Brian May Guitars seeks inspiration from the Barbie color chart to give the Special LE a high-Kenergy Hot Pink makeover

BMG Special LE Hot Pink
(Image credit: Brian May Guitars / Instagram)

Brian May Guitars has refreshed the Queen guitarist’s bespoke signature guitar with a Hot Pink finish so vivid it makes John Mayer’s Roxy Pink Silver Sky look like Charcoal Burst. 

That BMG has unveiled a limited-edition Special with a finish so bright it might well be visible from space does seems apt. At least there is some sort of cosmic logic at play that this Day-Glo guitar should come from a company headed by a man with a doctorate in astrophysics.

But the inspiration for this has to be altogether more earthly, tapping into a pop-cultural moment in which Greta Gerwig’s Barbie became the year’s highest-grossing movie. That said, if we are talking guitars and Barbie, Black is the finish that comes to mind – wasn’t Ryan Gosling as Ken playing a Jerry Cantrell acoustic in the movie?

Of course, the Red Special – at least its descendants in today’s BMG Special lineup – has not always been red. The Antique Cherry finish that we most commonly associate with the unique electric guitar that Queen’s Brian May made at home with his father back in the ‘60s has been refinished in Silver Sparkle, White, 3-Tone Sunburst, Jubilee Gold, Windemere Blue… There have been custom art editions and it has even been left unfinished with the natural grain of mahogany taking center stage. Hot Pink is a new one.

BMG Special LE Hot Pink

(Image credit: Brian May Guitars)

What’s underneath the Hot Pink on this BMG Special LE? Well, it’s the same chambered mahogany body that makes the BMG Special such a lightweight proposition, typically weighing in at a lower-back friendly 7lbs. You’ve got a 24” scale guitar with a glued-in mahogany neck.

There are a trio of Tri-Sonic-style pickups, the arcane but brilliant six-switch pickup system, a Wilkinson WVP 2-point knife-edge tremolo with brass saddles supplies the wobble, while the Macassar ebony fingerboard seats 24 medium jumbo frets. 

The finish is high-gloss poly which makes the color pop. We can’t make jokes about it putting the matte into Mattel finish because this, sadly, isn’t an official tie-in, but even after the Barbie fever breaks there’s definitely a sort of hot new-romantic appeal about dressing this unique and iconic ‘60s design in high-viz.

Will this radical look catch on? Well, pink has always been a strong look in the world of electric guitar. We have the aforementioned Roxy Pink of Mayer’s Silver Sky. Jeff Beck reached for a pink Jackson Soloist in the ‘80s – exactly the sort of fit and finish you need when teaming up with Tina Turner on Private Dancer.

More recently, Steve Vai’s affordable JEM Jr. looks the bee’s knees in Neon Pink. Ditto, the EVH Wolfgang. And if we take some of the heat out of it then the Shell Pink that has graced many a Fender and Squier guitar always turns heads.

List price for the Hot Pink BMG Special LE is £895, $999 approx. For more details, head over to Brian May Guitars. Wear shades.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.