Brian May guitars – spot the difference

Brian May's Red Special
Brian May‘s original Red Special

Ace Pro AE106
Ace Pro AE106 “Brian May Style Electric Guitar”

Ace AE106

I spotted the Ace Pro AE106 while flicking through a guitar magazine the other week. It caught my eye. “Ooh! a Brian May guitar,” I thought.

I had a closer look. It wasn’t. It was the Ace Pro AE106, which claimed to be a “Brian May Style Electric Guitar”.

By “Brian May Style” I guess they mean that it’s roughly the right colour, has three Burns tri-sonic-looking pickups, a black scratchplate and … er, that’s about it.

Here’s the full run-down of features:

  • Chrome Hardware
  • Diecast Tuners
  • Two Way Truss Rod
  • Hard Maple Neck
  • Rosewood 25-1/2
  • Set Neck
  • Basswood Body
  • Modern 3S, 1V, 1T, 5way
  • Fulcrum2 Tremolo
  • Contoured body Arm lays

You can buy the AE106 at The Music King for only £99. I really want to know what it sounds like now.

Brian May Guitars

You can buy a real Brian May style guitar via Brian May Guitars for around £500.

It’s features are:

  • Mahogany body (with acoustic chamber) with Pinstripe binding
  • New two-piece scratch plate
  • Mahogany neck
  • 24″ scale (Depth: 22mm at 1st fret … 24mm at 12th fret)
  • 24 fret – ebony fingerboard (width 45mm at 0 fret … 57mm at 24th fret)
  • Grover GH305 locking tuners
  • Dual truss rod
  • Graphite nut
  • New bridge & Brass saddles
  • BM Custom tremolo arm
  • 3 x Burns Tri-Sonic pickups (series wired)
  • Master Volume & Tone controls
  • Original BM switching system
  • Individual pickup IN/OUT phase plus Individual pickup ON/OFF

I know which I’d prefer … oh, I forgot! I already have one.

Steve Lawson in the living room

Steve Lawson playing bass guitar in our living room

Steve Lawson‘s gig in our living room last night was a roaring success.

While only six people turned up, it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of a relaxed evening in the company of friends, with plenty of good wine, fine chocolates, beautiful music and much laughter.

I videoed the entire gig, including Steve’s Q&A at the end, which will no doubt creep onto YouTube in due course.

In the meantime, here’s one video from the gig last night, which I recorded on my Fuji FinePix S5600. This is a video of Steve playing his track called “Scott Peck” from Behind Every Word (2007).

And then, all too soon, Steve had to drive home. (To Steve: it was truly wonderful to see you again, lovely man!)

Shortly after he left I discovered that he’d left his scarf here. Maybe I should auction it on eBay for charity: “Rock star’s Dr Who-style scarf”. Steve would, obviously, have the opportunity to bid for it himself, if it means anything to him!

See more photos of the gig at Flickr: Steve Lawson house concert

Steve Lawson – concert at Perth College

Steve Lawson playing bass guitar

When I turned up at Perth College (Goodlyburn building) shortly after 19:00 for Steve Lawson‘s gig I was surprised to learn from the woman at reception that she had no idea there was a concert on that evening. In the concert hall directly opposite the reception desk.

Isn’t communication a great thing. It’s clear to me that they didn’t have the kind of promoter that I’ve become for the house concert tonight!

By the time the concert started the audience was comprised of about 95% music students from Perth College, which is where Steve had studied music and where he’d done a music workshop earlier that day.

Audience watching Steve Lawson

What a great opportunity! I’d love to be able to spend a year or two studying music, playing guitar and “honing my chops”. A bit like when Bill and Ted went off in the time machine for a year or two to study at the end of the second film. Except, without the time machine. Or the Hollywood budget.

At times it doesn’t sound like Steve’s playing a bass guitar, such is the versatility of the instrument … and, I suppose, the musician playing it! When we arrived I thought it was a tuba that was playing in the hall; I thought we’d turned up to the wrong venue. It wasn’t. We’d hadn’t. It was Steve weirding-out on his bass.

Steve’s music is beautiful, passionate and at times just downright weird! In a jazz-weird sense.

There are some songs that make me want to cry they are so beautiful; there is one song that makes me think of the “J R Hartley” Yellow Pages advert; and Steve’s piece in memory of Eric Roche, which he closed the gig with, is packed deep with emotion.

Tonight will be great. Although, rather disturbingly last night I realised that the stage that Steve was sitting on is roughly the size of our living room!

Steve Lawson – concert in my living room

Steve Lawson

Tomorrow night Jane and I are off to sunny Perth to see the lovely Steve Lawson in concert at Perth College (starts 19:30).

The plan is then to kidnap Steve back to Anstruther and force him to play a concert in our living room on Friday evening.

And like the obliging friend that he is Steve has agreed to join in, for a monetary donation at the door. He’s like a live and cheery version of Radiohead’s new album: pay what you like for an evening of beautiful music and hilarious chat.

And by the time he starts to play he may even have made up his mind about which bass guitar to use.

House concert

Friday 26 October 2007
8:00 pm

45 Lindsay Berwick Place
Anstruther

Steve Lawson is …

Considered the UK’s premier solo bass guitarist, Steve Lawson has been acknowledged as one of the most innovative voices to have emerged on the electric bass in years.

He’s also an incredibly lovely and funny man who plays beautiful music. For one night only he’s playing a solo gig in our living room … there will be limited numbers (basically, as many as we can fit in!) but it should be great — and not too loud!

I just hope we’ve got enough tea bags for everyone.

Powerpoint Edinburgh (April 2007)

Vox AD50VT guitar amplifier

It’s time to dust down my guitar, amp and riffs for another month: it’s Powerpoint Edinburgh tonight; the last of the current session.

I drove down to Edinburgh last night for rehearsals, which was fun. Except for the bit where I nearly crashed into the side of a lorry when, without warning, the road was reduced from two to one lane. On a corner.

I was in the outside (fast) lane at the time and could almost feel the tyres digging into the road as I stepped heavily and hastily on the brakes. Shortly after I drove past a group of workmen putting out more cones. If I may offer a little tip: signs then cones, it’s safer that way.

Yesterday was also the one year anniversary of our move to Fife on Wednesday 19 April 2006.

Much has happened since then. I’m much healthier now than I was then, on almost every level, happier and more content. It has been a good move and a good year. What better way to celebrate than to play live music with friends and worship God?