Announcing “The BMG Arielle” guitar from Brian May Guitars
Availability : Released 28/03/2021
“Arielle’s playing reaches places I never knew existed
– I believe this guitar will do the same.”
Dr. Brian May • January 2021
Dr. Brian May and Brian May Guitars are delighted to present a brand new addition to the BMG line for 2021, the result of a fresh collaboration with American singer, songwriter and guitarist Arielle and the first original build that the Queen virtuoso has actively contributed to since he and his father embarked on the construction of the Red Special almost 60 years ago. Inspired by Arielle’s own BM-influenced ‘Two-Tone’ guitar and designed from the ground up by the two musicians as a competitively priced counterpart to the best-selling BMG Special, this exceptional instrument has been brought to vivid life by the House Music team to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their successful ongoing partnership with Brian May.
“This is the very first guitar that Brian May guitars has ever offered that is not based on my original Red Special. Designed by, and named after, Arielle, it’s a new dimension. To understand why this guitar was irresistible to me, you have to hold her in your hands. She’s light, smooth, agile, and… she sings like a bird!”
The new model takes its cue from Arielle’s affection for classic 20th century guitar design, rocking a sleek, retro-futuristic look, striking orange and blue livery, distinctive raised centre-strip, vintage two-piece pickguard, chrome hardware and contrasting switch plate, alongside choice elements from Dr. May’s storied, homespun creation – the distinctive 3-a-side headstock, familiar 24″ scale, a trio of series wound, Tri-Sonic style pickups, and his famous phase switching system.
The result is an instant modern classic. “The Red Special in a parallel universe”, as the maestro proudly proclaims, takes Arielle’s novel design to a whole new level and, of course, infused with a liberal dose of RS DNA, delivers everything one should rightfully expect from a Brian May Guitar – impeccable design, superior quality, pro-spec construction, exceptional playability, and devastating tonal dexterity.
Striking Body Design
The flamboyant, asymmetric angles of the Arielle’s lightweight body, at once timeless and forward thinking, clearly pay homage to radical American automotive and electric guitar designs of the 1950s and ’60s, with a distinctive raised centre strip increasing the body mass for enhanced sustain and resonance and a split, 3-ply parchment pickguard and eye-catching, two-tone diagonal finish completing the cool, vintage look.
The solid body is constructed from Limba (aka ‘Korina’ by which it is more commonly known within the US luthier community). In keeping with Arielle and Dr. May’s keen interest in utilizing sustainable sources, the use of this attractive African tonewood recognizes the importance and success of worldwide conservation programs; although considered severely threatened by over-exploitation in the first half of the last century, concerted efforts to preserve the species have seen Limba flourish well beyond its natural rainforest habitat, making its way into savannah areas and even penetrating regional evergreen forests.
24″ Scale Mahogany
Neck Employing the short 24″ scale favoured by Brian on the original Red Special, the one piece mahogany neck, in perfect balance with the lightweight body, has been engineered with a decidedly contemporary feel, featuring a generous 45mm nut width, comfortably spacious profile, and wonderfully smooth 24 fret ebony fingerboard with Arielle’s choice of abalone diamond snowflake inlays in the traditional BM pattern.
BMG Tri-Sonic Style Pickups
Like the best-selling Special, the BMG Arielle features three BM branded Tri-Sonic style single coil pickups. These modern replicas of the vintage ’60s Burns units so fundamental to the Red Special’s powerful and distinctive sonic character feature the same series wiring, retro-styling and magnet alignment as the original.
BM Switching System
Following Arielle’s exacting specifications, the unique Brian May design switch system is provided by industry leading electronics specialists Shin Chin. The six black DPDT switches, featuring high quality, silver-plated brass contacts and mounted on a 3-ply black control plate, engage each pickup individually as well as providing dedicated phase reversal, a familiar configuration that gives the BMG Arielle the same astonishing tonal dexterity as the original Red Special itself.
Volume and tone are controlled by 250k pots with a Sprague 0.033μF ‘Orange Drop’ film capacitor delivering exceptional sonic purity, a nuanced tonal roll-off sweep and, with individual pickups or selected pairings, a pleasingly warm response, without getting too muddy or bright.
Wilkinson WVP Tremolo Bridge
Continuing BMG’s long association with veteran British engineer Trevor Wilkinson, the Arielle is fitted with his acclaimed WVP 2-point tremolo, a vintage-flavored variant of the unit used on the BMG Special. With a modern, friction-free design offering one of the smoothest actions of any fulcrum vibrato currently available coupled with a sleek, low-profile surround to eliminate lateral saddle movement, the WVP offers superior comfort, stability and performance.
Additional features include a stamped steel, heat hardened top plate, solid stainless steel saddles, and a “stagger-drilled” solid steel sustain block that provides unrivalled tuning stability, ensures easy and accurate intonation adjustment and improves overall sustain, brightness and top end, resulting in a more expansive, sharper tone.
The distinctive BM style headstock sports Grover 406 Mini-Locking Rotomatic® tuners, making re-stringing a breeze and ensuring rock-solid tuning stability, even with lots of vibrato and string bends
These superb, machine heads feature compact metal knobs with adjustable tension, an 18:1 gear ratio for fine tuning, lifetime sealed lubrication and Grover’s ingenious internal “Locking Cam” string post that automatically secure the strings as they are brought to pitch.
Playability & Sounds
Versatile and bold, the heart of the sound is round, wide, warm and rich, with clean, clear highs and crisp note articulation. Eminently capable of authentically delivering the hardest of rock or the most intimate dream pop shimmer, the Arielle has clearly been engineered to be a brilliant, one-stop stage and studio workhorse.
For blues and roots styles, there is a pleasing presence and a tight, focused bass response whilst jazz players and country pickers will love the chiming clarity and twang, especially on out-of-phase settings, and the smooth, hollow tone of the neck pickup. Cranking up the gain, combining two or more pickups in phase, the broad Tri-Sonic response and resonant Limba body give crunch chords ample room to breathe and allow lead licks and solos to project clearly and powerfully.
With a fast, modern radius neck, inviting 24″ scale, a body shape that is comfortable and balanced whether sitting or standing, and a responsive, diverse tonal palette, this is an instrument designed to an endlessly rewarding joy to perform with.