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Seagull #1

This is the guitar that started it all off. A Bernardo C. Rico design. This is one of my favorite guitars ever. This guitar incorporates all the building innovations that Bernie came up with. There were other neck-through guitars at the time, but none with the carved neck heel, which has been a BC Rich trademark since the beginning. If you will read the text in "The Book" page of this site, you will find out how I came to be involved with Bernie. It was all about the Seagull guitar. I really love this guitar, it was too weird. Only a Flamenco acoustic guitar player would design an electric guitar with a point on the top that stuck you in the chest and a point on the bottom that stuck you in the leg. That's probably why it only lasted for a couple of years in full production. It is a CLASSIC guitar and I wouldn't sell this one for anything. When I got to Bernardos Guitar Shop in 1974 there were 16 of these guitars. 12 just in wood and 4 finished. I modified my electronic design to fit in the 16 already built Seagulls. Then we started from scratch at #1 with the electronics I had designed especially for the Seagull. That electronic design transferred to all the other guitars in the BC Rich line and was expanded in the Bich.

This is Seagull #1


As you can see, the electronics are not the normal BC Rich Seagull type. At the time I was running 2 amps and a Leslie. It has 2 boosters and 2 varitons. Modified Gibson Hums so they will split and go out of phase. It's also wired in stereo. 1 hum went to a Musicman 2 10 combo amp and the other hum went to a 4 10 Musicman combo amp and the Leslie. Don't ask how I did that cause I don't remember. I just know I did.


When this guitar was in production I was trying to decide what kind of inlay I wanted. Bernie showed me some different types and I thought this design was interesting. Then Bernie said, "Hey Neal, why don't you inlay your own guitar". He said it would be good experience. Being an electronics guy I knew nothing about inlay. I figured all you had to do was cut holes in the fingerboard the same size as the inlay. Ha Ha Ha Ha. This was the first and last guitar I inlaid with fairly complex inlay. I inlaid it so well that Bernie said I would never be out of work. I said, "Yes I will, because I'll never do that again". Back then we did it with a Dremel tool free hand. Now the Dremels come with nice little flat router basses that make it much easier to do by hand. Most of the fancy inlay these days is done by CNC programmable routers. "Trees of Life" down the fingerboard or "Dragons" you've seen them. Ron Thorn is probably the best in the business at this.


The machine heads on this guitar are not original, I changed them later on when we went to Grover Imperials. Also, we stopped using Gibson humbucking pickups in 1975. I was the guy that had to take them apart and wire them out for split and phase. A major pain. Guild pickups were next. They weren't much better. I had to wire them differently as well. At least I didn't have to take the covers off.


Bernie told me he used a toilet seat shape to get started. I can't really see that, but that's what he said, I swear. Notice the sharp down curve on the point. I refer to it as a hook point Seagull. This point really dug into your leg while you were sitting down. I eliminated it very early in the production. These "hook point Seagulls" are very rare. They were only made in the first part of 1974. One of the first questions Bernie asked me was what I would change on the Seagull to make it electric guitar player friendly. Bear in mind that Bernie was a very good Flamenco guitarist and acoustic man. Electrics weren't his forte' that’s why he brought me aboard. The first thing I changed on Seagulls was the nut width and board crown. The first ones were a little too wide and flat for your basic Fender or Gibson player. I personally love wide, flat necks, but the normal guy off the street doesn't.


This is the original Seagull production template after my modification on the hook point. It's made of 1/4 inch aluminum. I love this template, MAN, WHAT A PIECE OF HISTORY.
Update Feb. 06: I've recently talked to Eddie Estrada who I believed owned Seagull #1. It seems he owns #4 I believe. So that means this one was #1. I knew it was #1 or #2, but it was a long time ago.
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