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B.C. Rich Guitars

From Flamenco to Heavy Metal
 
From Flamenco to Heavy Metal

From one perspective, flamenco and heavy metal might seem as far apart as the sun and the moon, but if you think about the hyperbolic emotion involved in both genres, there is a certain spritual connection. Abstractions aside, however, there’s a more concrete connection between the two forms in the person of Bernie Rico, the man behind some of guitardom’s most flamoyant instruments, B.C. Rich guitars.

Born in East L.A.
Bernardo Chavez Rico was born in Los Angeles in 1941, actually in East Los Angeles, home to the city’s largely Hispanic population. Growing up in a guitar-oriented culture, Mr. Rico came from a guitar household. His father, Bernardo Mason Rico, was a guitar-maker, with a shop where he built guitars, vihuelos, requintos, bajo sextos and other instruments for the Mexican-oriented musicians in L.A. playing in local Latin conjuntos and mariachi orchestras. He also sold guitarmaking parts through the mail. The Rico shop was originally known as the Valencian Guitar Shop in around 1947, and later as Casa Rico. Eventually, as Bernie joined his dad, it became known as Bernardo’s Guitar Shop.

Sabicas
Mr. Rico began playing guitar at an early age, as primarily a flamenco and classical guitarist. “I studied with Sabicas when he came to L.A., which he did a lot because he liked to go to down to Mexico to see the bullfights. I got to meet all the players coming through, including young Paco de Lucia and Montoya. Montoya used to compare himself with Sabicas saying ‘I am the box office draw.’ I also studied with the great Mario Escudero for three years, and learned to play with very high action on the guitar, but Sabicas was the main influence. He and I were like godfather to son.”

“I’ll never forget the time,” recalls Mr. Rico with a smile, “when Sabicas said to me, ‘I’m tired of playing, you play!’ I played and Sabicas played second guitar. I was very nervous but it is a great memory.”

Acoustic apprenticeship
Bernie Rico had begun working in his father’s shop as early as 1953 or ’54, building ukuleles out of koa. “You know,” says Rico, “My Dog Has Fleas!” If you’ve ever played uke, you’ll know that phrase. Soon thereafter the American Folk Music Boom began, and Rico recalls that his father’s shop made banjos and retrofitted a lot of banjo necks on other brands. “Prior to 1964, we also converted a lot of Martin guitars to 12-strings because Martin didn’t make 12s before ’64.” Rico also remembers building some steel guitars during those early days, as well.

“It was working with the banjos,” says Rico, “that taught me what I know about tone and timbre, all tension, with tension hoops in place of struts.”

In a way, you can say that Sabicas not only was the main influence on Rico’s guitar playing, but was also the main influence on his guitar making. One day Sabicas took Rico aside and told him, “My son, I want to play a guitar you made for me.” Bernie Rico made his first guitar for Sabicas.

What’s In A Name?
Bernie Rico continued to make acoustic guitars. However, by the mid-’60s many of the customers for guitars were country musicians, and, well, the name “Bernie Rico” just didn’t make it with country players. As it happened, ironically enough, Rico had a friend named Bobby Rich who had adopted an Hispanic stage name, Roberto Rico. Reversing the process, Bernie Rico changed his guitar name to B.C. Rich. So, in a way, the B.C. Rich name came from Bernie’s friend Bobby, although all the parts were actually just Anglo adaptations of his own family’s names. This was in around 1966 or 1967. Up until 1968 Rico made only acoustic guitars. Probably only about 300 of these acoustics were built.

Electrics
In 1968 Rico built his first custom electric solidbody. At the time he was doing a lot of refinishing and repair work. He had an assistant working for him who suggested that he start getting more avant guarde in his finishes. Since he was riding a lot of motorcycles with fancy paint jobs at the time, this made sense. This is where the B.C. Rich tradition of wild finishes originated.

That year a customer came in with a Fender guitar neck and asked Rico to make a body for the neck. “I remember I had to go over to Hollywood to get advice about how to wire the guitar once it was built,” recalls Rico. Rico had gotten on the electric freeway and there was no looking back!

Rico’s custom guitars basically versions of popular Gibson and Fender models continued until the early ’70s, when the trademark weird shapes began to appear, and the B.C. Rich began to become legend.

