Bernardo Chavez Rico was not the man you thought would make electric guitars for heavy metal guitarists. The company, as we know, was started in 1969 when Bernardo made his first electric guitar. Before that, Bernardo was making flamenco and acoustic guitars he sold at the shop he owned in Los Angeles.
Although the thought about flamenco guitars contrasts the heavy metal image B.C. Rich is now associated with, the road to such obscurely designed “heavy metal” models like the famous Warlock was long and not without trouble.
The first original design Bernardo came up with was The Seagull, which was released in 1972. The Seagull was an innovative guitar, as it was one of the first with a neck-through design; a neck-through design features a long neck that stretches to the rear end of the guitar, and two pieces of wood glued up to it to form a guitar shape.
The first “B.C. Rich-like” guitar was introduced four years later – the Mockingbird. The Mockingbird was a distinct guitar which slowly became popular among guitarists, Slash from Guns N’Roses being one of them.
Bich, which was introduced in 1978, was a ten-string monster with an unique design–a neck-through guitar with a chopped off back, it seems a direct predecessor to the Warlock model. More models (with fewer strings) of Bich have surfaced since then, but the ten-stringed Biches still remain valuable for guitar collections.
In 1980, the Warlock was introduced and gained the… hearts? of heavy metal fans. Its X-shaped design, the distinct “metal” design and the tentative name made Warlock a huge success. Guitarists from metal acts such as KISS, Slayer, etc, are using the Warlock model, and new Warlock models are released periodically. The shape of the guitar has changed, with it becoming even pointier than before due to the changes in demand.
In the 90’s, B.C. Rich have made numerous endorsement deals in the metal community; deals were made with the aforementioned KISS and Slayer, Chuck Schuldiner of Death, and Paolo Gregoletto of Trivium.
B.C. Rich have eventually settled (down?) up to create guitars for metal guitar players–from flamencos and acoustics, mind you. However, we cannot know for sure what to expect from the company in the future. New heavy metal guitars could be a pointer death ax, or BC Rich could go conveniently-style guitars, which haven’t really worked out that well for B.C. Rich Guitars. Either way, history will be made!