Ironbird NJ Series review by B.C. Rich

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (4 votes)
B.C. Rich: Ironbird NJ Series

Price paid: $ 305

Purchased from: eBay

Features — 8
Made in either 1985 or 87 depending on what you read it was made in Japan or Korea.

  • Bolt on neck
  • 24 frets
  • Rosewood fretboard dot inlays
  • Finish is black
  • Ironbird shape
  • Kahler flyer tremolo double locking ,no accessories at all. I am unsure of what any of the woods are in it. It is really hard to find specifications on B.C. Richs especially the old ones from the '80s it is a NJ series 
  • Gotoh or DiMarzio pickups 
  • 1 humbucker in bridge 1 humbucker in neck
  • 2 volume 1 tone
  • 3-way selector toggle switch Gibson style
  • Passive electronics
Not sure what the frets are but they don't seem to be jumbo compared to my other guitars.

Sound — 8
It suits my style perfectly, I am into metal and neoclassical shred playing. The thin neck is really fast and easy to play. It is not a big wide neck like Jacksons it is narrower and this actually makes it easier to play than I thought at first. It is great for sweeping arpeggios. I use an old Carvin XV212 valve amp with no effects, just the hi lead sound for gain. The sound to me is nice and fat, squealing harmonics ring for ages and are easy to make on this guitar. The pickups are quite full sounding and It is a personal preference of mine to have a humbucker in the bridge for more tonal variety when shredding. It is okay for clean playing but it isn't really made for it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I got it second hand and was set up perfectly. I had to put the neck on it as I got it shipped from the USA to Australia and I put it together in 15 minutes and since it has a Kahler there were no stringing issues. Everything seems fine to me it is an old '80s guitar and the hardware is in great condition. All the frets are fine and the neck is joy to play. Was not sure about how a neck would feel with it been painted but it is surprisingly fast and easy to play. The pickups are great and I have not adjusted them since they seem to be great sounding the way they are. It is easy to play artificial harmonics with this guitar and the Kahler trem allows for huge divebombs and pull back squeals.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't play live much but it is pretty sturdy. The main issue I have with he iron bird is the strap lock positions, the top one is on the back of the guitar which causes it to fall forward when standing so you have to get used to that, It is something strat shape guitars don't do due to the fact the strap locks are in the middle of the horn. It is an old guitar from the '80s and everything on it still works fine strap buttons are solid but as stated above the position of the one on the "horn" of the guitar which is on the back of the body so causes it to lean forward. I would use it without a backup. The Kahler tremolo is great, easy to use and more responsive than any Floyd I have used and stays in tune just fine no matter how much whammy abuse you give it. The paint work is good, the thing with any pointy guitar is it will get knocked and there will be chips on it.

Overall Impression — 9
I play neoclassical shred and metal it is a great match for this style of music. I have been playing for over 20 years, I own Jacksons, Godin, Fender HM Strat, Heartfield ESP LTD, Peavey Tracer, Charvels. I have no regrets on this purchase I got it off eBay. If it was stolen I would replace it. Despite its issue with playing it standing up, it is incredibly comfortable to play sitting down. I love the neck and the way it easy to play fast on it. The pickups are great and deliver one of the fattest sounds of all my guitars, I do hate the position of the strap button the the "horn." The weight is a big plus very comfortable to play sitting down. I would compare it to maybe my Peavey Tracer and possibly my Jackson PC3 for sound and playability. I chose the Ironbird because it was different to all my strat shapes and it had a Kahler trem. I would only change the strap button position for a more comfort when standing.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great that you can shred and all, but the other half of a demo is riffing and clean tone. Would've been nice to hear it really put through its paces.
    The wierd thing is I never posted that video to my review ,That is not me playing .If I could edit the review I would take it out .It is pretty good though as to how the guitar plays ,It is the same deal with the pics posted to the review I think the Ultimate Guitar team posted that vid in their as the links to the pics of a ironbird I have pics of the ironbird I own in my profile.The Ironbird can play clean failrly well with the volume down but to me it isn't wat BC richs are made for. thanks for the comment post though ,cheers
    hi mate , i lookin for one i want buy it cuz one of my favorite guitar and i coudnt found one can you help me , thanks