Gibson “copies” and the Seagull
In 1969 Rico began his first attempts at guitar production with ten Gibson EB-3 bass copies, with arched tops and fancy inlays and ten matching Les Paul guitars. Both models were carved out of one single block of mahogany.

The first of the weird shaped B.C. Rich guitars designed by Rico was the Seagull guitar and bass, which debuted in 1972. The Seagull was a single cutaway guitar with two humbucking pickups and the characteristic B.C. Rich assymetrical three-and-three headstock. The rounded upper bout featured a little point about mid-way on the bass side (reminiscent of the early Carvin designs from the late ’50s and early ’60s), while the cutaway horn had a typically dramatic downward turn to it.

The Seagull design also coincided with Rico’s first use of neck-through construction, a method which would soon become strongly identified with B.C. Rich’s better models. Mr. Rico recalls sitting around with other guitar makers, including Rick Turner of Alembic fame, discussing the potential merits of neck-through construction. Neck-through construction was used on most Seagulls and other models throughout the ’70s and early ’80s, although not exclusively: some bolt-necks were also built, but these were in the minority.

Heelless Neck Joint
An essential feature of Rico’s neck-through design was the heelless neck joint, which was entirely his idea. This is characteristic of many of his guitars to this day.

The first endorser of B.C. Rich guitars was Dominic Troiano, who had replaced Randy Bachman as lead guitarist in the group The Guess Who at the time. It was Troiano who first used the active electronics which became common on B.C. Rich guitars. It was also through Troiano that Rico hooked up with guitar designer Neal Moser, who worked with Rico through the ’70s.

B.C. Rich guitars were distributed by L.D. Heater, a subsidiary of Norlin (which owned Gibson guitars) in Salem, Oregon. Because of this connection, B.C. Rich was able to obtain Gibson pickups, and the earliest Riches used Gibson humbuckers. However, since Rich guitars featured such things as coil taps and phase reversal, each Gibson pickup had to be disassembled in order to install four lead wires, a lot of work, needless to say! Use of Gibson pickups didn’t last long, because B.C. Rich guitars started selling well and, with the L.D. Heater connection, Gibson found out and was not happy.

DiMarzios and Self-Distribution
Rico next turned to using Guild humbuckers, but these again required disassembly. Finally, in around 1974, Rico called Larry DiMarzio and asked him if he could make four-lead, dual sound humbuckers. “No problem,” was DiMarzios response, and from 1974 until 1986 (when B.C. Rich began making its own pickups), B.C. Rich guitars featured various DiMarzio pickups.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that B.C. Rich stopped being distributed by L.D. Heater in 1974 and began distributing itself.

Fly Like An Eagle
The Seagull did well, however, players began complaining about the upper point jabbing them in the chest. One of these was bassist Bill Bodine, who was playing with Olivia Newton John’s band at the time. In around 1975 Mr. Rico set about redesigning the Seagull, giving it two cutaways and no point on the upper horn. The first few were called the Bodine Bass and were promoted in ads as late as December of ’76, but the name quickly changed to the Seagull II or the Seagull Jr. In very late 1976 or early ’77, those names disappeared as well in favor of the Eagle. Thus, the Eagle was essentially a redesigned version of the original Seagull.

Imports: B.C. Rico
It was at about the time of the appearance of the Eagle in around ’76 that B.C. Rich first began importing guitars. Through a friend living in Tokyo, Rico arranged to have some copies of the Eagle made and imported carrying the B.C. Rico brand name. Bernie Rico chose this name so as to distinguish these imports from the guitars being made in the U.S. These were excellent copies with neck-through construction. Rico doesn’t recall exactly who made these guitars, but thinks it may have been the Kasuga factory, one of the primary Japanese suppliers of quality guitars at the time.

Unfortunately, the B.C. Ricos ran into legal problems right out of the gate. The Rico Reed company sued B.C. Rich over the use of the Rico brand name, and the first shipment of B.C. Rico guitars was impounded by customs awaiting a decision. Since Rico was Bernie’s last name, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that B.C. Rich would have the right to use the name, which it did. However, in the interim the decision was made to simply use the B.C. Rich name, which would henceforth be applied to all B.C. Rich guitars, regardless of where they were manufactured. (All imports carry an additional modifier such as N.J. Series or Platinum which idicate they are made offshore.)

As a result of the hassles over the name, these first B.C. Rico imports are quite rare; only about 150 or so were ever imported before the brand name was abandoned.

