B.C. Rich is a manufacturer of guitars and bass guitars founded by Bernardo Chavez Rico in 1969. Currently, most B.C. Rich guitars are manufactured in Asia, but luthiers of the company’s custom shop continue to hand-make instruments. The Hanser Music Group, based in Kentucky, USA, operates B.C. Rich. As of 2001, no member of the Rico family is involved in the company.
This model was made popular by Brad Whitford of Aerosmith. Neil Giraldo (Pat Benatar) also played his Eagle on some of their early albums and videos.
The BC Rich Mockingbird was designed by Johnny A Go-Go. It was made popular by Joe Perry of Aerosmith. The Mockingbird model experienced a resurgence in the early 90’s through Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash after he played one on the Use Your Illusion world tour.
The most popular of the BC Rich line is the BC Rich “Bich” 10 string model. The Bich 10 string guitar was the brain-child of Neal Moser. During the late 1960s, Moser worked with musicians including Jimi Hendrix, and Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Neal worked as a sub-contractor for Bernie Rico (BC Rich) from 1974 to 1985. During his time with BC Rich, he conceived, designed, and built the first Bich 10 string prototype guitar. The Bich guitar was never owned by Bernie Rico/BC Rich. The design was licensed to BC Rich under contract with Neal Moser. A lawsuit filed by Neal Moser against Hanser Holdings Int’l/BC Rich resulted in Moser Custom Guitars and HHI/BC Rich both having the right to produce their own version of the Rich Bich style guitar. Neal Moser retains ownership of the original body templates. The Moser Custom Shop “Moser 10” and the BC Rich Bich “PMS” models are the closest representations of the original pre-1985 BC Rich Rich Bich body design. The “Moser 10” models have an “M” inlay on the headstock, compared to the HHI/BC Rich “R” headstock inlay. The “Bich” can also be categorized as a guitar that “brings out” Heavy Metal and such genres.
BC Rich Bich “PMS” 10 String Prototype
To celebrate the 25th anniversary release of the Rich Bich 10 string guitar, HHI/BC Rich contracted the original BC Rich luthiers Neal Moser and Sal Gonzales to produce 25 true hand-built reproductions of the original prototype to the Bich 10 string model. These hand-carved wonders were built off of Neal Moser’s original 1978 body templates, using the same exotic woods (black African walnut, maple and Brazilian rosewood) as the original prototype model. Due to contract issues between Neal Moser and Hanser Holdings Int’l, only 16 of the PMS models were produced. These have become highly prized by BC Rich collectors due to the limited production number. These limited edition models are considered to represent the last of the true BC Rich guitars. The original prototype is currently owned by Dan Lawrence.
The introduction of the B.C. Rich Warlock model in the early 1980s helped push B.C. Rich into the heavy metal music genre. Notable early players included Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, Lita Ford, Paul Stanley of KISS (featuring a broken mirror top) and a young pre-Les Paul playing Slash. Its popularity continues with players such as Slayer guitarist Kerry King.The variation on this one, The B.C. Rich Revenge Warlock, Has a Maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and a mahogany body, with chrome hardware. Also, it has the authentic widow headstock.
Designed by Joey Rico in 1983, the Ironbird gained some popularity amongst heavy metal guitarists, including Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel. The original model had a pointed reverse headstock, whereas the 21st Century version has a regular pointed headstock.
These guitars are made completely of acrylic and their bodies are transparent, making the electronics inside viewable. The original run of the acrylic models featured a standard bolt-on maple neck with wood headstock, but later models featured an acrylic headstock, matching the same color as the body and making the overall appearance of the guitar more attractive. Acrylic is more dense than most woods ( specific gravity of acrylic is 1.18 g/cm3 while that of lignum vitae, probably the heaviest of woods,is approximately 1.23g/cm3) which makes the guitar heavier. In 2006 B.C. Rich introduced the IT (Invisibolt Technology) series. In this series the neck is bolted inside the body to look like a neck-through, but neck joint is still visible. This combines the elements of both bolt-on and neck-through designs.
Like Rickenbacker and Jackson, B.C. Rich used a neck-through body design in many of their instruments. BC Rich also pioneered the heel-less joint. In addition, they used custom battery-powered active electronics — pickups and tone controls inside the guitar. These electronics were originally thought out and designed by Neal MoserNeal Moser helped with bone crafted parts and many set ups in the custom shop. He added the feet on winged guitars like the Rich Bich, which was one of his designs. Their guitars come in a variety of shapes, ranging from styles which are similar to electric guitar types (e.g., the Telecaster-styled Blaster) to unusual styles such as the Fat Bob, which has a body in the shape of a Harley-Davidson gas tank.