B.C. RICH
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B.C. RICH
Electric guitars currently produced in Hesperia, CA, Korea, and China. Distributed by the Hanser Music Group in Hebron, KY. Previously distributed by B.C. Rich, HHI, and Davitt & Hanser Music in Cincinnati, OH.
Luthier Bernardo Chavez Rico used to build classical and flamenco guitars at Bernardo's Valencian Guitar Shop, the family┬┤s business in Los Angeles. During the mid-1960s folk music boom (and boom in guitar sales), a distributor suggested a name change - and B.C. Rich guitars was born. Between 1966 and 1968, Rico continued to build acoustic guitars, then changed to solidbody electrics. The company began producing custom guitars based on Fender and Gibson designs, but Rico wanted to produce designs that represented his tastes and ideals. The Seagull solidbody (first produced in 1971) was sleek, curvy, and made for rock'n roll. Possessing a fast neck, hot-rodded circuitry and pickups, and a unique body profile, this was (and still is) an eye-catching design.
In 1974, Neal Moser joined the company. Moser also had a hand in some of the guitars designed, and further explored other designs with models like the Mockingbird, Eagle, Ironbird, and the provocatively-named Bich. The first 6-tuners-on-a-side headstocks began to appear in 1981. In the mid-1980s, B.C. Rich moved from Los Angeles to El Monte, California.
The company began to import models in the U.S. Production Series, Korean-produced kits that were assembled in the U.S. between 1984 and 1986. In 1984, the Japanese-built N.J. Series line of B.C. Rich designs was introduced, and were built by the Terada company for two years. Production of the N.J. series was moved to Korea in 1986 (models were built in the Cort factory).
In 1988, Rico licensed the Korean-built, lower priced Platinum and entry level Rave Series to the Class Axe company, and later licensed the B.C. Rich name and designs in 1989. Class Axe moved production of the U.S.-built guitars to a facility in Warren, New Jersey, and stepped up importation of the N.J. (named after Nagoya, Japan - not New Jersey), Platinum, and Rave Series models.
Unfortunately, the lower priced series soon began to show a marked drop in quality. In 1994, Rico came back out of semi-retirement, retook control over his trademark, and began to rebuild the company. Rico became partners with Bill Shapiro, and the two divided up areas of responsibility. Rico once more began building acoustic and high end electrics at his Hesperia facilities, and Shapiro began maintaining quality control over the imported N.J., Platinum, and U.S. series in San Bernadino. In 1998, Davitt & Hanser Music of Cincinnati, Ohio began distributing the import models (N.J., Platinum, and Bronze Series). On Decemeber 3, 1999 Bernie Rico passed away. In 2002, B.C. Rich introduced the first guitar to feature a factory-installed Floyd Rose Speedloader tremolo. In 2003, Neal Moser unveiled the 25th Anniversary B.C. Rich Limited Edition Bich Guitar. Moser worked with Bernie Sr. in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2004, archtop guitars made their debut. Additional model commentary courtesy Bernie Rich, President/Founder of B.C. Rich International, May 1997.

From Blue Book Publications:


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