I cover some background information and restrict the discussion to three treble booster variants related to Brian May and Queen, the current 3-in-1 BMG Treble Booster Classic unit developed by Nigel Knight of Knight Audio Technologies for retail by Brian May Guitars, Brian’s KAT RED-18 strap-mounted treble booster and the Fryer Sound colour series (TB Touring, TB Plus, TB Super and TB Deluxe). There are embedded videos from Jamie Humphries demonstrating the Fryer treble boosters for Guitar Interactive and Frank Campese demonstrating the 70s setting of the BMG TB Classic.
The second article on the musical equipment section of this website contains some information on the replica Foxx phaser unit made by U.K. effects pedal builder, Nick James. It includes embedded links to two review videos, one from the U.K. 2019 enthusiast meet and one from Italian Queen tribute band guitarist, Marco G. di Marco. Check it out here:
In his latest YouTube video, Nigel Knight (the guy who does Brian May’s electronic work) demonstrates how to assemble one of his excellent KAT treble booster Plush kits. The video is speeded up for the impatient amongst us. It is a must watch for any electronics enthusiasts who are also into Brian May gear.
The KAT treble booster Plush kit can be obtained direct from KAT (Knight Audio Technologies) at £49.50:
“This is a full kit of parts that will enable an electronics beginner to build a very high quality KAT treble booster. The components provided are the best for the job in-hand. They are the same components used for the builds of many KAT treble boosters and Fryer Sound TB Touring, Deluxe and Plus. The circuit board has been specially designed for the kit so that the build can be easy with all components identified on the board. The case is the same powder-coated, silk-screened folded steel unit used for the TB Touring, Deluxe and Plus, so rugged, durable and yet, attractive. Sound-wise, this treble booster has been developed to emulate the 1980s era of Brian May’s tone with approximately 33 dB of gain, so think Queen from the late 70s through to the end. Think Wembley… Think Live Aid! So, what’s in the kit? Well, everything you need to successfully build the TB except for a few hand tools and a battery.”
Made in the U.K. and engineered by Brian May’s electronics guru, Nigel Knight, this compact, multi-mode treble booster pedal combines three uniquely-voiced circuits that faithfully replicate Brian’s most recognisable tones from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The tones representing each decade have been meticulously modelled on the actual vintage equipment used by Brian during each period of his career – his germanium transistor Dallas Rangemaster from the 1970s, the silicon BC149 transistor powered Cornish TB-83 installed on his pedal board throughout the 80s, and an original 1998 Greg Fryer strap booster.
Nigel Knight analysed every nuance of the original circuits to realise an authentic reproduction of their tonal responses and output profiles. This 3-in-1 treble booster provides amateur enthusiasts and professional guitar players alike the opportunity to select the distinctive sound of their favourite Queen era using a switch and level control based on the lathe-turned aluminium control knobs fitted to Brian’s Red Special guitar. Whether you seek to replicate the heavier Queen tracks such as Stone Cold Crazy, the live sounds of the 1986 Magic Tour or explore your own ‘New Horizons’ with Brian’s more recent works, this will be the only treble booster you will ever need. Available now from Brian May Guitars and Knight Audio Technologies: