A Really Stupid Story

A Really Stupid Story

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Here's A Really Stupid Story.....

I am proud to say, I was involved in the original design of this BC Rich guitar, and it's subsequent revisions. 

When I first designed this guitar, I never intended  it to be sold under the BC Rich name. 

I felt that, the PRS & Gibson  types would not even look at it, especially if they thought it was made by BC Rich. I wanted to distribute it separately I wanted to hide the fact that BC Rich was involved in this guitar.

My reasoning was that BC Rich was a quality guitar, but the average close minded PRS/Gibson  lover would never even consider a guitar with a metal heritage.

I argued this with Bernie Rico Sr., who disagreed with me. He didn't understand my marketing concept. He felt that because BC Rich was an established name people would buy it.

I guess the guitar industry will never know for sure who was right and who was wrong. I am quite sure I was right. The guitar never really did sell very well. I had moderate success with it because I continued to call it "The Mystery Guitar" for about 3 years.   I made some minor cosmetic changes to this guitar and today I call it the Abstract Druid.

I am sure I would have sold many less if I had revealed to the customer who the manufacturer was. I can recall many a customer who were interested in purchasing one of these. Upon finding out the manufacturer was BC Rich, many of them lost interest almost instantly.

BC Rich got a real bad rap from bringing in those cheap imports, There are millions of people out there that don't even know about the real BC Rich guitars.

For example at least once a day I will field a phone call asking for a BC Rich?   I always respond by asking the customer if he is looking for the real USA one or the inexpensive fake import. Whereupon usually the customer will tell me he wants a real BC Rich and not a fake. in 80% of the cases he will go on and tell me he already has 2 or 3 BC Rich guitars and that's all he plays. He will tell me how he paid $300.00 for one and $275.00 for the other.  It becomes painfully obvious to me that guy has imported models which over the past 20 years have been produced by 35 or more foreign companies. After I realize this it becomes even more painfully obvious that this guy has probably never really played a real BC Rich. What I don't understand is, why the product loyalty is so strong ?

Here's a guy playing a guitar that is about the same quality as a Chinese Fender Squire, It is made from inferior grades of wood, uses cheap pickups, licensed cheap Floyd Rose's nothing much to get excited about.  Plus they cost 3 to 4 times what a cheap Fender costs. I just can't understand the blind product brand loyalty. 

The real BC Rich handmade models are awesome guitars that sell between $4,200.00 and $8,500.00 and they are worth what they cost. To my knowledge there are barely 3 dealers in the USA who stock any of these. In 2006 BC Rich made a total of 190 handmade guitars for the whole world. I would guess that I sold between 30 and 40 of them in our store alone. Plus we also specialize in carrying the old models back when BC Rich was making all their guitars in the USA.


This Is The Very First BC Rich   Exclusive Ever Built. It was built it in my Custom Shop 1996.

Notably this was the first BC Rich guitar ever to utilize a mahogany back and a 3/4" maple top. Previously all BC Rich guitars were built using either solid Maple, Koa or Mahogany.  (Not financially practical & not tonally intelligent)

Also, this model was the first ever BC Rich to go into production using a Tuna-Matic bridge instead of the inferior Quadmatic. In my opinion, this guitar was the very first guitar to come out that was superior in many ways to the PRS.  At the time (1996) PRS was still the best guitar money could buy.  (Today See This Page)

My reasoning was simple, This guitar offered a 24 fret neck through body with no heel, beautiful tops, bound body, bound neck, ebony fretboard an a far superior bridge system.  All things totally unavailable from PRS even at this writing which is 10 years later.

The Exclusive or Mystery Guitar also offered Abalone Purfling on the body & neck, choice of pickups, choice of inlays & numerous other options that PRS simply did not offer.


I called this article a "Really Stupid Story", because I think that people who base their buying decisions solely on name brand, are intellectually challenged. 

These people get a name brand burned into their head, and can't see one inch past their noses. They cheat themselves out of many good things, because they simply won't give anything else a chance.

In 1999 I decided to release the Quicksilver Guitar & I stopped calling this "The Mystery Guitar"  I listed this guitar along with all the other BC Rich Models.  I think I may have sold a grand total of two of these, since I buried the name, "Mystery Guitar".

Notice the sweeping line at the neck joint, This was yet another reason this guitar was better than the PRS. There was no heel to get in the way.

It's totally ironic that when Bernie died, his son chose this guitar to immortalize him. This guitar was the main topic of 15 conversations between Bernie & myself before he died.

As I mentioned above I decided to promote my own guitars in 1999 and released The Quicksilver. The Quicksilver offers everything the Exclusive does cosmetically. The Quicksilver has a superior tone due to the direct coupled construction and my trademarked pickup mounted neck mounting system.

If you would like to see the next generation of designs after this guitar I suggest you look at the Abstract, They come with  numerous neck mounting options and have proven to be the most versatile guitars I have ever built. I make over 200 body shapes, essentially they are all the same guitar.



Letter From A Consumer

Ed, I have spent an hour or so reading thru your web site dialogue with respect to American vs non-American made guitars..............first thanks for your honesty....there are probably a few folks that are not your best friend for your comments, but so what....

I'm 57, and have had many LP's Strats and the like over the last 40 years......but I am just a fan/aficionado of the instrument now, as my playing is for my own amusement and psychological well-being.....

I own about 15 electrics, and except for a PRS I acquired VERY cheaply, all my guitars were made in Japan, Korea, and Indonesia and China.....I am a Tokai freak, and I have one Tokai Strat from 77 or so that is a keeper....

but I have 3 LP's, a 335, a V and and Explorer....all Tokai's.....average cost to me about $400 or so.....I have modified some pickup combinations, but the main comment from anyone and everyone that has seen these guitars (including dealers) is just what great guitars they are...

and why not? what is the culture that disdains a well made guitar from a foreign land? since I can't pay $20 grand for a 65 Strat.....am I crazy? I used to buy the same guitars by the handfuls for $150 each....in today's market I guess I would be a rich man...oh well, too bad, so sad...

thanks for the comments.....what a nice breath of air......

Rick Johnson (the attachment is of my home guitar wall)

Hello Rick
I agree with you completely when it comes to Gibson,  Tokai has been building a better Gibson than Gibson has for years. And Gibson is keenly aware of it themselves. In the case of Fender, The Jap Strats that are no longer available were the best ones I ever sold and that includes the custom shop. let me clarify by stating "Japanese", not Indonesian, not Mexican, Not Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, or made in India.

You would be very surprised to know some of the companies that Tokai manufactures guitars for. Many of the Orientals have proved untrustworthy. There are companies out there who manufacture guitars for American companies, then they make up a new brand and sell the same guitar under another name. Just look on Ebay there are maggots crawling all over the place on there. (I cannot mention names etc for fear of legal reprisals)

I would be the first to defend Gibson if I thought of them as a legitimate group of guitar people. Unfortunately for everyone Gibson has done things so incredibly distasteful that they deserve everything they get.  The prices they are charging is downright highway robbery and while not illegal, I believe them to be immoral and unethical.

The PRS in the picture, I think you cheated yourself on!!!!  You bought the brand name but you didn't really buy a real PRS.  All the original PRS guitars were 24 frets and didn't have that ugly large heel behind the neck. (Give me a call, I will give you a 15 minute education)

My website is primarily about custom guitars, Someday I hope to only sell custom guitars. unfortunately economics forces me to buy and sell Hello Kitty Fender Guitars.