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B.C Rich Seagull 74-78: The Rare Bird Of Guitars

Vintage GuitarsThe BC Rich Seagull, was the first electric guitar made by Bernie Rico, who at the time, was building acoustic guitars and ukes. The Seagull featured what would become a standard for all BC Rich models. This was a "neck-thru" design, that created superior sustain and a very pronounced tone. Bernie Rico actually had no true experience in electric guitars so he brought on a popular electronics guru, Neal Moser. This partnership created some of the best and most obscure guitars that BC Rich would ever create. The original Seagull has a very interesting feature, a point on the top that stuck you in the stomach and a "hook point" on the heel that stuck you in the leg. This design flaw was cured by Neal Moser in 1975 making the originals from 1974 fairly rare guitars. In totality there were only about thirty guitars with this odd design feature.

The most attractive part about the BC Rich Seagull is the fact that the guitars were all handmade, Bernie Rico came from a belief that everyone deserved to own a very well made guitar for an affordable price. The Seagull is not an exception to this rule, the guitars were not mass made, they were completely hand-built which is very difficult to find from any of the current custom shops. The BC Rich Seagull itself is a very rare guitar to find, and it's value only increases, the Seagull was taken out of construction in 1978 and in recent years has found a renewed run of 400 guitars.

The original BC Rich Seagull featured a very interesting control function, the pickups could be split and forced out of phase, which means that you can split the pickup into a parallel tone and separate it by both the pickups. they also included the BC Rich "Vari-tone" knob which allowed for the addition or subtraction of treble and gain on the pickups. The pickups themselves are Guild pickups, later DiMarzio super distortion Pickups were added, most of which were hardwired. Some of the most interesting facts about the Seagull is the fact that Bernie has supposedly shaped the guitar after a toilet seat, which is up too anyone interpretation. Famous guitarists like Lou Reed, the legendary Alice Cooper guitarist Dick Wagner and even Eric Clapton have used the BC Rich Seagull. For the most part if you ever get your chance to play this rare bird it will not disappoint even the most discriminating players. Sadly some Seagulls have been modified away from their original electronics which is very unfortunate. But if you have the luck to find one unhampered, you will not be let down by this guitar.

If you can find one of these guitars, you can expect to pay between $1100-$5000US, these guitars are considered collectors guitars. Most of the time you are paying for the fact that the guitar itself is fairly rare to find. Compared to more current custom shops the BC Rich Seagull prices are very competitive. The joke of the matter is that the Seagull is probably better made then the other more common customs like the Les Paul. It all boils down to a matter of personal taste and a love for classic craftsmanship.

By Catherine Seidel - Accountant Condominium Management Company  

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