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Introduction
In June 2003, on the back of restoration work I had done for Brian on his first guitar, I was asked by Pete Malandrone whether Iíd be interested in making authentic replicas of the famous ĎRed Specialí. As opportunities like this happen literally once in a lifetime, I agreed, and with Brians full consent, we set a date when I should return and measure the original guitar.

Early August saw me return to Brianís home for an intensive 2 days of measuring and examining of the ĎRed Specialí. At first this was incredibly nerve racking, not only had this guitar featured on some of the worlds best loved and revered music, but it was the only one of itís kind, making it the rarest, and possibly one of the most valuable guitars in the world. But with Petes help, I soon settled into the task in hand.

After 2 days of measuring, drawing and taking photos, I was confident I had enough information to construct my own replica. Armed with this information, I set about drawing every part. This took a considerable amount of time, not only did all the parts have to look right they also had to work together in the correct manner. But still, one thing was missingÖ one thing that no matter how many measurements and photos I took, I could not get, and that was the size and shape of the internal cavities, bearing in mind that Brian and his father Harold had designed these cavities so that they would give just the right amount of musical sustain and feedback.

This is where Pete stepped in and arranged for the guitar to be x-rayed at St.Barts hospital in London. With this new information. My aim was to make possibly the closest replica yet, not only had the x-rays shown the size and shape of the cavities, they also showed the method of securing the knife-edge and body and neck construction that simply hadnít been available by general examination of the guitar.

Before I started the build of the guitars, Brian and Pete had said that this was to be a special limited edition, so we agreed on producing 50 guitars, 40 in red, to commemorate itís 40th birthday, and a further 10 in green, for no other reason that I had seen a green Guild BM, and thought it looked fabulous, so thought it might good to do the remaining 10 in this colour.

With the drawings and spec complete, I set to work making the two planned prototypes. This generally went very well, but because of their complex construction, and having to employ techniques I was not familiar with, they did throw up the occasional challenge or two. By Christmas 2003, the bulk of the work was complete. The bodies and necks had been made and lacquered, all the parts had been machined, and all that was left to do was to polish the guitars and assemble them. With the guitars finally complete, it was time to pack the guitars away in their cases and gain Brians approval. So in the middle of January, and with public expectation weighing heavily on my shoulders, I took a trip to Brians for his first viewing of the two prototype guitars.

small red special image
small green special image
Top: The Guyton Red Special (40), Bottom: The Guyton Green Special (10)

Brians first reaction was very positive, and generally he loved them, although there were a couple of small niggles to attend to, like pickup heights and tremolo spring rates. But all in all, it was a good day!

Brian May Playing A Guyton Red Special

Brian says, "This GREEN TWIN, as I have begun to call it (it's twin brother is RED) is one of the two prototype BM RED SPECIALS that Andrew Guyton has made. His attention to detail is incredible, and the quality of finish of these guitars is just spectacular. His own skill is unquestionable, and he was aided and abetted by no less than Greg Fryer, who meticulously restored and measured and reproduced my original guitar some years ago to make the one-offs, John, Paul, and George which we so treasure.

"Andrew is going into production with these, and though of course they cannot be cheap, with the amount of hand craftsmanship which goes into them, they WILL be the BEST, for the connoisseur!"

After a month or so, with all the adjustments and modifications in place, I visited Brian again, this time for an intensive testing of the new guitars, they were to be A-Bíd with the real thing through Brianís favourite Vox AC30 and Treble booster. This time Brian had the whole afternoon free, so he could relax and take his time examining the prototypes. With Pete manning the A/B switch, Brian set to work, and left no stone unturned. Both guitars were given a thorough going over, and were constantly compared with the ĎRed Specialí. After about 3 hours, the only change I was asked to make, was to lower the middle pickup half a millimetre, on the treble side!!...but it did make a difference, suddenly the sound just fell into place.

It was a great day, and one that I shall not forget in a hurry, after all.. itís not every day that you get to sit next to one of RockíníRollís most influential guitarists, and watch his smile broaden while he plays a guitar youíve actually built! ...And you never know, he may even use one live... one day!

Andrew Guyton.

To order a Guyton Red Special Replica, visit the contact page, and use the method of your choice to get in touch.

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