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Unknown BC Rich Mockingbird USA or Fake?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RMay, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Is this a USA Bernie Rico made Mockingbird? I have disassemble this bass and everything appears to be stock. There is no serial number and the pots have no date. This could be a steal $$ if it is a USA made early 80s or late 70s USA made BC Rich. There is no apparent serial number and it has the bolt-on neck. I am only aware of the early Bernie Rico B.C. Rich being neck-through design (now a hallmark of B.C Rich). The body is original black finish, quarter-sawn maple neck the frets are in good shape, the electronics appear to be original and not messed with by the previous owner. This bass has a few issues, the input jack ground wire is disconnected and there is a razor blade for a shim in the neck pocket, the truss rod has never been used as the nut shows no sign of the use of a wrench and there is old polishing compound residue in the truss rod cavity with some on the nut. The pickups are the Dimarzio and the bridge is the Badass II. The headstock finish appears to be nitro, also it has a hint of the smell of nitro. The body shows the typical signs of seasoned player wear with the dings, scratches and worn neck finish. The neck is a bit bowed forward and I have not yet determined if the truss rod works. I have till Friday, April 23rd before 4pm to purchase this bass, it is on hold for me. It could be worth it if the truss rod works and then after I complete the repair of the ground wire the electronics function the bass sounds killer. It feels very comfortable in my hands, lightweight with a thin neck w/ebony fretboard using the classic diamond inlays markers. Here are the pics, sorry for the crappy mobile phone photos but that's all I had on hand. Is this Mockingbird a USA B.C. Rich or a fake? Perhaps, it is an early NJ series which is still a well-made bass. I'm searching for a definitive answer here and everywhere else with little window of time to complete. UPDATE: New Photos on Page 2, 56k Beware.


    No serial number on the neck heal or in the neck pocket.
    ^Looks like a handmade inlay not CNC'd. Very tiny rough edges are apparent n the "R"
    ^ No serial number on the neck plate or underneath. BC Rich made in LA, California pressed plate, I can't make the simple assumption it's made in USA just by the neck-plate.
    ^ No serial number on the headstock in the typical USA BC Rich location.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)
  2. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    It's unlikely to be a fake. It's also unlikely that it's US-made.

    This is probably a Japanese import. If you look at the neck plate again, you'll probably find that it doesn't say "Made in LA". It says "BC Rich, LA California" with a serial number embossed in the middle.

    Either way, this isn't a collectible or desirable BC Rich. The US-made neck through models from the 70's and early-mid 80's are what people want. And neck through design was a hallmark of US MADE BC Rich guitars from the 70's onward.
  3. It very well may say "BC Rich, LA California" but there is no serial number embossed in the middle :meh:. It is a strange bird with the P/J config and full blown electronic package. I have about reached the end of the internet searching for info. At this point, I've decided not buy this unknown bass but repair.
  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i designed the mockingbird for Bernie Rico in december of 1975, and, IMO, that one is definitely not made in USA.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Do you think an employee could have made the bass?

    Maybe even during their off time?
  6. I've seen a few imports like that, though haven't seen one for many years.
  7. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i don't think so. most of the USA ones were neck thrus and i never saw a USA one with the PJ configuration.
  8. Obviously most had the double P config, but I've seen a handful of USA PJ basses over the years. There were USA bolt-ons as well, but featured the inline headstock. Most bolt-on 2x2 are among the various import lines, which have varied greatly over the years.
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'll bet that the guys on this forum could tell you exactly what it is.
  10. I have an "NJ" Mockingbird from the early 80's and it is neckthrough construction (and i think all the japanese or Nagoya models were neckthrough...) and has a double "P" set up...

    There was an "LA series" made in the 80's but I am unsure of their history but as i understand it they were pretty good in quality..better than the Rave series also made in the 80's

    Hit up a user here by the name of Mournblade....He is the expert on Mockingbirds here!
  11. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Prob one of the first batch of an import run. I had purchased one of the very first IT Warlocks and it also had no serial number. Purchsed thru MF btw. And BC Rich forums at the time verified that the early stock for that year was without serial numbers for some reason. Looks like a very nice mockingbird. I'd buy it.
  12. Guys were getting warmer. I have found that Grover Jackson built several of the early B.C. Rich guitars for Bernie Rico. Wayne Charvel also built and designed guitars for Bernie Rico, his guitars had no serial numbers embossed.

    Few more details:

    -Neck plate has the scripted "B.C. Rich", block letter "LA California USA"
    -Grover tuners
    -Body is maple or alder

    Sent a PM to Mournblade, I hope he responds before 5pm MST.

    No information found at the BC Rich forums actually very quiet there.

    Found a stock photo of an early Wayne Charvel prototype BC Rich guitar w/ bolt-on neck no serial number.

    Thanks really appreciate your responses.
  13. Fairly sure after doing more research that what you have pictured there is one of their L.A. Series basses...(but i could be wrong)

    Background info From Tim @ BC Rich over the Confusions of the LA/NJ/Japan versions:

    "Most of those guitars were made by a company called "Class Axe". If the guitar says USA on the HEADSTOCK then it's American Made. There are some NJ and Platinum models from the Class Axe era with "LA California" or "New Jersey, USA" on the NECK PLATE, these were made in Nagoya, Japan or in South Korea. However, there are some with the New Jersey and/or LA California neck plates that also have Made in USA on the headstock, and those were made in the in America." The others were either made in Japan or Korea...

    taken from Harmony Central..
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    if we had a pic of the actual control wiring it would probably help. i remember exactly how the usa ones looked in there.
  15. I repaired the tiny issues with electronics (v pots, ground wire) also completed setup. I am now an owner of a BC Rich Mockingbird made somewhere. It is an absolute stunning sounding bass with a slim neck, slim like a Geddy Lee jazz.

    Sorry for the craptastic pic of the control cavity.

  16. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009
  17. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    hmmmm. every made in USA one that i've ever seen or worked on has ALL black wiring.
  18. Congrats....

    I just picked up this beauty today myself



    no word from Mournblade yet huh?
  19. Good eye KramerBassFan. I was in the cavity today and didn't notice a post factory splicing of wires in the cavity :meh:. This bass has now got the attention of Wayne Charvel, he requested quality pics of the bass and control cavity, he said the slim neck, lacquer finish, and electronics package are indications that this bass is likely an early LA series possible made in his shop. I likely will not have answer from him till next week. Anyhoo, it is what it is a players bass. I like it.
  20. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    good 'ol Wayne. to give you an idea of how old i am, I knew him when he went by the name 'Johnny Diamond'. ;)

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