 kOhm) and inductance (2.0-2.3 H) to a typical vintage Tri-Sonic pickup. I made a 17 minute video covering the project in which I discuss the pickups and wind one using my Stepcraft 2/840 CNC machine and small AC industrial milling spindle. The only additional piece of equipment I bought was a magnetic wire tensioner.
There is more information and some images in the article in my FAQ section here: