Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 7
Crafted in Korea, purchased the overall construction is solid. After two years of using 70-13 gauge strings at B tuning, the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners and neck have endured with no distress. The fact that this guitar has a wrap around hard tail also facilitates the use of heavier strings and down tuning. Alder body is lightweight, a little less than 5 lbs. The shape is definitely unique, like a Jackson Warrior or Ibanez Xiphos, but manageable in classical and casual stance. While standing, it's feels similar to a Gibson Explorer, but smaller, which could take some getting used to depending on how you play. The edges of the body are beveled. The neck is comfortable, it's not a skinny neck, but more averaged width. The ebony fingerboard is VERY slick, great for sliding. Neck-Thru construction is always a plus for any guitar in my opinion, however it was a little cramped near the 24th fret. Jumbo sized frets, 24-5/8" scale length. One volume pot. The laminated onyx finish is glossy and reflective. The passive DiMarzio X2N pickup is this guitar's strongest feature. It's just awesome. Bright bell tones, crystal clarity. It makes the amp sound better! Even a little 5 watt will growl ferociously from this pickup. Finding a suitable case may be challenge, but can be ordered at the B.C. Rich website. A neck pickup and tone pot would also be nice. Strong features but lacking.
Sound — 8
Very bright, because the only pickup is at the bridge. It is full on. This is great if you like to boost your treble and mid, or if you like a more definitive tone. Regardless of whether I run it through my 5 watt micro-cube or my Bogner head n half stack, you can always hear a surplus of gain. Obviously this is a metal guitar, and not much else. Overall, the tone is strong, excessive, clear. Since there is only a bridge pickup, it tends to sound a little nosier. The scratch, punch, bark and bite is all there. Use your EQ on your amp to figure out which you prefer more (Classic metal smiley face EQ for powerful bottom end and squealing). I personally liked a little boost in my treble and mid with a slight cut in the bass to make those lead notes stand out.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I ordered this guitar from a dealer on eBay. When I received it in the mail it was brand new. Everything was perfect. High action was adjusted as it was described on the website. Really nice for shredding. It is a neck-thru so it is made from three pieces of alder. The wrap around bridge can be slightly adjusted by the screws on the sides of the bridge, although in my opinion, making that adjustment barley makes a noticeable difference in your action. A loose volume knob has been a recurring problem, but can be fixed with a small flathead screw driver. I love to tinker with the mechanics of guitars, but since this is already a custom guitar, theres really not a whole lot customization you need to do.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Dependable without a doubt. A hard case will help it endure. I have dropped it a fair share of times, but no permanent damage so far. Whether practicing with your band or playing live, this guitar won't let you down. You need not worry if this your only guitar for your set. It holds tuning well, but will go out a little when using strong vibrato or bends. After two years of abuse, the finish still looks brand new. The volume pot has loosened slightly. The strap buttons hold. I am impressed by how well this little guitar handles 70-13 gauge strings. The Grover tuners work as well as they did the day I bought the guitar, and the neck is also still in good shape.
Overall Impression — 8
Been playing for 10+ yrs. Bogner half stack for gigs, 5 watt micro cube for solo play. Great guitar for metal. I bought it because I'm a huge fan of Chuck Schuldiner. The bad thing is that it kind of pigeon holes you to the rock genre. Not very versatile, but undoubtedly a shredding machine. Of course you could play any genre you like, but the excess gain might be too much for anything softer than death metal, shred, etc. Overall a good guitar. The retail value ($1000) is a little overpriced for its lack of versatility if you ask me, but if you need full on metal-blasting destruction, this guitar rivals among others as a worthy adversary. If lost or stolen perhaps I would try to find a used one, because I already know its durable. Even with a little wear I would still want one.
As someone who wouldn't normally buy a B.C. Rich instrument, this is my one exception. The Tuners, Pickup, Bridge, and Neck are all fantastic. It is built to last. I do wish it had a tone pot and neck pick up, but Chuck preferred a more simple design. Nonetheless, once you start playing it, it will be hard to put down.