Whether you’ve met me in person or seen me on stage or not makes no difference. Most folks who have followed my various musical endeavors know I’m pretty obsessed with vintage B.C. Rich guitars. My love for B.C. Rich axes is unparalleled except for my similar addiction to Gibsons (especially vintage ones!). Where it took ages for me to actually get my hands on a vintage Gibson, I snagged several old B.C. Rich axes during the mid to late 1990s. I’m glad the company—no longer in the hands of the Rico family—acknowledges how much of a legacy these awesome looking, feeling and sounding guitars have in the rock and metal fields. Paying homage to those hoary and hairy days of yore, original B.C. Rich axe designer/builder Neal Moser returned to some fine workmanship under his own Moser Custom Shop banner, occasionally refurbishing old and road-worn BCRs. One simply cannot talk about early B.C. Rich guitars and leave Neal Moser out of the equation.
Now I’ve decided to allow folks to have a stroll down B.C. Rich memory lane with me. I’ll go in order of axe acquisition and ramble a bit about each guitar, plucking random thoughts from upstairs.

1. 1991 Class Axe licensed NJ Series B.C. Rich Virgin (Nagoya, Japan). 

bcr%2Bvirgin B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
1993 – with Class Axe-era Virgin

Bolt-on neck. Color: Black. Stock pickups: EMG Select. Licensed Floyd Rose tremolo. Diamond mother of pearl inlays.

This was the second guitar I ever owned. The first was a terrible and frustrating 1989 Charvel Avenger. Since we’re concentrating on B.C. Riches, we won’t go there. Back to the Virgin: Originally I wanted to get a black Warlock, but I saw an ad for the Virgin in a guitar mag, then spied it in the flesh and instantly thought it was an undeniably cool shape. I had a play on a red Virgin in a local shop, and ordered one in black. It looked great, but sonically lacked. The neck joint was enormous and clunky. The stock EMG Select humbuckers were among the worst pickups I’ve ever played, although I had no clue about pickups at the time. I’ve tried tons in the years between. But that didn’t matter back then. I dug the roundish neck profile and the jumbo frets.

91bcrrig B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
1992: with the Virgin and mismatched Carvin/Marshall half-stack

Soon I learned that I hated the licensed Floyd Rose trem, found the pickups were very low output and dropped notes out… Still I played the hell out of it. The first kegger I ever played was on this sucker. Even before the keg party, I used the Virgin at the first high school band gig I did in front of a few hundred kids and parents. Took me a good 2-3 years to change pickups. Mistake no. 2. Never trust a music shop salesman to sell you anything.They’re looking at the bottom line and possibly more commission. Do your homework. I realized the EMG Selects were crap, but I had little experience in that area—just knew I wanted to try DiMarzio. Hell, Death’s Chuck Schuldiner used that brand. A dude working at the same shop in Sherman Oaks where I bought the Virgin picked up a little clear pickup box and said, “This has you written all over it, the Humbucker from Hell.” The name exuded wads of output, and I figured I’d be getting my hands on a very hot pickup. Uh… nope. The Humbucker from Hell is a humbucking pickup that emulates the tone of a single coil without the noise. It was decidedly the exact opposite of what I wanted out of a pickup in that blistering heavy metal moment. Live and learn. Had I done my homework, I would’ve settled on the DiMarzio X2N, the high-output ceramic magnet blade humbucker employed by Chuck Schuldiner. The neck pickup I chose was decent, a DiMarzio Air Classic. I clung to the Virgin for another year and a half. At least I didn’t have problems with notes dropping out. Shortly after I joined forces with future Artisan bassist Mike Bear the Virgin was on its way out. I stopped playing the Virgin entirely by late 1995.

