3/4 Scale Brian May Red Special Project

In 2013 and 2014 I modified a BMG Mini May 3/4 scale Brian May Red Special guitar. The project suffered from dramatic scope creep until the only component remaining of the original instrument was the truss rod! The end result is presented in the articles linked below noting that, unlike my other project pages, the dates represent when that event or phase of work was complete, not the date that I originally wrote the blog article.

Part 1: Introduction, 14 April 2013
Part 2: Hardware, 22 March 2013
Part 3: Body and Neck Design, 02 May 2013
Part 4: Body CNC Cut, 17 May 2013
Part 5: Aluminium Control Plate, 22 May 2013
Part 6: Electronics Assembly, 18 December 2014
Part 7: Test Assembly, 10 June 2013
Part 8: Neck CNC Cut, 27 September 2013
Part 9: Installing the Tremolo Fulcrum Plate, 04 March 2014
Part 10: Body Edge Binding, 23 May 2014
Part 11: Body Staining and Finishing, 07 June 2014
Part 12: Making the Ebony Fretboard, 07 June 2014
Part 13: The Finished Guitar, 07 January 2015


  • 19 inch scale, 75% size body inspired by the BMG Mini May
  • 7.25″ radius ebony fretboard with 4 mm diameter mother-of-pearl marker dots following the original pattern
  • Optima Gold 2028M 0.011-0.050 strings tuned to open F to give 81 lbs total tension
  • Brown bakelite nut fashioned from a vintage radio case; black bakelite truss rod cover
  • Authentic Red Special body and headstock shape
  • Burns Mini Tri-Sonic Red Special pickup set (neck: 7.20 kΩ, middle: 7.20 kΩ reverse polarity magnet, bridge: 7.85 kΩ DC resistances)
  • Custom made original Brian May style roller bridge
  • One piece solid mahogany body (with control cavity only) and original size white plastic binding
  • Copper foil lined control chamber
  • Original Brian May style tremolo tailpiece with shortened tremolo arm and authentic spring rate
  • One piece mahogany neck mounted with four polished M6 stainless steel hex bolts and stainless steel threaded inserts.
  • Jim Dunlop 6105 fretwire
  • Switchcraft jack socket
  • Custom made 75% scaled pickguard set, 3 mm gloss black acrylic
  • 5 mm wide, 1.75 mm thick pickup surrounds
  • Hand made KZ Super style aluminium switch mount plate
  • 6 Switchcraft 46200LRX series white pickup switches for on/off and in/out of phase switching
  • Schaller locking tuning heads with Gotoh style white pearloid tuning buttons
  • Custom made 3/4 scale aluminium skirted control knobs with knurled grips
  • Matched 250 kΩ Bourns volume and tone pots and 30.9 nF tone cut capacitor
  • Stained with a mix of Rustins red and brown mahogany penetrating wood dyes to emulate the original as closely as possible
  • Weight 2.58 kg (5 lb 11 oz) compared to 2.29 kg (5 lb 01 oz) for the modified BMG Mini May
A 1m 24s video compilation of some still images illustrating my 3/4 scale Brian May Red Special’s story set to the Queen track “Nevermore”.