Unknown 80s model BC Rich

I've been doing some research on BC Rich guitars and found that they used to actually make quality guitars in the 80s, when Bernie Rico Sr. was still in control of the company. Everyone I know who's been playing guitars since "back in the day" says that back in the '80s BCR used to make guitars that were comparable to Jackson/Charvel, Kramer, and even Fender in quality and playability, but have since gone WAAAAAAY down the tubes, what with their agathis bodies and all. Anyway, I recently bought an old 80s NJ Series model for 250 USD that I have no clue what it is. It appears to be a variation of the Gunslinger model with a humbucker in the bridge, two single coil pickups, a Kahler trem, 22 frets bolt-on, black hardware and a sort of pearl white body. It has three individual on/off switches for the pickups, one volume and one tone knob. It is in near-mint condition and plays GREAT! Unfortunately I have no clue what kind of TONE it is capable of since all I own is a 15-watt Behringer practice amp that ALL guitars sound like crap through (Even my friend Ron's Dime-O-Flame Dean and 1985 Charvel Model 4 sound horrid when played through it). Saving up for a Randall half stack, though (Or, if the money situation gets better, an Ampeg Superocket SR-212RT combo). Anyway, the serial number on this guitar is B5835. Any help identifying this (seemingly, so far anyway) great guitar I just bought would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks.

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Zero, I can't help you on the model type (a pic would help, and maybe SB of www.vintaxe.com can chime in) and I won't pretend I like the look of any BC Rich.

HST, you're absolutely right. In the hair-metal 80s, Jackson, BC Rich and Kramer took a lot of sales and Rich used quality components throughout. Fender tried to get in on the act with their "HM" guitars. I would like to dispel the myth that Fender have always produced quality instruments. In the '70s, quality control was pretty indifferent but some of the instruments (particularly the Jazz bass) had charm. '80s Fenders are characterized by bean-counters wilfully destroying the instrument, Strats in particular.

Not very nice alder and even poplar bodies (a hideous-looking wood, poplar - solid colours and 'laid on with a trowel' sunburst to disguise it) are part of the story. They even took to routing a huge rectangle out under the scratchplate to make it easier for the factory to churn out guitars with whatever pickup config was scheduled for that week's run. The pups just dangle in mid-air, making no contact with the wood at all. The only 80s Fenders worth having are the Japanese RIs.

In the 90s, hair metal went out in favour of grunge and the pointy guitars went out of fashion too. I worked for a mag at the time and the s/h expert was always saying that the BCRs offered a lot of good hardware for little money. Yep, the "Platinum" Korean-mades are rubbish (similarly, Gibson turned Kramer into a low-budget brand at the time and Fender bought the Jackson name, IIRC) but they're coming back and BCRs are again made in the USA. If you like the looks (as I said, I don't) $250 is a small price for what you have.

Well, this is not a "pointy" guitar. As i said it is a variation of the Gunslinger, which is a conventional strat-shaped guitar. The only differences between this and the Gunslinger (as far as the eye can see) is that the Gunslinger had a single humbucker in the bridge position, and this has a humbucker in the bridge and two single coils.

My apologies, zero. I never bothered to check up on the look of a Gunslinger, just assumed it would be along the lines of the Mockingbird, Warlock etc. Yes, that GS is much easier on the eye. By way of apology, perhaps I can offer this link as a useful flick-through?

A ton of BCRs for sale on here. I wonder if the ST looks like yours? Have a scroll down and see what you think.

Hi WZ,

Your description sounds like an ST. They were produced around 1987 and came in Blue, Pink and Red. If you can post a pix we can get a positive ID or you can skip lunch and invest in a look at the 1987 catalog on my website VintAxe.com. SB

1bassleft wrote:


A ton of BCRs for sale on here. I wonder if the ST looks like yours? Have a scroll down and see what you think.

There's some scary guitars on there. What was the deal with the Hydra model? And who ever thought that a Mockingbird would look great with f-holes?

It probably is an ST. It looks EXACTLY like this one right here http://www.jcguitars.com/bcrdn1.jpg
, with the knobs and switches in the same exact place and everything. The only difference is that mine is an NJ Series model with black hardware and a Kahler floating trem, and is a sort of pearl white. Auction I bought ot from listed the color as being called Mother of Pearl. I do not have a webcam so I can't take pics of the guitar myself, however I think I do have the pics from the ebay auction I bought it from saved on my hard drive. I THINK. Would they be of help? And if it is indeed an NJ Series ST, would anyone happen to know the specs on them? Such as what type of pickups they were made with, and what body wood was used? And if they were good guitars? As I said above It seems to play great, with low action and a fast neck that feels a lot like the EBMM SUB guitar my friend Jason owns, but the only amp I've played it through is a 15 watt practice amp that will make any guitar sound bad, so I have no clue what type of tones this thing can belt out.[/img]

Oh, and in response to the above remark about the hydra model, Wayne Guitars sells an identical guitar also called the Hydra and says that the guitar was designed by an employee of theirs and that EVH at one point used one. I never knew that BC Rich made an Explorer-shaped guitar, or a Les Paul-shaped guitar. They kind of seem out of place in the BC Rich line. But then again so do the Gunslinger and ST, lol. I do like the look of the Mockingbird, Ironbird, and Jr. V but other than that I don't much care for BC Rich guitars. Though I have played a few and they were nice. My friend Jason owns an EBMM SUB1, an old 1980s NJ Series Warlock that he has upgraded with Gibson pickups, and a MIM Fender strat. I have another friend named Bobby who owns a brand new Kerry King NJ Signature Wartribe model and Jason's old 80s Warlock is a MILLION times better than Bobby's Wartribe. I haven't played very many guitars that I can honestly say are pieces of crap that aren't worth the wood they're built with, but that Wartribe is one of them. It's right down there with my friend Ron's Silvertone strat knock-off that he got as part of a "beginner's kit" (included practice amp, strap, and gig bag). He honestly would have burned that thing years ago if it weren't for the fact that it was his first guitar and has sentimental value.

Thanks for reminding me, WZ. I knew I'd seen that Hydra design somewhere before.

Actually, isn't the shape of the Hydra derived from the outline of the letters WG of Wayne Guitars? (Or did I imagine that?)

Seems odd that BC Rich would build one.

Or is it WC for Wayne Charvel? (He's the BC Rich connection - it seems obvious now).

According to this it was designed by a guy called Jerry Sewell (that name rigns a bell): http://www.wayneguitars.com/nwwd/hydra.htm

A Wayne Charvel model is amongst the many featured in that link I put up. It does look a bit like an ST, but I figured Zero's would be much less likely to be a WC (just noticed the obvious 'toilet' gag).

Some of those scaries I put in the "worst finish" thread, glw.

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