However, the shape of the Eagle was somewhat toned down in comparison; the body spike was eliminated, and the cutaways grew longer on the top and shorted on the bottom. The guitar was developed by Neal Moser, who worked with legends including Hendrix and Crosby.
This gave the Eagle a very forward oriented, sleek design. Due in large part to Moser’s contributions, the sheer impact of the Bich cannot be underestimated. Rich’s most , no single guitar changed the face of the heavy metal genre as much as the Warlock.
Rico’s next guitar was the Wave, also introduced in 1983. Rich NJ Series guitars were built by Masan Tarada and Iida. By 1981 the numbers were about four years ahead, and this gap remained fairly constant until Rico stopped making B. The white Mockingbird shown here is 87688 from 1983.
“The Wave was the finest bass I’ve ever designed,” says Rico, “in terms of thickness and width and how it was laid out. Anyhow, as a tribute to Conti — whom I never actually met in person — I designed an archtop jazz guitar with neck-through construction and heelless neck joint. Many people incorrectly assume that “NJ” stand for New Jersey. Two other imported guitars from this time which you might encounter include the 335 Standard, as you might guess a thinline acoustic-electric, and the Diamond Series, which were basically acoustic guitars with a diamond-shaped soundhole and built-in pickup made by Tarada. Bolt-neck guitars are less precise for the usual reasons.
Nowhere is the impact of shape more relevant than in the history of B. As a celebrated Flamenco and Classical style guitarist, Bernie’s knowledge of the extreme degrees of tone, playability, and uniqueness demanded by top notch from their instruments certainly played a consequential role in developing what would become choice company of Aerosmith, Slayer, and numerous other players. The Mockingbird was so popular that Guitar World actually ranked it number one in their “Coolest Guitar” contest. The empty glass soda bottles, littered around the shop, would have drawn one’s eyes away from the guitars, away from the motorcycles and the tools, and even away from the flourishing musicians in the corner.
The cluttered room must have felt extremely full during its heyday, but no matter how overfilled the room seemed, something must have been missing.
“It was working with the banjos,” says Rico, “that taught me what I know about tone and timbre, all tension, with tension hoops in place of struts.” In a way, you can say that Sabicas not only was the main influence on Rico’s guitar playing, but was also the main influence on his guitar making. Rich name came from Bernie’s friend Bobby, although all the parts were actually just Anglo adaptations of his own family’s names. In 1968 Rico built his first custom electric solid body. Rich was able to obtain Gibson pickups, and the earliest Riches used Gibson humbuckers. Finally, in around 1974, Rico called Larry Di Marzio and asked him if he could make four-lead, dual sound humbuckers. The first Mockingbird was a short-scale bass.” “We were on a roll,” continues Rico. The resulting guitar was a sort of squared off Bunker guitar combined with elements taken from the Eagle. One of the first Biches went to Joe Perry of Aerosmith in October of ’76. In 1988 Rico licensed the Rave and Platinum names to Class Act, and they essentially took over importing, marketing and distributing the foreign-made lines. After almost three decades of continuous guitar-making, the idea of a well-paid vacation without worrying about the rent sounded good, and Rico licensed the B. Rich name to the new outfit for a three year period, during which time American-made B. However, as with most people devoted to their craft, Bernie Rico’s vacation was short-lived.
Despite the advent of the Warlock ending the period of the classic B. Rich guitar designs, the company has by no means stopped producing innovative shapes and of V’s, show only slight changes from the original V design, but others feature much more elaborate alterations.
The Beast V, for example, combines the classic V design with the body shape of the Warbeast, a modified Warlock.
The ensuing combination results in a guitar with the classic V shape but with a distinctly metal twist.
Over the years, only about 35 doubleneck guitars were built. Finally, there were the RTJG and RTSG jazz guitars.
Whether its the hands of a sculpture, the pen of a writer, or a voice of a singer, the ability to shape an artistic medium contributes wildly to the captivating nature of art. Like any successful company, the founder, Bernado Chavez Rico, had a strong personal connection with his product, a connection which helped him to understand the colossal significance of shaping both tone and design in modern day music. Rich began; no, it began instead in a cramped workroom in East LA. Rich’s humble designs outcompeted classics like the Les Paul and the Strat and his father’s workshop is the stuff of legends.
The mass was spread out over a wider area and it had great harmonic overtones.” Very few of these guitars were ever made. The Condor was basically an upscale Eagle with a 1" thick carved flamed maple top and mahogany body (this guitar is offered today as the Eagle Archtop). These had 24 frets, and at the 24th fret there was a pearl inlay engraved with ‘Conti’.” B. Rich had become so successful by the mid-’80s that the company — like other American brands such as Dean and Kramer — inevitably turned to importing guitars. Rico travelled to Japan in late 1983 and toured a number of factories. This is easy to understand, because later the company headquarters would be in New Jersey. Again, as with other major American manufacturers, Rico also sooned turned to Korea as a source for budget models. The serial number is stamped on a neck plate, and like every other company, when the guitar was being finished, someone grabbed a plate out of the box and put it on.