Listen to the Mockingbird
Things began to evolve quickly from that point on. In 1976, too, Rico designed the Mockingbird. “The Mockingbird was one of those ‘napkin’ designs,” explains Rico. “We were sitting in Denny’s restaurant at 11 PM drinking coffee and designing guitars on napkins. I drew a weird curve and said ‘I like that.’ The result was the Mockingbird. The first Mockingbird was a short-scale bass.”

Bichin’ Guitars
“We were on a roll,” continues Rico. Again in 1976 Rico came up with the B.C. Rich Bich. The Bich has been acused of being a copy of a design of guitarmaker Dave Bunker. This is inaccurate; it’s not a “copy,” however, the idea for the Bich actually began with a Dave Bunker design idea. The resulting guitar was a sort of squared off Bunker guitar combined with elements taken from the Eagle. As usual, neck-through construction was used. One of the first Biches went to Joe Perry of Aerosmith in October of ’76.

The first Biches were 10-strings, based on a concept of Neal Moser, who, according to Rico, had been thinking about building a 10-string. Why 10 strings? There’s a simple if confusing answer: it’s essentially the same as a 12-string but without as many strings…! Basically you get the octave differentials and tonal contrast of the bass wound/plain pairs combined with two single strings (versus unison pairs on a 12-string) for treble lead work. In some ways, this is an extension of the idea of a lute, which typically had paired courses except for the first string or “chantarelle,” which was used to carry single-string melodies.

Some differences exist in reported accounts about who was actually responsible for the origins of the Bich design. According to the recollections of Mr. Rico, many of the early B.C. Rich designs, including the Bich, were pretty much collaborative efforts. As Rico puts it, “All the guys working for me had ideas; we just kind of laid them out and made them. We’d cut out a guitar, hold it up and say, ‘What do you think?’ Someone would say, ‘Well, take a little off there,’ and we would.”

Since most B.C. Rich guitars were handmade, especially the neck-throughs, the production work involved a lot of handcarving, which was frequently done by skilled Mexican woodcarvers. This hand-crafted element explains why so many variations often exist between the same models of early B.C. Rich guitars.

Sons of a Rich and B.C. Charvels?
As mentioned, the majority of early B.C. Rich guitars were neck-throughs, however, some of the main models were also built with bolt-on necks. As early as 1976 or ’77, Rico also began to assemble some American-made economy versions of his guitars. One of these was the Son of a Rich, which was basically a bolt-neck Bich. At least some of these had necks and bodies which were made by Wayne Charvel, who was in the parts business at the time. The Charvel necks would be carved on his machine and sent over the the B.C. Rich factory. The necks would then undergo a final shaping to Rico’s design, and then be fitted to the bodies.

Economy Nighthawks
In around 1978 or 1979, Rico also put out the Nighthawk series, an econo bolt-neck version of the Eagle, and the Phoenix series, an econo bolt-neck Mockingbird.

One of the things you notice about B.C. Rich guitars is the neck. The profile is thin and comfortable. The fingerboard is nicely wide, like you might expect from someone who, well, played flamenco!

Warlock
The B.C. Rich Bich was the last new design until the introduction of the Warlock in 1981. “This was the only guitar I ever designed at a drafting table, using straight-edges and French curves,” remembers Rico. “It was lots of curves going into straight lines. At first I thought it was the ugliest guitar I’d ever designed,” continues Rico, “but Spenser Sercomb, who was playing in a group called Shark Island, came to my office and saw the design hanging on my wall. ‘When are you going to make that guitar,’ he asked? ‘When you do, I’ll buy it.’” The Warlock was born. Soon Lita Ford got one, and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue got a Warlock bass, and the model took off.

Six-In-Line
It was at this time that the B.C. Rich six-in-line headstock appeared, debuting on the Warlock bass. Prior to 1981, all headstocks were the assymetrical three-and-three design. Soon other models began to appear with the new design, including the late 1982 Eagle shown here.

Acoustic Hiatus
B.C. Rich continued to make acoustic guitars using highly skilled Mexican craftsmen until 1982, when Rico’s head craftsman died. Rather than replace him, the decision was made to cease acoustic production. This also coincided with a major economic recession in the United States and a downturn in all guitar sales.

Ironbird
Following the Warlock was the radically angular Ironbird appeared in around 1983, a guitar favored by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.

