Each meeting Andrew attends, he tries to bring something exclusive along to treat those that are interested in Brian and the legacy. This time was no different. Before we arrived we stopped by Pete Malandrone’s to pick up Dr May’s Badger and newly acquired RS Transporter, designed by Martin Pitcher. Pete also lent us his ‘Pete Special’ Badger guitar too. As soon as the cases opened they quickly gathered attention with cameras snapping away and the brave ‘may I have ago?’ Of course we were delighted for everyone to strum away on these unique, one of a kind guitars that, belong to the man himself. That’s why we are all here. To show our appreciation.
Once Jon brought order to the proceedings we all sat down for a QnA session with Andrew Guyton and Martin Pitcher, in regards to the design and process of the RS Transporter, released earlier this year. Martin talked about his own issues with finding the perfect travel guitar during his trips to the East, realising that his travel guitar just couldn’t give him what his full size RS could. This got him thinking. Why can’t I have that full Brian May sound with a smaller body. I believe the idea had been floating around for a number of years with correspondence between Martin and Andy changing subtle details to get the guitar as accurate, but fundamentally different, as possible. It wasn’t until last year (2016) that we were able to present this idea to Brian himself, although only in paper form, but Dr May was blown away by the design and all too happy to see it come to life. The shape of the guitar is tribute to the ‘two triangle’ style Star Trek logo with the reversed horn lending to design and comfort whilst positioned on ones lap. This striking feature also houses the Treble Booster switch which lights up when in use. The circuitry is rather ground-breaking too. Designed by Nigel Knight to fit the route perfectly and save masses of wiring. More information can be found at www.guytonrstransporter.com.
Next we had another little treat prepared in the form of a video. A version of the Red Special Refurbishment. Complete with voice-over by Andy, purely for the meet up group only. At times the video was met with ‘ooo’s and ahhh’s’ especially when scalpel blades or sand paper was applied to the body. As you can imagine, with all the appreciation in the room for that special guitar, some of the refurbishment was horrifying to watch. But rest assured the master luthier Andrew brought this most amazing guitar back to its former glory and ready to tour for another 50 years. We have detailed the refurb work in a previous blog and we will release the film when perfected!
Once the formalities were out of the way it was time to make some noise. Kicking this off was Tom Jackson and his ‘one man band’ rig. Hugely impressive and neat set up, the power that rig has was expertly controlled by Tom, backed by master toy maker Nigel Knight. Its great to see a Red Special guitar used as a covers guitar as a posed to some of the more obvious choices available. The guitar sang loud and proud. Tom kicked off with his rendition of ‘Misirlou’ followed by a quick demonstration of the types of effects he has setup. A few members were allowed to get up close and change settings while Tom played, an unusual honour, before he finished his segment with a full rendition of ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince.
It was now time for all the members to jump on their Red Specials, test out each others gear, test the latest pedals and rig enhancements before the Queen jam commenced. Baby Alex did fantastically well considering the noise. He is definitely a Rock fan.
Back at the hotel there was enough time for a drink before we sat down for a group meal. The relaxed atmosphere made for great casual conversation about our stories with the Red Special, seeing Queen in the past and plans for the future. If you want to know anything about Queen, Brian May and the Red Special the combined knowledge of the group is immense. Endless facts about wear and tear, design changes, gigs, recordings you name it. Interesting design ideas popped up too, with a few potential orders being made. The legacy of this guitar will live on long after Brian May and Queen, thanks to this group of highly respectful individuals.