In early 1999 I began hanging out with a fellow metalhead named Joey Severance, a guitarist/vocalist who worked for Metal Blade Records. Joey was dying to get his hands on a B.C. Rich, but didn’t have much dough, so I sold him the Virgin cheap. Joey later hocked the Virgin when he moved to Europe. Its whereabouts are unknown. Who knows? Perhaps it rests in the hands of a German, Dutch or Belgian Destiny’s End fan… Still, I’d better clarify that I never played this guitar when I was in Destiny’s End. It was strictly a pre-DE piece of Perry history!

Around the time I sold my Virgin a friend named Dave Bates got his hands on one of Neal Moser’s prototypes. It was like deja vu. Under Moser’s imprint the axe was/is called a Scythe. Dave’s had a wacky teal splatter paint job and a bolt-on neck with Neal’s signature on the back of the headstock.

2. 1980 B.C. Rico Mockingbird (Japan).

mockingbird%2Bcynic B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
1995: Soloing on the Mockingbird
Neckthrough body. Color: Natural (“eastern” mahogany sides, maple neck and center). Stock pickups: Gotoh. Stock tuners with B.C. Rich “R” Logo (Gotoh?). Stock bridge: B.C. Rich Quad. Current pickups: Gibson 500T (bridge) and 496R (neck). Current tuners: Grover Super Rotomatic with art-deco head.

I bought the B.C. Rico Mockingbird in Fall 1995. I was dying to find a neckthrough B.C. Rich USA axe, but hadn’t seen one floating around the L.A. area in a while. This axe appeared at Freedom Guitar Sherman Oaks and instantly demanded attention. It had seen better days, but that didn’t stop me from buying it. It had a dead fret, which was remedied almost immediately by a helpful repair tech named Michael Wolf who went on to work for Mesa/Boogie. I didn’t realize at first that it was actually one of the first import B.C. Rich neckthroughs, but I found out soon enough. It didn’t bother overly much, because I was smitten. The fat, round, baseball bat neck profile was perfect for my big hands. What was less than perfect? Lots! The Gotoh pickups were fairly low output and squealed like hell when played through any amp at louder than bedroom volume. No prob with dropped notes though! The Quad bridge was fairly wrecked by the time I got my hands on the Mockingbird. It stayed on for a several weeks before my pal Ed Laing hipped me to a Badass as a replacement. That solved many intonation problems. Tuning problems? Plenty. The tuners were pretty beat by the time the Mockingbird was in my possession, but it took years before I replaced them with proper art deco knob Grover Super Rotomatics. The Rico Mockingbird was the first of my axes to receive EMG active humbuckers, which Ed Laing, my good friend and the second guitarist in Stormhaven, swore by. I didn’t just take Ed’s word for it. James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Zak Wylde all championed EMG 81s, 85s and even 89s. The need for replacement pickups was omnipresent. This thing would not stop feeding back when I took it around Hollywood to demo some amps (finally settling on the Mesa/Boogie Mk IV). While we’re at it, I’d better address fret-work again. The dead fret band-aided by Michael Wolf wasn’t the only problem. Thanks to the previous owner the frets were pretty flat. Moisture had crept under the finish on the side of the fingerboard to further complicate matters. The solution? Refret! That solved many problems. Eric Goerisch, Ed’s mentor in luthier work, gave the Mockingbird a sporty refret with Gibson-type fret wire. Perfect solution! My affair with the Mockingbird was growing fonder by the day. Until I snatched up my first real USA B.C. Rich, that is.

3. 1983(?) B.C. Rich Warlock USA.

PMG Warlock B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
The Frankensteined White Warlock

Neckthrough body. Mahogany neck and body. Rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl diamond inlays. Original color: gray and black tiger-strip (?). Refin color: white. Stock pickups: DiMarzio?. Pickups when acquired: EMG-81 (bridge) and EMG-89 (neck). Original bridge: Kahler flat-mount tremolo. Bridge when acquired: Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo with back-route. Tuners when acquired: Gotoh black chrome. Headstock: 6 inline large Firebird-style, non-reverse.