Riding the Waves
Rico’s next guitar was the Wave, also introduced in 1983. “The Wave was the finest bass I’ve ever designed,” says Rico, “in terms of thickness and width and how it was laid out. The mass was spread out over a wider area and it had great harmonic overtones.” Very few of these guitars were ever made.

Stealth Bomber
Also in 1983 the Stealth was introduced, a guitar basically designed by Rick Derringer. “This was the only guitar I ever made where someone came to me with a design and said, “Can you make this for me?’” The “someone” was Rick Derringer. This is relatively rare, as well, with only between 150 and 175 ever having been produced.

Widow
Another guitar from this era was the Widow, sometimes called the “spider” guitar, which was basically designed for Blackie Lawless.

Other Rare Birds
In 1984 several particularly interesting B.C. Rich guitars appeared, the Condor and the Fat Bob. The Condor was basically an upscale Eagle with a 1″ thick carved flamed maple top and mahogany body (this guitar is offered today as the Eagle Archtop).

The Fat Bob reflected Bernie Rico’s love of motorcycles. “I was riding Harley Davidsons back then. I had three of them, one of which was a model called the Fat Bob. We thought it would be cool to make a guitar that had a body shaped like a Harley Davidson gas tank, and that was the Fat Bob. We even went over to the local Harley dealership and bought some genuine Harley gas tank caps which we put on the guitars,” recalls Rico.

Over the years, only about 35 doubleneck guitars were built. All were custom orders.

Telecasters?!
Another rare guitar model was the TS-100/200 which were versions of the Telecaster. “We never did do Telecasters,” says Rico, “but we should. We only made about fifteen or twenty of those.”

Jazz Boxes
Finally, there were the RTJG and RTSG jazz guitars. These were sort of the idea of L.A. jazz guitarist Bill Conti. “Conti was very fond of B.C. Rich guitars, played a lot of them. Anyhow, as a tribute to Conti whom I never actually met in person I designed an archtop jazz guitar with neck-through construction and heelless neck joint. These had 24 frets, and at the 24th fret there was a pearl inlay engraved with ‘Conti’.”

NJ Series Imports
B.C. Rich had become so successful by the mid-’80s that the company like other American brands such as Dean and Kramer inevitably turned to importing guitars. Mr. Rico travelled to Japan in late 1983 and toured a number of factories. He felt that Japanese manufacturers were way ahead of most American companies in terms of quality production. The result was the launching of the B.C. Rich NJ Series of copies of the American designs. Many people incorrectly assume that “NJ” stand for New Jersey. This is easy to understand, because later the company headquarters would be in New Jersey. However, the NJ actually stood for Nagoya, Japan. Until 1986, Japanese B.C. Rich NJ Series guitars were built by Masan Tarada and Iida.

335s and Diamonds
Two other imported guitars from this time which you might encounter include the 335 Standard, as you might guess a thinline acoustic-electric, and the Diamond Series, which were basically acoustic guitars with a diamond-shaped soundhole and built-in pickup made by Tarada.

Korea and the U.S. Production Series
Again, as with other major American manufacturers, Rico also sooned turned to Korea as a source for budget models. In 1984 B.C. Rich announced its U.S. Production Series in an ad showing the Ironbird. These were basically Korean-made guitar kits. Basic components of these bolt-neck guitars were made overseas and shipped to California where fretting, final assembly and finishing took place.

Guitars shown in the B.C. Rich catalog dated 6/84 included the Rich Bich 10-string, Bich Six and Bich Bass 8-string; the Eagle Bass; the Mockingbird Tremelo [sic], Mockingbird Supreme and Mockingbird Bass; the Warlock Tremelo and Warlock Bass; the X-shaped Stealth Tremelo and Stealth Bass; the Wave Bass; and the Ironbird Tremelo and Ironbird Bass Tremelo. All had diamond inlays except for the Biches and Mockingbird Supreme with clouds, and the Stealth which had no inlays. Most had the standard three-and-three headstock with pearl R logo; the Warlock and Stealth had the reversed six-in-line head, wile the Ironbird had the early angular six-in-line headstock. Vibratos were top-mounted Kahlers. These were primarily neck-through guitars.

The U.S. Production Series announced in the 1984 catalog included the Mockingbird Tremelo, Stealth Tremelo, Warlock Tremelo and Ironbird Tremelo. These had a single humbucking pickup and, except for the Ironbird, reverse six-in-line headstocks.

