First of all, apologies about the delayed release of Brian May's Red Special refurbishment video. Seeing as this is a once in a lifetime chance, we've had a bit of a rethink, and Brian has agreed to help with a few facts and figures. The video series will probably be a series of four or five ten minute videos, and will document the whole process from disassembly to final polish. We're hoping to get the first instalment uploaded in the next couple of weeks....but please bear with us, we're terribly busy!
Many of you will have heard of electronics wiz Nigel Knight. Nigel is responsible for Brian's boosters, stage switching and also upkeep/upgrades of the original Red Special's electronics. A while ago, Nigel commissioned a luxury version of the Red Special. This included heavily figured Bubinga veneer, gold plated hardware, gold frets, gold fretboard inlays and of course, gold Optima strings. Other special requests were an Ebony fingerboard, gold toggle switches in place of the regular white slider switches and a slimmer (60's Gibson) neck. Last but not least, what gives the Ruby special it's name, a pair of Rubys set into the volume and tone knobs in place of the regular red indent. Will and I have filmed a short promo video on the guitar....see below. A full picture gallery will be on the website shortly.
Built as a one off for a serial Guyton guitar owner in the US. This guitar is a version of the limited edition Guyton 'Badger' guitar. This guitar features a carved Indian Rosewood top on an African Mahogany body. The neck is Indian Rosewood with an Ebony fingerboard bound in Indian Rosewood. The fingerboard inlays are Sterling silver with Ivoroid centres to match the body binding. Again, we've shot a small promotional video (see below), with a photo gallery coming very soon.
The 'Before' video.
A few months ago, I got the nod from Pete Malandrone and Brian May to carry out some restoration work on the original Red Special, see my previous blog post here.
During the work, Will and I filmed the process. The first short video is now online, and just chronicles part of the wear and tear that the guitar has sustained since being restored by Greg Fryer 19 years ago.
Just a taster at the moment, but the full video is coming out in September. I hope you all enjoy it.
Young Guitar magazine
Published last Wednesday (10th August) is the latest issue of Japanese magazine, Young Guitar. Inside there is a feature on Brian May and his guitars. Earlier last month they contacted me and we conducted an email interview about my history in guitar building and the guitars that I've built for Brian.
The RS Transporter
Since releasing the RS Transporter last Friday, I've been amazed at the positive reaction to the guitar. This has been backed up by a steady stream of orders. It seems to have really captured peoples imagination, and rather than going for the traditional red as the prototype, customers are specifying finishes that a little more 'out there' with metal flake and pearlescent colours. Roughly a third of the production run of 25 guitars are now spoken for, so if anyone is planning to order one, it may be wise to contact us fairly quickly to avoid disappointment.
On the RS Transporter page, there is a link to it's own website... www.guytonrstransporter.com. Some people seemed to have missed this, it's well worth a visit.
Very excited to announce another Brian May related limited edition guitar....The RS Transporter.
This guitar was designed by customer and Guyton RS owner, Martin Pitcher. As soon as I saw it, I loved it and knew that one day it had to be built.
We are releasing it as a limited edition of 25 guitars. Amazingly 6 are already spoken for. BM has given us his blessing on the project, his first words were, "I Love it and I want one!"
For full details click on the 'guitars' tab above and select 'The RS Transporter' this will take you to the promo video. Clicking on the button will 'transport' (sorry!) you to our sister site www.guytonrstransporter.com.
Below is the Youtube version of the promo....make sure your headphones are on and the volume is UP!
Over the next couple of weeks we have a few modifications to make before production begins. We are having new stainless rollers of our own design made to fit the JCustom bridge, as well as a new tremolo arm and spring.
The Youtube video was shot by myself and Martin Pitcher. Martin also took care of the editing and recorded the music track that is actually called 'Get Guyton'.
Below are a few behind the scenes pictures of the filming process.
It's been a while, but part 2 is now up! I've tried to cover most of the process, but due to time constraints and work pressures it wasn't always possible to spend the time to setup every stage. Make sure you watch it HD.
A mini restoration of the original Red Special.
During April I was called to Brian's home in Surrey, to survey wear and tear of the original Red Special and how I planned to carry out the repairs. Once there, it was decided that the guitar as a whole should undergo a 'mini' restoration. The only real problem with this was the time frame of 3 weeks.
The work involved filling all the cracks in the body, then flatting down and re-polishing. Repairing damage to the end and edge, and touching in of the fingerboard. Also, at the last minute, replacing one of the pearl dots that had become paper thin, and was hanging by the skin of it's teeth.
Various parts, including the tremolo and bridge assembly were removed, serviced, cleaned and lubricated before refitting. The last job was renewal of the zero fret. The last time this was done was around 10 years ago, and it has played many tours since.
Some time ago, cracks in the body had begun to let in dirt and moisture and whilst on tour, emergency measures in the shape of duct tape were used. Once the guitar had been disassembled, I had to carefully score with a scalpel, every crack on the front, rear and edges of the body. This was done so the ultra thin viscosity Cyanoacrylate glue would run through the cracks using capillary action. Once sealed the glue could then be built up to the surface ready for flatting down and polishing. The back of the guitar was in by far the worst condition, and ate up hours of painstaking work. The edge of the body had also taken quite a bashing when Brian holds his guitar aloft and the end of the show. The strap mounted booster and radio pack basically used to knock into the body causing the damage.
The fingerboard had also taken a fair bit of abuse, with large grooves worn into the end of the fingerboard between the last fret and the neck pickup. I repaired this firstly with black stain to the bare oak, then built a 'dam' around the damage with tape and filling this with epoxy resin. Once this had hardened it was filed and sanded to profile and sprayed to match the rest of the fingerboard.