I bought my white B.C. Rich Warlock from George Ochoa, one of the guitarists in the Christian thrash metal band Deliverance in 1995. I answered George’s Recyclerad. He had two Warlocks for sale. This older, white axe and a late 1980s model with custom lightning storm graphic. Being more of a traditionalist, I went vintage. The price was right. It was a love/hate relationship that lasted for several years. On one hand I couldn’t get enough: it was a heavy slab of mahogany—where many Warlocks were crafted from lighter/inferior woods like basswood or agathis, the deep cutaway on the high side allowed for some ultra smooth access to the upper frets (unlike the Mockingbird with its protruding beak). It was outfitted with EMG pickups already: an 81 in the bridge and a “dual sound” 89 in the neck (with a push/pull pot to split the neck pickup for single coil). Clearly there was a reason George Ochoa was unloading this guitar, though. It had major issues. Here’s where the hate part comes into play. George told me that he’d taken the thing over to Bernie Rico Jr. to have the original Kahler flat-mount trem removed and a back-route to install a new Floyd Rose double-locking trem. While Bernie Jr. and his team did an admirable job of building my Eagle Archtop Supreme from late 1998 to early 1999, it’s clear this axe was butchered before anybody had much experience with floating bridges. George also had the original tiger-stripe graphic repainted white—the whole axe refinished with heavy lacquer. One of the annoying issues caused during the refin? Apparently the neck was sanded too much on the high side. The high E string tended to slip off the fingerboard if you played high up, like past the 12th fret. But I was young, and I’d been pining for a USA Warlock for ages, so I snagged it for $400. I didn’t notice any major issues with tuning or intonation, but cosmetically there was something very queer about the nut. The Kahler locking clamp (usually located on the headstock an inch or so above the nut) had been removed and the original bone nut had been half hacked off. On top of the hacked-away nut was a black shim (along with a coupla pieces of business card), followed by a Floyd locking nut clamp. There were tiny cracks in the finish near the nut where somebody (Bernie Jr.?) had fiddled with removing the bone. Why the hell did I buy the Warlock if it appeared so butchered, do you ask? It was still pretty playable and I’m not a gazillionaire. Once my pal Ed Laing refretted it and modified the string spacing to compensate for the overzealous neck sanding. I dug the Warlock so much that I used it to record most of my rhythm guitar tracks on the first Destiny’s End album, Breathe Deep the Dark in early 1998. I also played it during my very first Destiny’s End gig at Cardi’s in Houston, Texas. Ed Laing was able to fix the nut situation. He pried out the butchered bone remains, removing the Floyd locking nut clamp and fitting a graphite nut in its place. Having seen Dan DeLucie’s Carlos Cavazo signature Washburn with Kahler Spider trem, I knew it was entirely possible for a floating bridge guitar to function with a Kahler-style clamp. Ed installed a new Kahler locking clamp on the headstock and the problem seemed to be solved. In late 1999 I was writing some new riffs at the old Destiny’s End rehearsal room in Vernon, CA, when the strap-locks failed. The Warlock took a dive into my pedalboard and lost a big chunk of finish and a slight bit of mahogany on the lower right body. I was bummed, but the damage was minimal. We’d opened up another can of worms with the nut/nut clamp modification. The three locking screws on the Kahler clamp tended to fall into the truss rod cavity because of its awkward position. While we probably could’ve remedied this by making a new truss rod cover, the positioning of the clamp would’ve made neck adjustments a pain in the ass. I remember those screws falling into the truss rod cavity just before Destiny’s End was going to leave for Germany to play Wacken in August 1999. It was a mad scramble and truly frustrating. I ended up bringing my 1976 Eagle instead. All the lame issues finally forced the upper hand, and I auctioned the Warlock on eBay in 2001. The winning bidder was a Destiny’s End fan from Florida. While playable, it surely didn’t fetch the price it could have if it wasn’t Frankensteined.

