I am going to get a custom built Mockingbird from B.C. Rich. My mom is getting it for me, and she said that her boyfriend knows some guys that can kinda hook me up. I really kinda wanted my own special unique kind of guitar. I currently play a left-handed (I'm a lefty) SX RST strat copy that I got last Christmas. I wanted to know if there was any special things I should try getting for the Mockingbird. I generally don't know what is ok to ask for, I'm a really big newbie to guitars so I only know the basics. I was thinking of a green sunburst finish, I've always been a fan of that. I also really like Jaguar/Jazzmaster floating tremolos, Is there anything similar to that I could get? I was also wondering if there's anything I could do to make the guitar sound "Grunge-y" Or is it good with anything. I know Mockingbirds are more associated with Slash than any grunge sounds but I really love the shape of them. I'm sorry if I'm sounding kind of like an idiot right now but I've been on UG Forums before and I thought it would probably be the best place to ask.
Last edited by M1Machete at Dec 9, 2014,
A custom shop BC Rich is kindof a huge step up for a newbie. If you can get it, then more power to you. But you should probably get a little more experience before you decide what you want from a custom model.
Quote by OroborosYinYang
A custom shop BC Rich is kindof a huge step up for a newbie. If you can get it, then more power to you. But you should probably get a little more experience before you decide what you want from a custom model.

This. Knowing what you want from a custom involves playing lots of guitars for years and knowing what you like.

Also, the Mockingbird if very neck heavy and neck dives a lot. Just a warning.
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Yeah. I agree with them. Don't get me wrong- I totally disagree with the notion that some have that as a newer player you should put up with a crap guitar as some kind of pointless rite-of-passage or whatever, but if you're getting a custom guitar you really need to know what you want so that you don't get something stupid which won't work, or that you aren't disappointed (because resale is normally pretty poor on anything custom-made, especially if you've personalised it a lot with weird specs).

It's kind of made much more difficult by the fact you're left-handed, but the first thing to do is to try as many different types of guitars with different specs, pickups, neck profiles etc. as you can and start to make notes about what you like and don't like. That way you can start to narrow down what you want for a custom.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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look through all the shapes and pay the BC Rich website a visit. I sanded down this ugly sunburst strat earlier this week because it's so over done. But I'd be a kid in a candy store over that experience. Either a new warlock or finally get to play a draco.

some unique looks
bursts are always a good thing. there is more than just sunburst. cherry burst to whatever
burls - like elm burl
quilted maple / figured maple tops are a classic too.
You can get quilted maple with a burst on it for example. This is why I say check out the BC Rich website and see what they can do to their guitars.

grover tuners - locking or not
a graphtech tusq nut - or a brass nut
ask for a volute (thumb rest) on the back of the neck to keep it from snapping when you drop ti.
25.5 scale
stainless steel frets - jumbo size
24 frets
inlays are up to you , the pictures on the fretboard - draw your own out if you're creative
fretboard material matters big time - google what you think you'll like the best
neck material same thing - mahogany or maple are the two big
make sure it's neckthrough All the best bc riches are
binding isn't necessary and just makes it harder to re-fret a guitar
pickups it's a matter of taste. Describe the sound you're after to the builders
electronics - it depends on if you go active or passive I can talk about this more
bridge? a string through bridge is the best for sustain - tonepros?
body wood - it's preference again.

avoid active pickups if you really want to appreciate the guitar through the amp the first while. If you forever reason want to switch to a shitty set of EMG pickups down the road go for it.

for information on body woods to see what works best- warmoth is a great resource to learn how they affect the guitar.
fretboard wood - maple , rosewood or ebony
neck wood - mahogany or maple
body wood - ash , alder , mahogany, bubinga . korina , swamp ash

other things to consider
neck shape - C is like a strat - D is like certain les pauls - V is like Dean guitars , U shaped necks are like jacksons mostly- play a few in a shop and see what you like
the thicker the body and or neck make for a louder guitar
the longer the neck the lower the guitar can tune -25.5 is pretty common I like 27 for certain things.
I also would suggest going a little more slowly. I'm an acoustic guitarist who had several major and fairly expensive fails with electrics before I really started to appreciate what I needed/wanted - eg a decent amp, P90 style pickups and don't worry about the lump of wood too much. I think it comes down to the idea that if you have to ask general, rather than fairly specific questions, you are better off leaving it for a bit.

A left handed custom guitar in a non-trad style may be hard to sell for a decent price if you decide that you don't like it.
Before you pull the trigger on something so big you might want to try playing a Mockingbird. I own an Exotic Classic and it's definitely not bad, but it is a real pain to play sitting down, at least for me. The top horn jabs into my chest/ribs all the time. Of course it's not a USA custom model so I can't compare the quality, but the shape obviously stays the same. And as mentioned, it will neck dive. I played mine at 2 - 2 1/2 hour long gigs before and it isn't the most comfortable in that situation either.

If you're really set on the look of a Mockingbird, try to find as many different models to play as you can at a local shop. Some have the 24 3/4 scale and 22 frets. Some are 24 5/8 and 24 frets. Not a big deal, but you'll have to choose. Some have Floyds (Like Slash's) and some have the typical stopbar tailpiece. Do you want the 5-position varitone filter knob, two coil tap switches and a reverse phase switch (Like Slash's)? Or do you just want the basic 3 position pickup selector and volume and tone knobs? Do you want something completely different from those two? When you want to switch pickups quickly, would you rather have the selector switch at the top of the guitar like a Les Paul, where you hit it on an upstroke? Or would you want it to be down below the bridge so you can hit it on a downstroke? You have to know EXACTLY the controls you want and where you want them... because a custom guitar that doesn't suit your play style the best isn't a custom guitar at all.

