Hey guys Brian from World Music Supply here, bringing you some more gear and guitar reviews. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve probably gotten the impression by now, that we are really trying to dial in the Halloween theme, and I’m doing my part by filling the remainder of the month of October with some more metal themed reviews. On Monday it was Jackson guitars, and today I have something just as frightening, because today I finally get to review some guitars from our friends over at B.C Rich.
B.C Rich actually didn’t start out as the metal guitar creating company they are today, once upon a time, in the early 60’s a man named Bernardo Chavez Rico exclusively constructed, and worked on flamenco guitars in Bernardo’s Guitar Shop in Las Angeles. He kept at his construction of classical and Flemenco guitars for many years, until around 1969 when he began his first attempts at constructing electric guitars and basses, based around popular designs of the time, few of which survive to this day. However in 1972 he constructed his first original design, the Seagull, and later in 1976, with the help of his growing team of craftsmen came the Mockingbird and the Eagle. The late 70’s saw the rise of the Bich, with its unusual 10 string design, and the early 80’s welcomed the Warlock to the ever growing B.C Rich family. The transition from classical guitar maker, to metal guitar master is a slow process, but through the years these guitars have gained a level of class and detail that is a signature of the whole brand.
In today’s review, the first guitar I got to put my greedy paws on was the B.C Rich Avenge SOB, which is a much more modern and distinct version of their already distinctive Warlock, with a slimmer, less bulky body than their Beast model. This is important to keep in mind, as even though it might look like a vampiric version of the warlock, the SOB actually translates to Son Of Beast, and boy is this thing a beast. The guitar is surprisingly comfortable, and the light weight basswood body is actually very ergonomic. The sharp pointy body is wrapped in B.C Rich’s signature Onyx black finish, with bright bloody red bevels all over the guitar, which translates to a very ominous appearance.
The electronics are rather straight forward, as is the over all set up of the guitar, just a single high output BDSM humbucker, a single volume, and a string thru body, and Tune-O-Matic bridge. Plugged in this bad boy had loads of cut, with a bright cutting sound. Clean the sound was a little brittle, but nothing some good old EQ couldn’t take care of. Although, if you can’t tell from the shape or over all vibe of this guitar, it probably won’t see much time on a clean setting, so I didn’t test this guitar on one for very long. Dropping the tuning a little, and turning up the gain was everything this guitar needed, as this guitar’s slightly bright sound, translates into thick, destructive distortion when the strings are tuned down a tad.
This guitar was great for hours of down tuned riffing, sweep picking, and chugging, machine gun style riffing, and although it’s not normally my cup of tea, this guitar definitely draws those angry riffs out of you. The neck was super comfortable, and was thin enough that shredding on it was no real problem. The simplified controls weren’t an issue either, because most shred heavy guitarists know you don’t really use a tone control, or a neck pickup all that often, however it would have helped warm the sound up a bit. Overall the Avenge SOB was one beast of a guitar, and easily deserves its 9 out of 10 rating, to be honest the only reason I didn’t give it a 10, is I feel like the lack of tonal options might be a slight turn off to lead guitarists, even though most rhythm guitarists will be over joyed at the simplicty.
Next up is the B.C Rich JRV Standard which is their answer to the standard flying V. With its sharp corners, and fighter jet than lines, this guitar is metal through and through. The metallic red finish was a nice touch, and helps add to the late 80’s shred feel that the most flying V’s tends to give off. The Floyd Rose trem, and blistering Duncan designed pickups also give this guitar all of the power it needs to hang with even the heaviest of shredders.
On a clean setting this guitar is actually pleasing, with big warm tones, and smooth, even sustain, but just like with the last guitar, this one will probably only see, at the most, 10% of its life in a clean channel, because guitars with this many sharp corners just look like they need to be distorted. Cranking the gain, and dropping the tuning a tad, this V screamed to life.
The tone was biting, but with a full, even body thanks to the Duncan designed pickups. There was plenty of output on tap, and the sound of the chugging rhythms this guitar can create are just down right brutal. However this guitar is no slouch when it comes to shred style runs either, with a flatter fingerboard radius, and a full 24 frets of room to run, I had no problem climbing up and down at break neck speeds. This guitar is a metal machine, and most hard rock or metal guitarists wouldn’t go wrong choosing it for their go to guitar. For its bad to the bone sound, and do anything attitude the B.C Rich JRV Standard earns itself a solid 10 out of 10.