4. 1981 B.C. Rich Seagull USA Custom

seagull%2Bartisan B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
On stage at the Key Club with the ’81 Seagull
Neckthrough, quarter-sawn maple neck/center, carved maple sides and back, rosewood stringers,  bound ebony fingerboard, mother of pearl cloud inlays. Original pickups: DiMarzio. Original bridge: B.C. Rich Quad. Original tuners: Grover Super Rotomatic (bean head). Current pickups: Gibson 500T and 496R . Electronics: two dual-sound switches, phase switch, Neal Moser booster and Varitone circuits. Classic 3×3 B.C. Rich Headstock with mother of pearl “R” logo.

I saw this axe sitting in Freedom Guitar Hollywood one day in 1996. Bernie Rico Sr. and Jr. had just resumed production of their fabled axes out of a Hesperia warehouse and debuted some fine creations at NAMM in January. Pal and bassist Mike Bear was working at Hermes Music in Sherman Oaks, and I personally spent a lot of time bashing around on several new neckthrough USA BCRs. At NAMM I’d picked up a new BCR brochure containing an old picture of Bernie Sr. holding a Bicentennial Seagull. That combined with watching Dick Wagner wailing on his tobacco burst Seagull in the Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare home video were the genesis for my Seagull longing. Remembering I’d seen the blue one at Freedom Guitar several weeks earlier, I returned to scope it out. It looked beautiful and had no damage whatsoever to the body, and only minor scuffing on the headstock. I just had to grab it. So, I threw $700 down on my credit card. Yet again I was faced with a project guitar. The frets were pretty flat, so right away Ed Laing gave me one of his awesome refret jobs with the type of tall wire I liked—not nearly as fat as jumbo frets. Likewise we swapped out the stock DiMarzio pickups and replaced with EMG 81 and EMG 85. The electronics had clearly been gutted by the previous owner. Though the complicated Moser-designed electronics setup was there, it had been bypassed, and the original BCR knobs had been canned in favor of black chrome ones. The toggle switches were left unwired. Initially I kept the simplistic electronics: two volumes and two tones as on a Les Paul or an SG. The Seagull was a heavy slab with sustain for days and very chunky/heavy tone. Being that the axe is almost entirely maple, it’s bright and cuts through. I was in seventh heaven with it for a couple of years. I’d always wanted a Les Paul, and this was something very similar—a single cutaway, extremely hefty axe with a thick body. Like a 1950s style Les Paul this ’gull has an extremely round and fat neck profile with wide string spacing. Perfect for my big-ass hands.

I started to encounter major problems with the Seagull shortly before recording the first Destiny’s End album, Breathe Deep the Dark, in early 1998. El Niño was hitting hard that winter, covering Southern California in buckets of rain. Moisture and wood don’t mix. An already oxidized piece of metal isn’t gonna appreciate the extra moisture either. I didn’t foresee the Seagull being out of commission. I was dead-set on using it for half of my rhythm tracks on Breathe Deep the Dark, but I wound up only being able to bring the ’gull in for oneclean-tone section—“Idle City,” the first part or intro to my signature tune “The Fortress Unvanquishable.” The high E string was dead, the notes killed by corrosion and a burr in the Quad bridge/saddle. I didn’t know if I should replace or have it repaired. I’m definitely not a repair expert, and certainly was far less experienced in ’98 than I am now. Since Ed Laing was busy with NAMM duties, I had to rely on other guitar repair sources. On pal and Prototype guitarist Kragen Lum’s recommendation I took the ’gull to Carruthers in Santa Monica. Big mistake. They kept the guitar for a week. Instead of advising me to shit-can the bridge and buy a replacement, the incompetents at Carruthers filed down the saddle. They told me it was a band-aid job, but didn’t offer any kind of explanation as to what I could do to properly solve the problem. Though I was recording my first album for a big indie label, I wasn’t being taken seriously. I was more than willing to pay for whatever work, but it was painfully clear that though these fools purported to run a professional shop they did not conduct business like pros. When the NAMM rush was over I consulted Ed Laing. The prognosis on the bridge was simple: dump the gold-plated hunk in the trash or save it as a keepsake and get a replacement. There was bad news, however, according to Ed the neck was bowing improperly—it needed some attention before it warped. It’s easy to guess how this happened. The previous owner or Freedom Guitar had likely left the hard-as-hell maple neck unstrung (no tension to keep it bowing the right way). El Niño didn’t help matters. Ed solved both my problems. He set the ’gull up with 11 gauge strings in E to put some serious tension on the neck and hipped me to the absolutely life-saving Stewart MacDonald guitar repair supply company. I consulted with Ed and his friend Eric Goerisch about getting a bridge/tailpiece combo that would fit and improve tuning stability. I was not impressed with the Badass, nor did I like the barely adjustable Gibson bridge/tailpiece as seen on Les Paul Juniors and some SGs. Thankfully I’d seen a fine-tune bridge/tailpiece combo on a guitar in Hollywood and both Eric and Ed knew exactly what I was talking about when I brought it up. I ordered a Schaller fine-tune bridge/tailpiece which not only fit like a glove but improved intonation and tuning immensely. Likewise they had me replace the stripped-out bean Grover tuners with Grover Super Rotomatics to go for that old school B.C. Rich vibe. By the end of the Breathe Deep the Darksessions I was almost ready to begin using the ’81 Seagull as my main axe. The first time I gigged with it was at Club 369 in Fullerton, the debut Destiny’s End show in Southern California. The fat tone and playability that night made me infinitely glad I’d weathered (pun intended) through the initial difficulties.

