These issues were quickly addressed
without question, and problem instruments were repaired or replaced even
many years past the one-year warranty.
In 1968, Bernie made his first electric
solidbody using a Fender neck. This led
to his first attempts at guitar production
in the form of about ten Les Paul-shaped
guitars and basses modeled after the
Gibson EB- 3. Around 1972, Bernie and
an employee named Bob Hall started
developing a model they called the Seagull
(which has no connection to the Godin
Guitars acoustic brand). It was the company’s first production electric guitar, and it
came to market in 1974. Up to that time,
the store’s phone greeting was “Bernardo’s
Guitar Shop.” One day, Stich answered the
phone with, “B.C. Rich,” and some think
that’s the moment the company name
changed and it became a full-fledged guitar
manufacturer with a mission.
“B.C. Rich’s intention was to make
a production-line custom guitar with
high quality and craftsmanship that was
FEATURE > B.C. RICH
very expensive for the day,” says Stich.
“In 1977, they were $999 retail—and
you were paying more than retail if you
could actually find one.”
Although, B.C. Rich was often
referred to as a custom shop at the time,
it wasn’t custom in the conventional
sense of the word. “The guitars were
handcrafted, but they were still produc-
tion guitars. People might request special
inlays or maybe Bartolini Hi-A pickups
instead of DiMarzios, but basically it
was a production-line guitar,” explains
Stich. The company had facilities in
both California and Tijuana, Mexico.
All the workers were from Mexico, and
both shops freely interchanged parts. For
the electric guitars, Bernie would send
wood, fretboards, frets, inlays, glues, and
other materials over to Mexico, and then
drive down once a month to pick up
the assembled guitars, which were then
painted and finally assembled in L.A.
The steel-string acoustics, however, were
made right there in L.A.