BTW I'm not usually a fan of green but it does look nice on a Bird, I do agree with that...

You might want to wait a while until you have more experience. Personally I'm not a very good guitar player, but I absolutely positively know my likes and dislikes in a guitar. Even with that said, picking and choosing hardware, making decisions on a custom guitar would make me pull my hair out. If you buy a custom guitar and are not satisfied with it you're just going to be 100x more disappointed than if it were a mass production model.
Last edited by Explorer91 at Dec 9, 2014,
I'd have to agree with the other guys here, get some more experience before pulling the trigger on a custom shop. You're very fortunate to have the opportunity, but trust me if you got something built you'd probably regret it in 6-12 months and be kicking yourself because you didn't get something with different specs.

Get a bit more experience, look at all the different options that BC Rich offer and try and figure out what you like. If they offer say 6 different neck styles and 3 or 4 different fingerboards be very sure that you know which ones YOU like. As a newbie a lot of people will tell you what you should have, which defeats the purpose of the custom shop as they tailor a guitar to suit your personal preferences.

FWIW I've been playing for 7 years and I still wouldn't know what I'd want if I was forced into the Fender Custom Shop to get a Strat made for me :P
almost forgot getting super technical though, ask for "Compound raidus" for the frets. You may not appreciate it now but you will if it's good enough for deluxe fenders it's good enough for your dream guitar. You get better bends and chords.

hope you get the perfect guitar.
My ¢2:

I have custom guitars, and they're AWESOME!

However, despite having the $$$$ to go custom at any time, I waited 10 years before designing my first one. Why? Because, while I knew what guitars I liked on the market, I didn't know what was the perfect guitar for me. And it is an involved process.

I had to choose body woods, fingerboard woods, neck woods, hardware, pickups, the neck's profile & radius...EVERYTHING. It took months of research by me and conversations with the luthier before he even laid pencil to wood to start figuring out where to cut and how.

And I have also bought guitars made by luthiers that were custom made for others who then decided they didn't like what they got. Despite the high-quality of workmanship, the physical guitars did not match the concept the customers desired. That's not saying the luthiers messed up, but rather, the customers' decisions resulted in a disparity between concept and execution.

So, I would advise you to find a good commercial guitar before going straight to custom. That will help you refine what it is you really want. Odds are good that you'll be happier in the long run.
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Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Congrats on having the opportunity, M1 Machete. It's a great feeling to be able to have a guitar built just for you.

A lot is being spoken about gaining more experience to eventually know what guitar specs you really want. Have you considered that this experience will come from listening to a variety of guitar players, who at some point will probably influence you?

During my initial years, I played mainly blues rock and 60's/70's rock, and I was in love with the Gibson Les Paul for its sheer beauty.

Soon, I started getting into shred and instrumental guitar. A couple of years later, I wanted to try a Floyd Rose and got an Ibanez S Series. I didn't know why, but playing to Malmsteen and Vai felt so good on my new guitar.

At that time, I didn't know about neck types. It was only later that I learnt that flat necks (which my S Series had) were favored by shredders because they made shredding easier. Now, I'll only buy a guitar with a slim or flat neck.

Once you increase your musical repertoire, your playing preferences will be shaped accordingly, and this will influence what you like in a guitar. Who knows, the Mockingbird may not be what you want anymore.

The guys here have given great advice, and I hope I've been of some help too.

All the best!
Quote by M1Machete
I am going to get a custom built Mockingbird from B.C. Rich. My mom is getting it for me, and she said that her boyfriend knows some guys that can kinda hook me up. I really kinda wanted my own special unique kind of guitar. I currently play a left-handed (I'm a lefty) SX RST strat copy that I got last Christmas.

1. Get it now, while your mom still has that boyfriend <G>.

2. You're going to want to find out what you CAN get from BC Rich; there may not be as many options as you think.

3. Be conservative with the options. I'd definitely NOT try to put a Mustang trem on one, but a Floyd's a no-brainer (assuming that you use a trem). You want it unique, but you also don't want things that will simply get in the way. Recognize that your tastes are going to change, so you don't want to slant that guitar TOO far in one direction. You want it to stay with you. My black skull-and-crossbones-graphic bass works with a church praise and worship group only because they think it's cute and ironic and sort of pirate-y.

4. I usually tell left-handers to try to learn to play right-handed (there are a lot of those out there) because there are a LOT more right-handed guitars and because there's really no issue learning one way or the other early on. But if you're going to insist on using left-handed guitars, you're definitely going to want to snag THIS guitar while you can.
have you played a Mockingbird? just so you know there is no way you'll get them to do a jazzmaster style trem on it. custom shop doesn't mean anything you want in most cases. you can get any of the features they normally do even if it's not standard on that particular model. as for your moms boyfriend unless he works at BC Rich I kinda doubt he will have much if any influence on this deal. ordering from BC Rich takes time and you may not get your guitar for almost a year. you are looking at a cost of upwards of $4000. for that kinda cash you can get a great guitar off the shelf and have money for a great amp and fx as well. no point in getting a high end custom guitar if it's going to be played through low end gear.

BC Rich makes some great guitars but they're necks aren't for everybody. if you are used to playing a strat style neck it will be a big change. I play both strats and a BCR Eagle. going from one to the other takes a bit of adjusting.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Dec 10, 2014,