I had some constructive criticism on the ’81 Seagull from recording engineer/producer and Warrior guitarist Joe Floyd. He worked with us on the second Destiny End album. Yet again I encountered intonation problems while recording. Joe explained that he’d owned a late 1970s Eagle much like the one I bought a year after this ’gull. Said he’d always had problems with intonation on the G string of his Eagle and that it was the prime reason why he ditched the guitar in the ’80s. Joe said he lovedhis Eagle to death, that the tone was to die for, but that the intonation issues became so frustrating that he couldn’t stand it any longer. He figured I encountered the same issue. It was especially a pain when I played octave chords rooted on the A string. I wish this issue didn’t exist, but I had to accept it. Joe was right to an extent. But there are many other guitars with intonation issues. Gibsons (SGs, Les Paul Juniors, etc.) with their old school bridge/tailpiece combo (instead of the Tune-o-matic) suffer from an almost complete lack of adjustable intonation. I resigned myself to keeping the ’gull and living with it. It would be close enough for rock ’n’ roll as far as intonation and tuning in many other applications, especially live. Rather than waste time in the studio, I instantly switched to another guitar that behaved. The well-behaved axe? My 1999 B.C. Rich Eagle Archtop Supreme. Zero intonation probs. I also used my 1976 Eagle, although it suffered a bit too (more on the Eagle later). When Ed Laing offered his expert opinion, he said the intonation problems were due to inconsistencies in the fret slotting. In other words, the slots in the fingerboard to house the frets are meant to be cut straight, and as you move up the fingerboard the frets are meant to have smaller spaces between. In the case of some old B.C. Riches the slotting was entirely done by hand and the straightness of the fret slotting and the space in between frets is not consistent. Fortunately the Japanese are a little more exact, so my Rico Mockingbird is immune.

When I started Artisan in 2000 the ’81 Seagull became my #1 axe of choice. You’ll notice from pictures that I played it at every single Artisan gig, usually with my 1976 Eagle as backup. For a brief period in 2003 I tried putting a DiMarzio X2N humbucker in the bridge position of the ’81 Seagull when I decided to return to using passive pickups. The brightness was overwhelming, and the tone would’ve suited my old technical and thrashy metal antics well. But I was in the process of leaving Artisan to concentrate on Falcon, and I quickly pulled the X2N and opted for Gibson 57 Classic humbuckers. I had a change of heart with those pickups too, finally settling on Gibson 500T and 496R high-output humbuckers. These days, it’s the axe I turn to whenever my Les Pauls are unavailable. And if I have a more modern style metal gig, I also head straight for the Big Mama ’81 Seagull.

