Brian May Rig Replica Build

In late 2020, I was offered the opportunity to acquire a Brian May style live rig originally built for Andy Barnett by Nigel Knight of Knight Audio Technologies (KAT). The rig was contained in an SKB roto-molded 6U shallow rack case (model 1SKB-R6S) and consisted of the following 19″ rack units:

  • Dunlop DCR-2SR CryBaby Wah Wah (1)
  • TC Electronic G-Major 2 guitar effects processor (1)
  • Sennheiser wireless receivers (2)
  • Custom made KAT audio routing and MIDI switching master controller (1)
  • Custom made KAT wireless receiver switcher (1)
  • Canford power supply unit (1)

The rig was designed to work with a custom made KAT 24 way floor switching unit with amplifier muting and MIDI/effect pedals switching features. Also included was a KAT RED-18 strap mounted treble booster and all ancillary items including two Sennheiser EW 500 G2 bodypack transmitters and various heavy duty professional cables (some custom made) to connect all the units.

I bought a second G-Major 2 unit from a U.K. eBay seller for £150 as a spare in case the supplied unit developed an unrepairable defect in the future. To house the units, I ordered a custom made shock-mounted 19″ rack flight case with removable front and rear covers and top lid with a wheeled trolley from NSP Cases (The Flight Case Company) in the U.K. The YouTube video below covers the unboxing, assembly, connection and demonstration of the rig. Also featured in the video are my home made Brian May Red Special replica, a KAT Deacy replica amp and a 2001 model Vox AC30 TBX amplifier.

Brian May rig replica build video

Vox VBM-1 Brian May Special Amplifier

Launched in 2003 and retailing at US$199/£149, the Vox VBM-1 Brian May Special amplifier remains a popular choice for guitarists seeking to replicate Brian May’s signature tones at low volumes and on a limited budget despite being discontinued in 2005. It was designed to fulfil a specific purpose: to replicate the distinctive sounds of the legendary Deacy amp. Check out my latest musical equipment section article on this unit:

https://dsgb.net/gear/vox_vbm-1/

AmpliTube Brian May

IK Multimedia of Modena in Italy has released a Brian May collection for their industry-leading AmpliTube Custom Shop guitar amplifier and effects PC, MacOS and iOS modelling software in August 2019. Costing £99.99, it is available as download direct from the IK Multimedia and Brian May Guitars websites or the Apple stores.

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/brianmay
https://shop.brianmayguitars.co.uk/bmg-electronics/amplitube-brian-may-download.html

This emulation software is one of the cheapest and most straightforward ways to recreate many of Brian May’s tones, especially the complex three amplifier, twin delay Brighton Rock solo. It is ideal for quiet practice when used with a suitable interface such as the iRig HD2 and monitor headphones and as a travel outfit. Renowned professional guitarist Jamie Humphries helped develop the tone patches and you can watch him demonstrate the software on this official video: