An Interesting Guitar from 41 Years Ago

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by new6659, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    I got this out last night and am impressed, as always, with what a great and well thought out guitar this is. From the serial number it is a 1978 BC Rich Eagle from back when the BC Rich brand was still a custom shop maker in California (?) and before they started licensing production in the Far East.. I bought it from McTamney's pawnbrokers on Church Street in Toronto in about 1983. It's a neck through body with two Dimarzio Dual Sound pu's (I think) and two hand made preamps inside the body. They may have been called a compressor and an expander (like the Gibson RD Artist which was from a similar time and which I once had:(). Maple neck and body with rosewood fingerboard and body wing to neck strips.

    There's a master volume and master tone with coil splitting and phase reversal along with on/offs for the preamps and the toggle switch, 10 controls in all. MOP inlays.

    What says something about the craftmanship that went into this is the way the neck was canted back using a thin wedge of wood to create a fingerboard extension to allow the Badass bridge to be used. I can imagine a number of ways to back angle the neck and cut the wedge (none of them very good!) but BC Rich must have been set up with some well thought out woodworking jigs and fixtures to achieve this feature. You can see the thin wedge below:
    It's not a Gretsch but I think it's still a pretty cool and versatile guitar. Saw Dominic Troiano playing a very similar Mockingbird (same control set up) once upon a time. Hope you've enjoyed this bit of yesterday.....
    MKunie, G5422T, Merc and 5 others like this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Interesting guitar and well preserved for a 41 yo.

    I'm gonna be blunt, I'm not sure of the use of a wedge to archieve a neck angle on a neck-through design though. You could cut the neck-through extra thick on the body side and cantilever the neck to archieve the desired neck angle and shave the protruding parts flat with the bodywings.
    Maybe they insisted on matching the grain with the wings, But that implies they actually cut the neck at an angle leaving half open pores. Not the best decision for a neck(see Gibson headstocks).
    new6659 and englishman like this.
  3. Beardog

    Beardog Country Gent

    Apr 15, 2018
    Nova Scotia
    Cool looking guitar
    new6659 likes this.
  4. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    Yeah, I think it's pretty cool looking too.
    Looked it up and it weighs almost 10 pounds :eek:
    new6659 and Beardog like this.
  5. afire

    afire Country Gent

    By the time I started playing guitar, all I knew BC Rich as was this kind of stuff...
    It wasn't until many years later that I found out that the early stuff was much classier and sort of in the Alembic style. I particularly like the styling of the early Seagull models. They have a '50s Carvin vibe.
    thunder58, new6659 and Beardog like this.
  6. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    A whole lot of those 80's guitars are starting to demand a lot of money in the used market these days. The BC Rich, Kramer, etc. guitars lead to all the pointy guitars which some here hate but I personally like a lot of them. Many are much more versatile then the heavy metal music that they are tied to. (Just like Gretsch guitars are much more than just rockabilly). My Carvin DC 127 from 1992 is one of my most versatile guitars and it's pretty pointy...:D and very easy to play with easy access to the highest note.
    DannyB and new6659 like this.
  7. not_man_davo

    not_man_davo Gretschie

    Feb 13, 2015
    I'm not ashamed to admit that I DESPERATELY wanted a black warlock with red contour stripe when I got my first guitar. I was 11 and it was 1986 so what can a fella do? My dad, wisely, suggested a strat and I still have it to this very day. (I'd still kinda like a Warlock though)
    new6659, blueruins and loudnlousy like this.
  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    You don`t see guitars like that all too often. Nice condition, too.
    When I was a kid I was lusting for an original US made BC-Rich but there were not all too many available over here in Germany. By bassist bought a nice BC Rich fourstring in those times and I setteled for a Jackson RR. Had a neck-through-construction like the Rich and served me very well for years.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    new6659 likes this.
  9. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    Feb 25, 2019
    Cool stuff!

    I would swear on a Bible I knew someone who had one of those about 35 years ago but I couldn't tell you who if you put a gun to my head.
  10. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    You've made an interesting and accurate observation about how the neck is canted back. It might be that they felt that the use of hard maple would make the headstock angle strong enough to resist the occasional drop. The hard maple used for the neck through body is quarter sawn and it has a rosewood headstock faceplate which would also help with strength in that area. It is also is quite heavy (measured at 9.5 lb for the guitar as seen) and has the type of maple grain I would hate to try and carve as it is so hard and dense. I think that can be seen in the first photo of the body. From the look of it, the body wings and the neck section all come from one board of wood. I'm not sure how many neck through body designs existed at the time this was made but I think the approach they used was clever and quite a challenge from a woodworking point of view.
    Ricochet likes this.
  11. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    I think you're quite right here. This instrument seems to be Bernie Rico's attempt to do it all and make it as versatile as possible. I couldn't pin point a single type of musical style it is designed for; I think this was aimed at studio musicians who needed to come up with lots of sounds at the drop of a hat. When I saw Troiano with one, it was in a recording studio.
  12. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    There are plenty of positives to this build. The use of (dense) quarter-sawn maple would certainly make it a sturdy enough build. Weight is not bad. One of my favs(for tone) remains an all mahogany LP copy coming in at 11.5lbs. :)

    The first neckthrough. Some would say by Les Paul. His "Log" prototype was just that... In the 1930's there was Paul Tutmarc, but I think that was a neckthrough fiddle of sorts(electrified mind you). Still an interesting and pivotal anecdote in the evolution of the electic guitar.
    new6659 likes this.
  13. GAMBLER1234

    GAMBLER1234 Electromatic

    Jan 18, 2018
    Henderson Nevada
    I remember gassing over those and the Mockingbird back in the day. Very cool.:)
    new6659 likes this.
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