The Truth of B.C.Rich

by The Great Father of "Rich Bich", Mr. Neal Moser

2002/Aug/25(updated on 2002/Aug/29)

There is only a few resource about origin of the B.C.Rich Guitars. The most popular resource is Vintage Guitar Magazine Archives. However, it is including so many wrong information about not only the YEAR, S/N and Import models but also the REAL history. We have to let you know the correct information. At least, Rich Bich was not there in '76/10 (for Joe Perry). There are NO 74XXX and 75XXX S/N models. Each of them were 6 digit S/N before '76. Further more, The imported models "B.C.RICO" debut was in '80's because there are so many B.C.RICO WAVE guitars. So there are so many wrong information in this article. I'm not the B.C.Rich People, but even I can say these wrong information at least. Is that a REALLY reliable article? Why can you believe that? We have to let you know the "TRUTH".

What is the truth? So, Mr. Bernie Rico Sr. is the great man. He was in the great success as the president of B.C.Rich guitars company with some great guitars. Well, Are all of great guitars such as Rich Bich, Mockingbird designed by Bernie Rico? The answer is NO. There were so many employee and great designers in the B.C.Rich company in those days. The most famous B.C.Rich guitar Rich Bich as the top of the line was designed and produced by one of the great designer, Mr. Neal Moser.

I was so lucky that he was post some comment to my (this) website's BBS. So I could reach to Mr. Neal Moser. Bellow was his comment.

The Rich Bich Guitar was not designed by Bernie Rico. I designed the Bich when Bernie was in Japan working on the NJ deal.

The prototype #1 has a maple neck painted dark maroon and the sides are African Black Walnut.

The serial # is ( PROTO 9 - 77 ) September 1977. They were introduced at the 1978 Winter NAMM.

I was also instrumental in the Seagull redesigns into the Seagull Jr., Pointless Seagull, Seagull 2 into the Eagle.

I also named the Mockingbird, which was designed by a gentleman named Johnny GoGo, who worked at Whittier Plaza Music in Whittier California.

I also designed the electronics. I worked with BC Rich from 1974 to 1985.

I would like to talk with you,
Neal Moser

I sent e-mail to him with some questions. Here is an reply. Here are the "TRUTH".

I am in the process of writing a book on the early days of BC Rich between the years 1974 and 1985. I was in charge of design and assembly set-up for 11 years. I'm the guy that did the final set-up on 98% of all the guitars that went out of BC during those years. It was also my job to hand assemble and maintain the Rock Star endorsees guitars. If you see a picture of a rock star playing a BC between 74' & 85', I put it together. Most people don't understand that Bernie ran the business affairs 95% of the time. Mal Stich ran the office. We had a wood shop that hand built the neck-thru bodies and my department did the assembly and set-up.
There is so much misinformation on the web. I am going to try and correct it. You can help if you would like to.

I left BC in 1985 and joined forces with Lee Garver and we put together Neal Moser Guitars which became GMW Guitarworks. I'm the " M " in GMW. We've been building guitars now for 17 years. Check out the web site.

Here is a picture of me at the 2002 NAMM Show.

Here is a picture of Rick Derringer sitting at my bench at BC playing the Prototype #1 Bich. This was around Nov., Dec., Jan., of 77' 78'.

To answer your questions

Question 1.
About '70's Rich Bich guitar. Regarding your comment, the first prototype was made in Sep '77, and the debut was '78 winter NAMM. My 1980 Red Bich has cloud inlay, however I saw some diamond inlay models in '70's with very early S/Ns ( S/N BICH4 doubleneck, BICH6, BICHXX ). Are diamond inlays only made in '77?

There was always a standard line of guitars that had diamonds. Seagull, Eagle, Mock & Bich. Then there was the upgrade to Supreme on all the lines. That is why you find some with diamonds and some with clouds. There were many more Bich Supremes made than standards. The Rich Bich was the top of the BC Rich line and almost everyone wanted clouds. Even the Prototype has clouds and I designed it for myself and I don't like clouds, I like dots. I like the way they play better.

Question 2.
I confirmed that BICHXX had the Booster Volume that was located in Master Volume area. Is that special circuit? Are there any special circuit of Rich Bich?

The Booster Vol: On the prototype, in the picture above, you will see a mini switch just below the bridge pickup. That is a 3rd booster. The vol control below it is the vol for the booster. If you find factory installed electronics in Bichs with this 3rd booster setup they are very rare, maybe 5 or so. I can't remember exactly how many, it's been a long time.

Question 3.
Also if you have any information about Joe Perry's Red Bich, I am very interested in.

Joe Perry's red Bich: Joe already had Mocks and loved them. He and Brad came down to the factory and saw the Bich and ordered two. Joe's was red and Brad's was blue. I can't give you any earth shaking information about these guitars because there was nothing special about them. I can tell you that he didn't have much use for the 10 string feature and eventually took off the machine heads. That's why you see pictures of Joe playing that guitar with and without machines. We realized in 78' that there would be a lot of people that wouldn't use the 10 string feature and that's why we brought out the 6 string model. I wanted a 10 string, that's why I designed it in the first place. Most people just thought it looked cool and didn't care about the 10 strings.
I also designed the double neck 6 - 12 and the 8 string bass. In short, I designed the whole Bich line. It was my baby.
I designed the Virgin ( the correct name is Scythe ) in 1986 when Lee Garver and I were doing Neal Moser Guitars. How BC Rich got the Scythe and changed the name to Virgin is a long story that I will tell in my book.

Yes, This is the "TRUTH". Unbelievable? O.K. Here is the evidence. This is the centerfold of the November 1978 Guitar Player magazine. It was a BC Rich ad.
B.C.Rich company also said Rich Bich is designed by Neal. It's so easy to understand that there are wrong information on the Vintage Guitar Magazine Article about B.C.Rich History.

The larger size of ad is here. 1 2 3

You can read the Neal's B.C.Rich Book, soon!

Here is his biography. You would know some more his correct information.

Neal Moser Biography

2002/Aug/28 Added 2 more Q&A( Thanks Neal for the answers!)

Q1. The Rich Bich Supreme has the Brazilian Rosewood fret board without binding. The other Supremes have Ebony fret board with binding. Why is there difference?

A1.Good Questions. Because I like Brazilian Rosewood fret boards and I hate binding. It's that simple. My reason for Rosewood: When you do work on your own guitar you want it to be easy. It is much easier to change the fret wire on Rosewood than it is Ebony. My reason for no binding: When a neck is bound it does not allow the fret wire to reach the edge of the board. That gives you less playing area and sometimes in time the frets will move a little and the fret tang will catch the strings, I don't like that. I like wide necks. I had control of how they were built.

Q2. Especially early Bich guitars, there are almost 3 pcs body construction with no stripes. What are the stripes meaning ? Is that depended on tonality reason or only looks reason?

A2. The first run was 50 guitars. They all had diamonds and no stringers. The standard model had diamonds and no stringers. The Supremes had Clouds and custom orders could have any combination. Some Biches were made with clouds, binding and stringers. Some even had binding around the headstock. All of it is cosmetic. Looks good.

Vintage B.C.Rich Maniacs!