5. 1976 B.C. Rich Eagle Supreme USA

perry%2Beagle B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
May 1999: On stage at the Shack in Anaheim, CA

Neckthrough body. Koa body and neck with walnut (?) stringers. Bound ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl cloud inlays. Stock tuners: Grover Super Rotomatics with art deco machine heads. Current tuners: Grover Imperial with art deco machine heads. Stock pickups: DiMarzio. Current pickups: Gibson 57 Classic Plus (bridge) and 57 Classic (Neck). Electronics: two 3-way pickup toggle switches (series/split/parallel), Neal Moser booster and Varitone circuits.

A year after I acquired my ‘81 Seagull I came across this ’76 Eagle in the original Reseda, CA, location of Norman’s Rare Guitars, on the corner of Tampa and Vanowen in Reseda. I was already in Destiny’s End and was an assistant manager at Big Valley Music in Reseda, selling extremely cheap and cheeseball guitars, amps and accessories. On the way to work one day I decided to kill a few minutes in Norman’s, but instead was a good hour late because I just hadto buy this puppy. Despite the obvious issues it was a genuine beauty with a fingerboard and action like butter. Yup, a sleek ebony board! The sales dude plugged me into a Silver Jubilee Marshall half-stack and sarcastically told me, “Yup, you would grab that sucker and tune it down to ‘D,’ wouldn’t you?” He was a long-hair, but had “grown out” of metal. Yes, metal was at an all-time low of popularity.
The obvious probs? The binding was heavily gouged in spots on the high side of the neck, loose and nearly falling out in others. The low side with sidemarkers was entirely intact, so I wasn’t too worried. I knew Ed could work his magic on it. The Badass bridge/tailpiece combo was rusty and worn, but I was going to replace that straightaway anyhow with the same Schaller I stuck on the ’81 Seagull. The frets were very worn down too. Another project guitar, but not Frankensteined like the Warlock. The previous owner had left the Eagle strung with flat-wounds, which immediately told me he’d been a jazz player. Pretty weird choice of axes for jazz, but his loss was my gain. $500 was all it took to bring this mama on home!

Once again Ed Laing restored a 25+ year old guitar for me. He replaced the shrunken, battered binding on the high side of the neck. I dare anyone to tell the difference between the original binding on the low side and the replacement on the high. It was that smooth of a job. Ed remarked that I was actually very lucky the low side was undamaged, as he discovered the side markers were made of authentictortoise shell, not celluloid imitation. Perhaps not too cool from the standpoint of animal cruelty, but… hey, I didn’t go out and kill the tortoise Ted Nugent-style! Likewise, Hawaiian koa wood was endangered back in 1997, so even though you could have had the recently revived B.C. Rich USA shop build you an Eagle, it was highly unlikely you’d get one made of koa. Yup, this was a nice heavy axe that resembled an old ‘50s longboard plank.

While Ed was revamping the electronics for me (I was using EMG active humbuckers exclusively at the time) I asked him if it would be possible to keep the complicated old B.C. Rich electronics more or less intact. I had my doubts because these weird and wonderful gadgets were initially intended to go along with passive pickups of the 4 conductor wire variety. I was stoked when Ed handed the Eagle back to me with the preamp/booster and Varitone circuits functioning perfectly. We left the coil tap switches unwired though, as I wasn’t going to be using them. The refret job was impeccable.
The Eagle played and felt like a dream when Ed was done with it, and it became my main guitar in Destiny’s End. I played it during our first regional tours of Texas in 1998 and 1999, then on our full-scale U.S. tour with Iced Earth and Nevermore in May/June 1999. I then took it on our Euro tour with Sacred Steel, Wardog (and some occasional support from Slough Feg). In the studio I relied on the Eagle to track the two tribute album tunes Destiny’s End recorded: “Dressed in White” (King Diamond) and “The Last in Line” (Dio). Though I babied the Eagle, the rigors of the road took their toll. The bone nut gave out just as we were recording the second Destiny’s End album, Transition. I was able to use the ’76 Eagle for a couple of tracks before switching to my brand new ’99 Eagle Archtop. Because I was playing fast and technical metal primarily then, I chose to replace the bone nut with a graphite one. Though this would take away from the “vintage” appeal, I wanted the tuning stability and extended lifespan of a synthetic nut.

