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.

Treble Boosters

For the 100th distinct web page on and the 50th site blog post, I have published an article on one of the perennial topics of conversation in Brian May enthusiast circles: treble boosters:

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.

KAT Treble Booster Plush DIY Kit

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:

Information from Nigel’s website:

“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.”

Fryer Treble Booster Deluxe

New treble booster day: a beautiful deep purple Fryer Guitars Deluxe to complement my other purple gear. I thought that I didn’t need any more treble boosters, but I was evidently wrong; the tone of this one is certainly powerful, rich and fat, like a benign dictator of a country you’ve never heard of. Information reproduced from the Fryer Guitars website:

• 34 dB gain
• Punchy rich sound with a balance between fatness and treble definition
• Evokes the Brian May sound on late 1970s Queen albums News of the World and Jazz.
• Fattest sounding and most output level of the 3 Fryer ‘no knobs permanently plugged-in’ pedals TB Touring, TB Super and TB Deluxe.
• Uses the same harmonically rich sounding transistor as Treble Booster Super and Treble Booster Special pedals.
• Powered by either a 9 V battery or 9V DC adaptor (2.1 mm diameter negative centre jack, 100 mA or greater current capacity).

The hand made pre-production model is available until the screenprinted box version becomes available in late 2020. Price is $AU235.00 plus international shipping by Express Post International EMS (signature on delivery and tracking).

Brian May Guitars Treble Booster Classic

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:

Festive Season Good Wishes 2018/19

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2019 from DSGB. May you all receive quality music-themed socks and find better uses for treble booster effects pedals than I did.