2023 US Red Special Meet-up (Phoenix, AZ)

The 2023 US Brian May Red Special enthusiast meet-up is happening on Saturday, 29 April at the Linger Longer Lounge, 6522 N 16th Street #6, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Organized once more by Luke Holwerda, it will build on the success of the 2022 event with more space at the venue and more equipment to see, hear and test out. The entry fee is US$25 which includes a unique commemorative sixpence coin, name badge and meal.

Event merchandise is available here:

Brian May Treble Boosters: Varieties, How They Work + Build Your Own KAT Plush Kit

In my latest YouTube video I explain how treble booster effects pedals work and why you need one if you want to emulate Brian May’s distinctive Queen live and studio tones. I show you eight variants associated with Brian May then assemble a KAT Treble Booster Plush kit. The video duration is 16m 41s and is divided into two parts and thirty chapters.

Vox Brian May Signature Series

Launched in April 2023, Brian May and Vox amplification have collaborated to make his iconic tone accessible to all with a new amPlug guitar headphone amplifier at £54.99 and MV50 portable amplifier head unit at £259.

Two special edition sets are available consisting of the amPlug set at £149 and MV50 set at £419.

amPlug Set

The amPlug Brian May weighs in at only 40 grams and features a range of Queen backing rhythms, including the We Will Rock You stomps and claps. A Brighton Rock setting with tap tempo recreates Brian’s distinctive twin delay canon effect while the phaser accesses the tone heard on Keep Yourself Alive. Finally, there is a stereo chorus for lush go-to Brian May tones.

The amPlug and accompanying speaker (itself weighing only 260 grams) form a mini half-stack if the guitar is plugged in via a standard jack cable. Alternatively the amPlug can be used as a headphone amplifier, compatible with any set of standard headphones with a 3.5 mm jack. Using two AAA batteries, the amPlug Brian May has up to 15 hours of battery life (accompanying cabinet up to 12 hours with 9V battery).

MV50 Amplifier Head and Cabinet Set

With a combined weight of less than 5 kg (head 540 g, cabinet 3.9 kg), the MV50 Brian May is based on the MV50 circuitry and AC30 tone, but with the addition of a KAT (Knight Audio Technologies) treble booster which can be switched in or out of circuit. The control panel features gain, tone and volume controls and an EQ switch that can be switched between “flat” for larger speaker cabinets and “deep” for smaller cabinets. When combined with its matching speaker cabinet, the MV50 produces a 25 W output at 8 Ohms. The MV50 Brian May’s headphone/line out also features speaker emulation, offering the option of recording directly from the amp head without needing to mic up the cabinet.

“It’s perfect for any smaller show, and if you want to put a mic in front of it, it’ll do for your big gigs as well. I wouldn’t mind going on some future stadium gig and seeing how this shapes up.”

Dr Sir Brian May CBE

Brian May Guitar Pickguard Inlays – MayStar and Badger

My latest YouTube video covers designing, CNC cutting and inlaying the two mother of pearl motifs on the pickguards of Brian May’s famous Red Special guitar and his arch top semi-acoustic guitar made by Andrew Guyton of Guyton guitars. I demonstrate the process of gluing them into 2″ diameter black acrylic discs using black cyanoacrylate superglue. Duration is 7m 20s.

2022 Annual Review and Dr Sir Brian Harold May C.B.E.

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.

Brian May is an acclaimed musician and songwriter, founding member of the rock group Queen. In 2020 he was named Greatest Guitarist of All Time by Total Guitar Magazine. Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 is acknowledged as the greatest live set in history. Brian famously opened the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002 performing live on Buckingham Palace roof – and 20 years later returned to open the Platinum Jubilee concert atop the Victoria Monument. He is also an accomplished astrophysicist, now attached as stereoscopist to many NASA space exploration teams. He re-established the London Stereoscopic Company in 2008, was co-founder of Asteroid Day in 2015, for the protection of Earth from asteroid strikes, and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008-2013. His work defending Britain’s wild animals led him to found the Save-Me Trust in 2009, which is his continuing passion, campaigning for the rights of foxes and badgers, and hosting an active wild-life rescue operation.

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 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 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, 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.

Brian May Deacy Amplifier Build Project Part 2 – Circuit Board Assembly

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.

Brian May Deacy Amplifier Build Project Part 1 – Introduction

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.

Brian May Red Special Guitar Podcast

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 1926 – 2022

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.