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 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.
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:
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 fourth article for my musical equipment section covers the DigiTech Brian May Red Special pedal. It contains original photographs and PDF user manuals of this, and the other two DigiTech Artist’s Series pedals (Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton Crossroads), some additional photographs of the rack mounted version of this pedal that Nigel Knight built into Brian May’s back-up, touring and guesting rig, and an embedded demonstration video by Frank Campese.
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:
Thanks to Dan at http://www.mybadges.co.uk/ in Southampton, U.K. for these lovely purple celluloid metallic hot foil printed custom guitar picks. I have had a passing interest in graphic design since school, having studied art at GCSE level so launching this website offered the perfect opportunity to design a distinctive and meaningful logotype for myself. This is not as straightforward as it seems but it was the first activity I engaged in after registering the domain name with WordPress in October 2020.
My original idea was to use a simple circular theme to suggest an acoustic guitar sound hole and the decorative ring that usually adorns it. I also wanted to suggest guitar strings somehow so I selected a rounded, bold sans serif typeface that would work well with the circular theme and lend itself well to the filled double outline style. I realised that if I used the lower case four letter abbreviation for Doug Short Guitar Blog, the letters “d” and “b” would confer some symmetry on the logotype. Given that the letters “g” and “b” also represent Great Britain (U.K.) where I am based, I hoped that the overall appearance would evoke the roundel style thematic element used on the most iconic urban transportation system in the world, the London Underground.
I chose the colour simply because I find a wide range of hues on the purple part of the visible spectrum to be the most appealing. I actually prefer lilacs but not many objects (including clothes, cars, guitars, walls in your home) look tasteful in those hues!
The initial scoping was done using the excellent software utility Logo Design Studio Pro from SummitSoft. I then transferred to TurboCAD to design simplified and negative variants of the logotype for scaled down applications such as printing onto small items and for internet avatars. Although the simplified “white-on-purple” design loses the double-outlined suggestion of guitar strings element, I now prefer the boldness and simplicity of it to the original.