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Featuring the SGL "Red Special" Replica


Custom Gallery 1
Red Special
Burns Red Special Trem Conversion



I was commissioned to build this very close replica of Brian May's " Red Special" which is now completed!

The neck blank, marked out, planed and ready for the truss rod installation.

The neck blank with the truss rod installed. Next job... the fingerboard installation.

Fingerboard installed and trimmed. And the neck joint cut to fit tightly at a 2 degree angle to the body. The cutouts are to accomodate the pickups.

The body, made up from two layers of blockboard as the original model was.

Another quick check of the plans!
The tremolo and roller bridge units were custom made to be as close to the original as possible.
Another view showing the all the details! I experimented with several styles of nuts and bolts including allen bolts as shown in the next picture. Hex head bolts were eventually used which were closer in style to those used in the original.

The centre core is made from oak and machined to take the custom built replica tremolo of Brian May's original design. It was difficult to come up with an arrangement which would allow the trem to be removed for future servicing or repairs. The original oak block was I think, a bit shorter with the arc cut into the body rather than the oak!... Well next time!

My version of the oak core utilises just a single piece of oak rather than the two layers necessary for fitting the trem. I found what I believe to be a better way of embedding the trem anchor into the oak.
The oak core is glued in and the top and back mahogany venneers are prepared and fitted. Then routed out to accept the pickups and tremolo
The neck is cut to fit flush with the veneer.
The fretboard is shaped and slotted...
...and the nut and zero fret positions cut.
The edge binding is prepared....
... and tested.
Then glued in place, followed by the body binding.
After this shot was taken, the dot markers and frets were installed, the fretboard masked off and the guitar is finished and awaiting the paint shop!
Using a similar... and unusual preparation technique as used by Pensa Suhr Guitars, about a dozen high-build coats of polyester laquer are applied until a rich deep lustre is obtained... straight from the gun. Note that I prefer to drill the machinehead holes AFTER the paint goes on!
Because the laquer is of a "high build" type and the neck slot in the body will need to be trimmed a smidge for a nice snug fit

Go on... dive in!

And yes, the reflection of self was deliberate!

I think I managed to get the colour matched to the original VERY closely, unkile many of the replicas I have seen... particularly the Burns models. It is in fact hardly red at all, it's more like an orangey-brown. I compared dozens of pics of the original taken under many different types of light and averaged them out (erring towards what I thought looked like the most natural one according to light reflection from the hardware etc.)

Well... this is the finished model.

As I have been inundated with requests to put the picyures up, there are still a few finishing touches and alterations necessary to bring the guitar to a more accurate completion (which you may or may not notice!), they will be dealt with in due course.

I am working on a replacement scratchplate and pickup surrounds as the ones fitted do not fit around the bridge and neck in quite the right way. The curve around the trem arm needs to be slightly different too.

This view shows the custom made roller/bridge, tremolo, knobs and pickups to good effect.

The experts amongst you might notice that the fretboard is made of rosewood rather than black-painted oak as on the original. Initially I had not intended to build this model to be totally authentic down to the last detail and the rosewood was used as on one of the Greg Fryer replicas made for Brian.

This shot shows a close up of the fretwork, type of neck joint and binding
The rear of the headstock. The machineheads are the wrong type at the moment and will have to be changed when I can source the correct ones... (3 X side Schaller locking -mini tuners)
A close up again of the roller bridge system and the pickups
The custom made Trisonic pickups.
The headstock showing the virtually straight string pull through the nut to the machineheads. The nut is a "Tusq" one from Graphtech (NOT from animal tusk!) which is not the correct colour of the original bakelite one but is much more efficient.
This picture shows the quirky bolt affair that holds the neck into the body as on Brians original guitar

Another close shot of the bridge and pickups.

CLICK HERE to go to Burns RS Conversion Page

I have recently designed and completed a conversion part that allows the trem/rollerbridge assembly as shown above to be retro fitted into a Burns Red Special copy without having to remove the top of the guitar and re-veneer and re-finish it!

The conversion unit on the right replaces two parts from the bridge/trem assembly shown near the top of this page.

The current specifications are considerably closer to the original than the guitar shown and are available with any modifications or variations specified by the customer.

Replica Red Special guitar - £3,950

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