Korean NJs
In 1986, Mr. Rico was in Tokyo with Dennis Berardi, of Kramer guitars, and Jack Westheimer, then of Cort (and one of the principal men responsible for importing Japanese guitars into the United States beginning in the late ’50s). While they were in Tokyo, there was a tremendous shift upward in the value of the Yen, severely cutting into the profitability of manufacturing in Japan. Rico turned to Westheimer and asked if he, meaning Cort (of which Westheimer was part owner), would make the B.C. Riches. He would, and after 1986 the B.C. Rich NJ Series was made by Cort in Korea.

Raves and Platinums
Soon thereafter Rico engaged a different Korean factory to begin producing the down-market Rave and Platinum Series guitars, this time, unlike the U.S. Series, all-imported.

These were basically copies of B.C. Rich’s most popular designs, the most commonly seen being versions of the Bich.

Assassination
Back in the U.S. in 1986, the Assassin made its debut. This was a Strat-style guitar that was known as a professional instrument, with a humbucker and single coils, the angular reverse headstock, an ebony fingerboard with no inlays and 24-frets. These guitars eventually became the basis for Rico’s Mason Bernards, and have been resuscitated for the new B.C. Rich line.

It was in 1986, too, that B.C. Rich began making its own pickups, which it did until the hiatus in 1989.

Strats
The following year, 1987, the far more conventional ST-III was unveiled, a Strat-style guitar that came in either humbucker/single/single or twin humbucker configurations and with either bolt-on or neck-through construction. Also introduced in 1987 was the Gunslinger, a Strat-style bolt-neck guitar geared toward the fast heavy metal players who only wanted one pickup with a volume control. Rico likes to point out, though, that “The Gunslinger was the best guitar I could put out for $799. If you played a top-of-the-line B.C. Rich that cost $1399 and a Gunslinger, you won’t find any difference in the neck.”

Many of the B.C. Rich ST-IIIs are relatively ordinary, however, many are quite spectacular, like the quilted maple custom model shown here.

Another interesting Strat-style guitar from this period was the Outlaw, basically an ST-III with a series of holes drilled through the upper horn, like handles. The largest hole started at around 2″ in diameter and progressively got smaller until the smallest hole on the horn was ?”. “Like handles,” adds Rico. Holes were bevelled around the edges. No matter what the color of the guitar, the insides of the holes were always black.

Innovation
In 1987, the Innovator bass also appeared, another guitar which is in the newly revived B.C. Rich line.

When asked when B.C. Rich “changed over” to the pointy reverse headstock, Rico laughs. “We never changed over, people just started requesting it, so we made it. When we got into the more commercial Strat-shaped guitars, we put it on.”

Class Axe
In 1987 Rico entered into a marketing agreement with a company from New Jersey called Class Axe which allowed them to market and distribute the Rave, Platinum and NJ Series guitars.

The 1987 B.C. Rich catalog produced by Class Axe included the Platinum Ironbird, Bich, Warlock and Virgin guitars and basses. The Virgin was sort of a hybrid with a Warlock upper bout and a bell-shaped rounded lower bout designed by Class Axe in conjuction with Moser. The NJ Series in that catalog included the Warlock, the ST superstrat and the Outlaw, which has become basically a Gunslinger with a reverse headstock. Also in the NJ Series were the ST, Mockingbird, Bich, Ironbird and Warlock which were built in Japan and assembled in California.

In 1988 Rico licensed the Rave and Platinum names to Class Act, and they essentially took over importing, marketing and distributing the foreign-made lines.

Vacation
The following year, in 1989, one of the Partners in Class Axe, Randy Waltuch, made Bernie Rico a very generous offer to license the name B.C. Rich. After almost three decades of continuous guitar-making, the idea of a well-paid vacation without worrying about the rent sounded good, and Rico licensed the B.C. Rich name to the new outfit for a three year period, during which time American-made B.C. Riches were made in New Jersey. From 1990 to 1993, Bernie Rico had no control over B.C. Rich guitars, although he continued to own the name.

Mason Bernard
However, as with most people devoted to their craft, Bernie Rico’s vacation was short-lived. In 1990 Rico began another guitar company called Mason Bernard; Mason was his father’s middle name, and Bernard, of course, was a common name in the Rico family.