While the repairs in the neck and body were curing, we cleaned the parts with brushes, wire wool, oil and wet and dry paper. While I was putting the finishing touched to the fingerboard ready for reassembly, one of the dots makers showed signs of cracking, when touching this with the point of a scalpel it literally fell apart, and in parts was only the thickness of a sheet of paper. Emergency phone calls to Pete and Brian followed, and it was decided to replace the old dot, with a 1.5mm thick new one.
During this time, Will and I filmed and photographed the entire process. I'm currently ploughing through what seems like hours of footage to try and make a short documentary of the mini restoration.
With a MASSIVE sense of relief, the Red Special went back to Brian last week, and is currently in rehearsals for forthcoming Queen & Adam Lambert shows.
The video may be some time, but until then, here are a few photos...
Due to time and workload, I will be unable to answer any questions at the moment, but there may be a FAQ section added later, if there is demand.
Guyton Red Special (RSR-18) is for sale.
Guyton RSR-18 is now up for sale through Guyton guitars. It was built 6 years ago and is the guitar that was featured in the Haynes book 'Build your own electric guitar' by Paul Balmer. It features heavily in the book alongside the genuine article. A copy of the book will also be included in the sale. There are also various pictures of Brian examining the guitar, these will be presented on a memory stick and supplied with the guitar. The leather-bound photo album has been signed by Brian and contains all documentation.
The pickups have been custom built by Adrian Turner using original 1960's Trisonic covers and magnets.
The guitar is in good overall condition. It has been played with a sixpence and shows the evidence on the pick guard and the end of the fingerboard. The guitar is in it's original white Calton case, again, signed by Brian. It will be given a full service and setup prior to sale. The scuffing to the pick guard and the fingerboard damage can be made new, but this has been left for the moment, as some people prefer the more authentic used look. Additional work and shipping will be price on application.
Part 2 of the Badger 'making of' series.
We're nearly there with this one. Work has been so busy, that editing has had to take a back seat. But, it's nearly done, I just need to put final touches to sound then it'll be up!
Part 3 is being filmed now!
I recently filmed the below clip for part 2 of the 'Badger' guitar build video. For those who are interested, I used Digislider's 2 axis camera slider to fire the camera and provide the panning. In total I took over 1200 photos that were then combined in Apple's excellent Final Cut Pro X. The full 'Part 2' video will be up soon...
Behind the scenes...
Guitar Interactive (www.iguitarmag.com) have just launched their latest issue (No.40) with a host of special features on Brian May and his guitars. As well as an in depth 2 part video interview with Brian himself, there is also an equally in depth 2 part video on Brian's touring guitars. Guyton guitars feature quite heavily in part 2.
Most of the work has been carried out by WWRY guitarist, Jamie Humphries, and he's done a sterling job, particularly with the relaxed interview with Brian. Don't forget, check out issue 40 of Guitar interactive on www.iguitarmag.com
See the video below for an excerpt of the main guitar rundown...
I've been meaning to update the blog for months now, but time has been scarce, and I have been especially busy with repairs as well as guitar building. As well as this entry, I shall be updating again tomorrow with another BM related post. Another 'Badger building of' video should be uploaded soon as well.
Swiss band, The Hectorz, using one of the ten Guyton Brian May 'green' special guitars. Great to see one being used for something other than Queen covers. Thanks to Chris the guitarist for permission to use this video.
I recently had the pleasure of working on another guitar for local band, The Darkness. The Guitar in question is a Gibson 3 pickup Les Paul that was originally built for Jimmy Page. Dan has now acquired the guitar and it was brought in by his guitar tech Ian for a replacement nut and a complete electrical overhaul. Beautiful thing!
I have updated the social media icons on the homepage. We now have Youtube and Instagram links to join the others. Please follow, like and subscribe. Content is a little thin on the ground at the moment, but I will be uploading some more content to the Youtube channel very shortly.
First of all to anyone who bothers to read my measly blog.....apologies for the lack of content. Work has been fiercely busy and I have been flat out with some new ideas.
It'll be the end of an era very shortly when the last two Red Specials leave the workshop. It's been many years since I started making the 50 guitars. I've learnt a lot of things. How to do certain things properly and also how NOT to do certain things. I've met and made friends with many interesting people. I've been asked more than once if I would ever tackle this again, and my answer is always YES..... but I would do it differently. Before anyone asks, I won't be making another run of Red Specials. They've run their course.
In the meantime, Will and I have been beavering away building the run of 5 Guyton BM 'Badger' guitars. We have had many great positive comments on the guitar thanks to Pete and Brian's glowing endorsements. Many of you will have seen the Brian May rig rundown video, but here it is again to refresh memories....
Great to see the Guyton green prototype there too!
Today I uploaded the first in a series of 'making of' videos featuring the 'Badger' guitar. I have always enjoyed shooting stills and video, but was unable to get my head around video editing software......until I rediscovered iMovie. Great software, no glitches or freezing, just works smoothly every time and is a breeze to use for an editing idiot like me. ;-)
Many thanks for all the kind comments regarding the video, and all the sharing done on social media. It's something I'm going to get more and more into as the months go by.
Please view the video below...
OK, new ideas! I've been working hard on something very special for the last 3 years. I can't say too much at the moment, but there has never been anything built quite like these guitars. They are going to be spectacular and a presentation will soon be making it's way to one of the biggest names on the planet! News will be very scarce for a while, but I will update as and when I can. VERY exciting!!