Dating gibson vintage guitars
Soon thereafter the American Folk Music Boom began, and Rico recalls that his father’s shop made banjos and retrofitted a lot of banjo necks on other brands. Probably only about 300 of these acoustics were built. Di Marzios and Self-Distribution Rico next turned to using Guild humbuckers, but these again required disassembly. I drew a weird curve and said ‘I like that.’ The result was the Mockingbird. This is inaccurate; it’s not a “copy,” however, the idea for the Bich actually began with a Dave Bunker design idea. Rich’s most popular designs, the most commonly seen being versions of the Bich. The largest hole started at around 2″ in diameter and progressively got smaller until the smallest hole on the horn was ? Also in the NJ Series were the ST, Mockingbird, Bich, Ironbird and Warlock which were built in Japan and assembled in California. From 1990 to 1993, Bernie Rico had no control over B. Rich guitars, although he continued to own the name.“Prior to 1964, we also converted a lot of Martin guitars to 12-strings because Martin didn’t make 12s before ’64.” Rico also remembers building some steel guitars during those early days, as well. Rich name came from Bernie’s friend Bobby, although all the parts were actually just Anglo adaptations of his own family’s names. Electrics In 1968 Rico built his first custom electric solidbody. Rich was able to obtain Gibson pickups, and the earliest Riches used Gibson humbuckers. Finally, in around 1974, Rico called Larry Di Marzio and asked him if he could make four-lead, dual sound humbuckers. The first Mockingbird was a short-scale bass.” Bichin’ Guitars “We were on a roll,” continues Rico. The resulting guitar was a sort of squared off Bunker guitar combined with elements taken from the Eagle. One of the first Biches went to Joe Perry of Aerosmith in October of ’76. Rich guitars were neck-throughs, however, some of the main models were also built with bolt-on necks. Rich Bich was the last new design until the introduction of the Warlock in 1981. In 1988 Rico licensed the Rave and Platinum names to Class Act, and they essentially took over importing, marketing and distributing the foreign-made lines. After almost three decades of continuous guitar-making, the idea of a well-paid vacation without worrying about the rent sounded good, and Rico licensed the B. Rich name to the new outfit for a three year period, during which time American-made B. Mason Bernard However, as with most people devoted to their craft, Bernie Rico’s vacation was short-lived.
He led an expansion of the guitar line with new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced in 1952 and designed by Les Paul, a popular musician in the 1950s and also a pioneer in music technology.
Widow Another guitar from this era was the Widow, sometimes called the “spider” guitar, which was basically designed for Blackie Lawless. The Condor was basically an upscale Eagle with a 1″ thick carved flamed maple top and mahogany body (this guitar is offered today as the Eagle Archtop). Anyhow, as a tribute to Conti whom I never actually met in person I designed an archtop jazz guitar with neck-through construction and heelless neck joint. Many people incorrectly assume that “NJ” stand for New Jersey. 335s and Diamonds Two other imported guitars from this time which you might encounter include the 335 Standard, as you might guess a thinline acoustic-electric, and the Diamond Series, which were basically acoustic guitars with a diamond-shaped soundhole and built-in pickup made by Tarada. These still follow the same XXYYY dating scheme, but there was no particular order to thier application. Rich guitars,” reflects Rico on the past, “is that they got branded as ‘heavy metal’ guitars early on and that’s what made them so successful. Rich didn’t have a niche until someone said, ‘heavy metal.’ “What really gets me, though,” continues Rico, “is that they’re always known for their weird shapes, not the thought and quality that went into the shape of the neck or the quality painting.” Maybe now, with B. Rich guitars back in the hands of flamenco guitarist Bernie Rico and staging a comeback, and with renewed interest in the older B.
Other Rare Birds In 1984 several particularly interesting B. The Fat Bob reflected Bernie Rico’s love of motorcycles. I had three of them, one of which was a model called the Fat Bob. These had 24 frets, and at the 24th fret there was a pearl inlay engraved with ‘Conti’.” NJ Series Imports B. Rich had become so successful by the mid-’80s that the company like other American brands such as Dean and Kramer inevitably turned to importing guitars. Rico travelled to Japan in late 1983 and toured a number of factories. This is easy to understand, because later the company headquarters would be in New Jersey. If a guitar has a number of 89321, for example, it was probably built in 1987, but it could be a bit earlier or later. If it hadn’t been for heavy metal, I don’t know what would have happened.
The first Byrdlands were slim, custom built, L-5 models for guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland. Other models such as the ES-350T and the ES-225T were introduced as less costly alternatives. Similar in size to the hollow-body Thinlines, the ES-335 family had a solid center, giving the string tone a longer sustain.
In the 1950s, Gibson also produced the Tune-o-matic bridge system and its version of the humbucking pickup, the PAF ("Patent Applied For"), first released in 1957 and still sought after for its sound.Between 1942-1945, Gibson employed women to manufacture guitars.