Mason Bernard guitars were basically conventional Strat-type guitars, based on the previous B.C. Rich Assassin model, with the standard Superstrat humbucker/single/single pickup arrangement. “These were the first guitars I had ever made where I sat down and calculated everything to the max,” says Rico, “these guitars were designed as if price was no object. I tried out everything and only chose the best. DiMarzio came up with a proprietary pickup design for me, including a very neat vintage single coil.” About 225 of these Mason Bernard guitars were made between 1990 and the middle of 1991.

Back Home Again
In 1993 the B.C. Rich name reverted back to Bernie Rico, and he was happily again at work at his drill press making B.C. Rich guitars, which began to be offered in the Fall of 1994.

The 1994 B.C. Rich line included both neck-through and bolt-on guitars in many of the more popular shapes of the past. Back were the Eagle, Mockingbird, Bich, Warlock, Assassin, Ironbird, Gunslinger and ST guitars, plus the Eagle, Mockingbird, Bich and Innovator basses.

The Eagle line was represented by the Eagle Arch Top, Arch Top Tremolo and Eagle bass. These have mahogany necks and bodies with a carved quilted maple top, ebony fingerboard, mother-of-pearl or abalone cloud inlays, twin humbuckers and either a fixed bridge or a Wilkinson vibrato system. Hardware could be black, chrome or gold. The non-vibrato guitar and bass had the old three-and-three headstock, while the Tremolo had the six-in-line layout. Colors were transparent red, blue, tangerine, purple or emerald green, or goldtop. List price was $1999.

Acoustics Again
As of early 1995, Bernie Rico had returned to his old affection for acoustics and added a new acoustic guitar to his line, the B-41C, a single cutaway guitar loaded with abalone trim, a project which has the luthier quite enthusiastic. “Acoustics were my first love,” he explains.

Dating
Dating B.C. Rich neck-through guitars is relatively easy, although slightly imprecise by the ’80s. The first B.C. Rich guitar was stamped “Proto,” beginning in 1972, and subsequent guitars were consecutively numbered beginning 001, 002, etc. These consecutive numbers probably ran up to around 340 or 360, as Rico recalls. This system was used for the guitars distributed by L.D. Heater. When distribution came back to B.C. Rich in 1974, the system was changed to begin with the year of manufacture and three consecutively numbered digits, or XXYYY, with XX being the year (e.g., 78) and YYY the number of guitar. Thus, the first guitar of 1974 would have been numbered 74000, followed by 74001, etc. Throughout the ’70s, production numbers were low enough that the serial numbers pretty much reflect the year of manufacture.

In the late ’70s as production grew, and the serial numbers begin to get ahead of themselves, since only 1000 numbers were available in a series. By 1980 the serial numbers had gotten to about two to three years ahead. A bass documented to have been purchased (not necessarily made) in 1980 bore the serial number 82595. Even though neck-through production never surpassed about 2200 guitars a year, as the ’80s progressed the serial numbers continued to get ahead of the actual year. By 1981 the numbers were about four years ahead, and this gap remained fairly constant until Rico stopped making B.C. Riches. The one-pickup Eagle shown here is 85366 from between late 1980 to sometime in 1981. The white Mockingbird shown here is 87688 from 1983.

Bolt-neck guitars are less precise for the usual reasons. The serial number is stamped on a neck plate, and like every other company, when the guitar was being finished, someone grabbed a plate out of the box and put it on. These still follow the same XXYYY dating scheme, but there was no particular order to thier application. If a guitar has a number of 89321, for example, it was probably built in 1987, but it could be a bit earlier or later.

Denouement
“The funny thing about about B.C. Rich guitars,” reflects Rico on the past, “is that they got branded as ‘heavy metal’ guitars early on and that’s what made them so successful. If it hadn’t been for heavy metal, I don’t know what would have happened. B.C. Rich didn’t have a niche until someone said, ‘heavy metal.’

“What really gets me, though,” continues Rico, “is that they’re always known for their weird shapes, not the thought and quality that went into the shape of the neck or the quality painting.” Maybe now, with B.C. Rich guitars back in the hands of flamenco guitarist Bernie Rico and staging a comeback, and with renewed interest in the older B.C. Rich guitars, that perception will change.



Bernardo Rico, the man behind B.C. Rich guitars, holding a ca. 1984 B.C. Rich NJ Series Bich. Courtesy Bernie Rico.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’95 issue.

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