History of the Brian May/Fryer treble boosters and other Greg Fryer pedals made from 1997 to 2019

3rd July 2019: this is a piece that I wrote for Daizo Tokuda and Shinko Music Japan. It was written to accompany the companion piece written by Mark Reynolds and myself regarding the history of Brian May’s treble boosters and pedalboard used with ‘Queen’ from 1970 until around 1986.

Edited 25 July 2021: Since the first version of this page was published in mid 2019 I have further edited the text and added more info and photos, however I must apologise for leaving the page unfinished during the Covid-19 crisis. In the very near future I intend to complete the article and add several photos! I hope you enjoy reading it. Cheers, Greg

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1997-98: the first Greg Fryer treble booster pedals were handmade for Brian May and used by Brian to record the ‘Another World’ album at Allerton Hill studio in 1998. These treble boosters pictured below were made in a plain aluminium box with the yellow ‘Fryer’ logo decal, which was the same waterslide decal used on the 3 Fryer Red Special guitars ‘John, ‘Paul’ and ‘George Burns’.

Mark Reynolds photo July 1998 Allerton Hill Fryer Treble Booster with Level control on top of Deacy Amp close up

Mark Reynolds photo July 1998 Allerton Hill Fryer Treble Booster with Level control on top of Deacy Amp #1

Some of these early Fryer treble boosters featured a black pointer knob to adjust Level, and some were made with no level control and used the slide in-out Bulgin battery box for easy replacement of the 9V battery. Brian May used both treble boosters pictured above during the recording of his ‘Another World’ album in 1998. The booster on the left did not have the mini switch fitted when Brian used it at Allerton Hill, and I fitted the switch for testing reasons after my return to Australia.

For Brian May’s ‘Another World’ 1998 World Tour, several Fryer treble boosters were made which featured a slide in-out Bulgin battery box. One of these is pictured below on Brian’s pedalboard. These boosters were the forerunners for the Brian May Fryer Treble Booster Touring pedals handmade by Greg Fryer from 2001.

Brian May’s pedal board on the ‘Another World’ 1998 World tour with handmade Fryer treble booster at right hand end

1999-2007: Brian May/Fryer Treble Booster (standard) screenprinted and featuring a black pointer knob to set level. Handmade by Greg Fryer and made in various colours from 1999-2006 and same circuit as Treble Booster Touring. No battery box.

2000-07: Brian May/Fryer Mayhem overdrive pedal handmade in red colour by Greg Fryer. Also a slightly altered circuit version made in blue colour. Designed to be used with the Fryer treble booster pedal driving it first in line.

2001-07: Treble Booster Touring handmade by Greg Fryer in red and green colour.

3 photos above courtesy of Mike Ryde

2006: a small number of strap mounted treble boosters handmade by Greg Fryer, made for Brian May’s live use with Queen + Paul Rodgers tours. A few of these were also made for customers including Mike Ryde who has kindly supplied 2 photos of his equipment below. Made in black colour and same circuit as Treble Booster Touring.

BM Toronto 2006 Queen + PR tour

BM 2006 Queen + PR tour #1

The 2 photos above are courtesy of Mike Ryde

[Footnote: Since around 2014 Brian May has been using the Nigel Knight (KAT) made strap mounted boosters for his live performances.]

2008-18: UK factory made versions of Brian May/Fryer pedals: Treble Booster Touring, Treble Booster Deluxe, and Treble Booster Plus pedals. These Greg Fryer design pedals were produced by ‘Fryer Sound Ltd’ which was a partnership between Greg Fryer and Nigel Knight who now produces the KAT products.

2014: Treble Booster Super and Treble Booster Deluxe (2014 version) developed and handmade by Greg Fryer. Treble Booster Deluxe 2014 circuit was altered from the earlier UK made Treble Booster Deluxe and it also used the same transistor as the Treble Booster Super. Plain aluminium box models with white labels with no battery box.

Pic to be added

2015: Mayday overdrive/distortion pedal developed and handmade by Greg Fryer. To be used with any of the Fryer treble boosters driving it first in line.

Pic to be added

2015: Treble Booster Special black colour box made in Spain by Roberto Garcia (Thundertomate pedals) for Greg Fryer.

Pic to be added

2018: Treble Booster Touring handmade by Greg Fryer in folded steel box, watermelon pink colour with white labels and Bulgin battery box.

Pic to be added

2018: Treble Booster Super (same as 2014 circuit) handmade by Greg Fryer in folded steel box, blue colour with white labels, Bulgin battery box and 9V Adaptor socket.

Pic to be added

2018: Treble Booster Deluxe (same as 2014 circuit) handmade by Greg Fryer in folded steel box, purple colour with white labels, Bulgin battery box and 9V Adaptor socket.

Pic to be added

2018: Fryer Treble Booster Special redesigned from black version and handmade by Greg Fryer in blue colour.

Pic to be added

All 3 treble boosters above feature slide in/out Bulgin battery box and all feature 9V Adaptor 2.1mm diameter socket to suit Boss 9V Adaptor 2.1mm diameter negative centre plug.

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Product description and explanation of the sound of the currently made  Greg Fryer pedals: (pics to be added)

 

Treble Booster Touring: same Greg Fryer pedal that Brian May has used from 1998 for recording and live use. Moderate gain of 31db. Highest amount of treble content of any of the Fryer Brian May style treble boosters. Gives the Brian May recorded sound of mid 1980s,

 

Treble Booster Super: developed in 2014 to be closest sounding modern treble booster to the BC149 booster that Brian May used from 1974-1977 live and on albums such as Sheer Heart Attack, Night At The Opera, Day At The Races. Powerful output at approx 34.5db and balanced amount of treble and bottom end content. More fatness and richness of sound than the Treble Booster Touring pedal. “Creamy fat and crispy”.

 

Treble Booster Deluxe: new version developed in 2014 to give improved sound from the  2008 BM/Fryer TB Deluxe. Slightly more output compared to the TB Super and a fatter richer sound again. 35db gain. Designed to evoke the fatter Brian May recorded and live sound of the late 1970s heard on Queen albums ‘New Of The World’, ‘Jazz’ and  the live sound of 1979’s ‘Live Killers’.

 

Treble Booster Plus: (Discontinued in 2019. Produced an even fatter sound than TB Deluxe with less treble content. Powerful output level of 36db gain.)

 

Treble Booster Special: uses the same transistor as the Treble Booster Super which produces a rich, crispy and powerful sound. This pedal gives the sounds of 3 of the Fryer Treble Boosters: Super, Deluxe and Plus, plus 3 extra sounds which are both thinner and fatter.

Features are:

Level control,

Range control has 6 positions on its rotary switch and each position selects a different input capacitor which gives a range from thinner to fatter sounds.

True bypass footswitch and LED status on/off.

For power, the choice of using a 9V battery or 9V Adaptor. The 2.1mm 9V Adaptor socket uses the industry standard Boss 9V Adaptor with negative centre regulated 100ma minimum capacity.

Mayday overdrive/distortion pedal: requires a treble booster to drive it first in line and gives the full volume overdriven Vox AC30 Brian May sound but at much lower overall volume levels. It is especially good for achieving the full volume harmonically rich sound at low practice levels or home levels.

The Mayday pedal has been designed to sound good driven first in line by the Greg Fryer treble boosters: TB Touring, TB Super, TB Deluxe, TB Plus and TB Special; as well as other brands of treble boosters such as Kat and Pete Cornish.

Powered by 9V Adaptor with no battery option. Pic to be added here