After I left Destiny’s End I continued using the ’76 Eagle steadily in Artisan. I usually had it handy as backup to my ’81 Seagull on stage, with my ’99 Eagle Archtop as the main studio axe.
In 2003 I had Ed remove the EMGs in my ’76 Eagle. An exodus back to passive electronics that I haven’t regretted! In their place from then on out were a Gibson 57 Classic Plus in the bridge and a 57 Classic in the neck. Instead of going with two-position mini-toggle switches to split the coils, Ed persuaded me to go with three-way mini-toggle switches, which allowed for the added tonal possibilities of parallel and series. Meaning instead of splitting the coils of say the bridge humbucker–for instance–you wind up using one coil from the bridge pickup and one from the neck. It’s a very nifty sort of tonal character to add to your palate for recording, but not very useful on stage.

In March 2003 I used the Eagle to overdub some leads on the Falcon demo, switching back and forth with my 1975 Seagull (more on that in a sec). February 2004 saw me bringing the Eagle to Middletown, Maryland, to record two guitar solos and a few little overdubs for the self-titled Falcon album. Rather than play my ’76 Les Paul all over the album, I wanted some different textures. Too much of an instrument can make things sound too one-dimensional. I had some genuine fun with the funky electronics. I split the bridge pickup to a single coil for a twangy tone on the lead to “Downer.” On the “Throwback” solo I left the mini-toggle switches alone—for a straight humbucker sound.

6. 1975 B.C. Rich Seagull

perry%2B75%2Bgull B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
Laying down some lead-work for the Falcon demo, 2003
When I turned 25, I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a 1975 B.C. Rich Seagull? It’d be as old as I am.” So, I stuck a wanted ad in the Recycler, and lo and behold a guy named Armando gave me a buzz to say he had a 1975 B.C. Rich Seagull in his possession with a custom flight case. Did I want to see it? Hell, yeah! We met in the parking lot of Guitar Center in Sherman Oaks, and I was utterly blown away by how cool this Seagull was. I played it for a couple of minutes unamped in the lot and fell in love. It had an awesome trans-blue finish that changed color in different angles of light. Being that my fave color is blue, I was just stoked.

“I’m not sure I want to sell it yet, but I’ve got a young son to think about now and it’s just sitting in the closet… Give me a week or two to think about it.”
A week went by, and I was pining for the axe big-time. I called Armando back, and he hadn’t sold the ’75 Seagull yet. He dropped by my old place, and I plugged the ’gull in. Instantly it was a match made in hell! The stock Guild pickups were warm and ratty—and although I gave them to friend Eric Goerisch I was torn over whether I should keep them. Years later I asked if Eric still had the Guilds, but he’d long since thrown them in one of his own guitars.
In 2003 I used the ’75 Seagull to record the rhythm guitar tracks for the Falcon demo. I also used it for some of the lead overdubs. Initially I had EMGs installed, and I used it for many Artisan rehearsals. Within a couple of years, though, I switched to Gibson P-94s, which are P-90 pickups in a humbucker housing. I figured that since the ’75 Seagull is such a light/thin mahogany single-cutaway guitar that I’d throw the P-94s in to go for that old Les Paul Junior vibe. I mean, if it worked for Leslie West, it was good enough for me!

perry%2Bbc%2Brich%2Bjacket B.C. Rich Guitars - An Appreciation | Cirith Ungol Online
With B.C. Rich satin tour jacket – thanks to Nardo!

[Under construction – 14 May 2020]


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