If it is a USA model, it will say "Made In The USA" on the headstock just below or beside the B.C. Rich script logo. The serial numbers are a bit hard to date because there was no uniform way they were assigned a number at Bernie's original shop. The neck plates were pre-stamped and pulled out of a box at random when it was time to install the neck onto the guitar or bass.
The Bolt On guitars serial numbers started with "BC" followed by five digits (BCXXXXX). Between 1989 and 1993 Class Axe took over production of B.C. Rich instruments and also used the "BCXXXXX" numbering scheme as well as "RXXXXXX" for it’s imported models. Class Axe did make some USA instruments of very good quality. Once again, the guitar will indicate that it was made in the USA by the "Made In The USA" stamp on the headstock. These will also have a small "TM" next to the script logo.
US Production Series
"US" Series guitars 1984
These guitars were machine made in Japan and assembled in the USA
Said to have higher quality parts than NJ guitars.
These Models look like USA guitars with the "R" logo, but had dot inlays and a serial number that started with "U".
They were called the U.S. Production Series in the catalogs but received the nickname "U series" due to being recognized by the letter U before the serial number stamped in the back of the headstock.
The only custom option you could order on these guitars was the electronics, however many did come with custom graphics.
Models available in 1984 were: Mockingbird, Stealth and Warlock.
in 1985 they added the Ironbird and Bich to the list.
The U.S. series were all made from Mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays.
Headstocks were usually the curved six inline headstock however some of the Bich's had a traditional 3 aside.
Headstocks were timber capped with an R logo.
The U.S. series have a single humbucker pickup and Kahler tremolo.
Guitars = 24 5/8"scale
Bass = 34"scale
The import guitar lines started in 1978. They were called a B.C. Rico. It is unknown exactly how many of these were actually made... but there appears to be many more than previously thought.
The B.C. Rico guitars were made in Japan.
Most of the Rico's had "RXXX" serials, however there are a few examples of them without an alphabetical prefix, or with a prefix of "T".
first B.C. Rich Japan Imports
After the B.C. Rico's, there were B.C. Rich import guitar lines introduced.
These "R" serials were used until the late 1980's. By the late 80's (est.around 87) they had changed to a "BXXX" system, which similar to the USA bolt on models are very hard to identify. The "B" serial numbers range from four digits to five digits.
NJ Series ( after 1986 )
Made in Korea
After 1986 the B.C. Rich NJ Series was also being made by Cort in Korea.
They still kept the N.J. model on these guitars... even though they were no longer manufactured in Nagoya Japan.
NJ series & NJ series II ( 1989-1992 est.)
Made in Japan.
Will have a truss rod cover, rear trem route and BCXXXX serial as pictured below. Series II appeared in 1989 and was around until 1992 est.)
NJ SERIES (1998-1999)
Made in Korea. Will feature a F8XXXX, F90XXXX or F91XXXX serial.
the only real difference between a late 90's platinum and NJ is that the NJ came with a floating tremolo licenced floyd rose bridge.
These guitars all had Diamond inlays and 22 fret rosewood fingerboard
NJ SERIES (early 2000's)
Now made from Chesswood
Diamond inlays in a 24 fret Rosewood 25.5"scale
Floating Floyd Rose trem
N.J. Classic ( 2005 +)
In 2008 The NJ Classic line was made trying to mimic the appearance of the vintage 80's handmade guitars.
PLATINUM SERIES "Licenced by B.C. Rich" ( 1987-1990 ) Introduced in 1987 by Class Axe as a second step entry level guitar after the Rave series and was available until the early 1990's .
manufactured in Korea.
Some featured a Plywood body.
oversized headstock that says "Licenced by B.C. Rich" in small font just above script logo.
featured a block tremolo (licenced under Floyd Rose pats.) .
All "licenced by" platinum guitars feature two humbuckers except the ST which had a Humbucker and two singles. The Bass platinums had P-J EMG select pickups.
(Extra options available):
Crackle paint - extra $25.00
Snakeskin paint - extra $35.00
Pearl, Fluero, Metallic options - extra $6.00
Reverse headstock (extra $10)
Warlock guitar & bass, Ironbird guitar, Virgin guitar, Bich guitar and ST guitar and bass shapes were available and came with the option for a gig bag.
PLATINUM series (1998 - 1999)
The late 90's era Platinum guitars were made in Korea.
had taken a step down in quality from the earlier platinums.
They were now made from an Alder body.
no longer featured tremolos, instead cheap stop tail piece fixed bridges like the Bronze Series.
These guitars all had Dot inlays ina 22 fret rosewood fingerboard.
The only difference in the Bronze and Platinums in the late 90's was the timber choice.
PLATINUM SERIES (early 2000's)
Now made from Chesswood.
Dot inlays and 24 frets in a Rosewood board 25.5"scale.
Has an F20XXXXX serial.
Floating Floyd Rose style trem or string thru or stop tail piece bridges.
Platinum Pro series
IMPORT SERIAL DATING INFO 1990 -2006
During the 1990's there are all different serials other than the normal "BXXX" serial
there are also cases of serials with no alphabetical prefix
there are also example of an "E" or "S" prefix.
The imports are built in many different factories/countries that the serial numbers gets confusing.
In the year 2000, they changed to the letters "BO" (Bolt On) followed by three digits (B0XXX), which was the actual production number, but there was no number stating the year the guitar was built.
The import guitar models built in before November will have a serial number starting with the letter "F".
In the year 2000 their "F" serial system was changed. They added a number to the end of the serial until they decided to change systems completely.
The F2XXXXX in 1992 had a six digit serial
The F2XXXXXX in 2000 had a seven digit serial
In November of 2000 B.C. Rich implemented a new date stamp format for serial number coding of it's imported models.
This started on the January 2001 models.
All B.C. Rich models, both imported and USA hand made's implement this same year time date stamp and guitar production number format:
121XXXXX first digit = year of manufacture
second digit = means nothing until double-digit years began (ie: 2010, 2011, 2012 etc)
third digit = quarter of manufacture
digits 4 thru 8 = production number
IMPORT SERIAL DATING INFO: (2007 +)
As of May 27, 2007 a new serial number system was developed for use on all B.C. Rich's.
Numbers were devised for the factory, month of production, year, etc. Below is an example of the number scheme. First is the month code letter:
MONTH CODE A = January C = February E = March F = April G - May H = June J = July K = August L = September M = October N = November P = December
Next is the factory number. Next is the year code which is 10 for 2010 Next is the production number
Here is an example:
The serial number shows that this guitar was: (F) - Made in April (14) ? Factory Number #14 (10) ? in 2010 (0023) ? and was the 23rd guitar made for BC Rich that month