B.C.Rich Guitar History
BC Rich are a company specialising in angular and extreme guitar shapes and styles appropriate for rock, hard rock and heavy metal music. Bernardo Chavez Rico was the unlikely person to create distinctive electric guitars. Bernardo Rico (aka “Bernie”) was an successful Flamenco acoustic musician. From the early-to-mid 60s Bernie Rico exclusively created Flamenco guitars in Bernardo’s Guitar Store in Los Angeles, Cal. Ex- executive Vice President, Mal Stich, said, “When you walked into Bernardo’s shop the first thing you noticed was wall to wall electric guitars hanging from the ceiling like birthday celebration balloons. There was a glass counter with picks, strings, guitar components and accessories. Behind the counter was a window and you could watch the guys building guitars. And, the coolest thing was that there were always Flamenco and Classical players pickin away. I recall Flamenco players firing at each other with riff-after-riff. Bernie’s father, Bernardo Mason Rico, was usually sitting in his chair next to the Coca-Cola machine while friends and neighbors watched spellbound as they listened to the music.”
We’re recognizing BC Rich’s Fortieth Anniversary stamping 1969 as the time Bernie began on his first attempt to manufacture electric guitars and basses. It was recorded that 10 basses influenced by the Gibson EB-3 bass as well as ten matching Les Paul inspired guitars were all hand-crafted. Today few of these guitars exist, and it’s rumored that less than the number above had been actually finished.
The time around 1972 was very propitious. The first original electric guitar design, the Seagull, was handcrafted in Bernardo’s shop. True to future shape, the Seagull guitar was visually distinctive along with innovative. The guitar’s neck-through design (now a emblem of BC Rich) featuring a heel-less design – extremely rare for that point in time.
Bernie quickly employed a number of proficient creative designers to compliment his extremely proficient craftsmen. Most of the unique shapes and styles that emerges from this expansion had grown to become legendary shapes associated with electric guitars. Approximately around 1976 came the Mockingbird, and then the additional improvement of the Seagull, the Eagle guitar was born, and around 1978 arrived the Bich was introduced. Some of the most admired guitar players immediately took to the brand new route of BC Rich.
With growing achievement, there was a need for a inexpensive mass-produced BC Rich guitar. Around 1978 Bernie set up the BC Rico brand to devise guitars to be imported from Japan. This first try was not profitable when the Rico Reed Company filed a lawsuit over the use of the name. Regardless of the outcome, the decision was already made to implement the BC Rich mark on imported guitars. Only a small portion, maybe 100 or so BC Rico guitars ever made it to the US.
When the early 80s came, the Warlock was born. Almost instantly the hair metal culture of the era took to the Warlock’s edgy and distinctive contour. The Warlock, while nowhere near the newest shape invented, rounds out the primary five legendary BC Rich shapes.
The 90s and 2000s witnessed a brand new crop of nasty models even pointier than the 80s designs. These included the Draco, Zombie, Ignitor, Beast (designed by Brian Hoffman, guitarists of death metal band Deicide), Warbeast (a mix of Beast and Warlock).
BC Rich guitars are also known for their endorsement deals with a number of essential and revered hard rock and metal guitarists including Kerry King of Slayer (whose signature guitar is diabolic V-shaped axe that has intensive tribal graphic work over the body. He also has a signature model primarily based on the Warlock). The deceased guitarists, Chuck Schuldiner of Death (when Schuldiner died of cancer in 2001 BC Rich released a tribute model based on his preferred guitar, the BC Rich Stealth). Paul Stanley of KISS, and Paolo Gregoletto (bassist in Trivium) are also endorsed BC Rich players. If you’re like me, when you think of rock and metal… you think of iconic guitars such as BC Rich Guitars. They helped sculpt rock and roll.
Steve is a passionate music lover and guitar player who has been playing guitar for over 25 years. One of his favorite websites he uses for his guitar related resources is Gear-Vault.com, the best guitar review websites on the entire internet. Resource to History of B.C. Rich Guitars
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