Really Stupid Story.....
I am proud to say, I was involved
in the original design of this BC Rich guitar, and it's subsequent
When I first
designed this guitar, I never intended it to be sold under the BC
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
I called this article a
Story", because I think that people
who base their buying decisions solely on name brand, are
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,
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.
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
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
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
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)
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.