Think B.C. Rich, and the curves and points of radical electrics like the Mockingbird, Warlock, and Bich come to mind—not to mention the aggressive sounds they typically produce. But the first guitars that Bernardo Chavez Rico first made in his Los Angeles shop in the late 1960s were exclusively acoustic. Now the company is revisiting that facet of their heritage with five new acoustic models, including the BCR6 reviewed here.
Back To Dread
The BCR6 is inspired by the very first acoustic Rico designed. It’s a square-shoulder dreadnought with a 25.5"-scale and a solid spruce top with modern scalloped X bracing. The back and sides are laminated rosewood, and the neck is mahogany with a rosewood fretboard. The bridge and headstock cap are rosewood as well. All the lumber on our test model looks lovingly selected. The spruce is fine-grained, and the quarter-sawn rosewood’s deep, purplish coloration adds character and a luxurious look.
The BCR6 is the most lavishly appointed guitar of the new acoustic quintet. It gleams with abalone—the material is used for the rosette, the cloud inlays, the endpin strip, and the purfling on the body, headstock, and back. The idiosyncratic faux-tortoise pickguard recalls Gibson’s Hummingbird while also evoking the shape of the company’s electrics.
Even where there isn’t abalone, B.C. Rich brings the bling. The heel cap, for instance, is crafted from faux abalone, and there’s a fancy script R on the back, mirroring the one on the headstock. All hardware—including the nice Grover Rotomatic tuners—is gold. Depending on your perspective, the BCR6 is either a looker, or overdressed for the price category. On the whole though, it boasts a nice balance of deluxe appointments.
The BCR6’s beauty is more than skin deep. The fretwork is clean, smoothly polished, and entirely free of jaggedness. The binding is tight and flush, and the inlays are clean. You can detect finish inconsistencies at the neck/body junction and a little glue bleed here and there. But these details have negligible sonic impact, and are common among guitars in this price range.
Tight and Punchy
The BCR6’s neck has a slim C shape—not surprising given BC Rich’s electric heritage. It’s comfortable and fast from the nut to the 20th fret, though I might prefer slightly lower action.
Tones are bright and balanced. While the BCR6 lacks the walloping power of the very best dreadnoughts, it has plentiful harmonic headroom, the likes of which you don’t often hear in affordable dreads. All notes ring clearly and faithfully, and the natural harmonics at the 12th, 7th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd frets have terrific definition.
The BCR6 works brilliantly as a strummer. Its resonance is satisfying for basic open and barre chords in standard tuning, but it really shines in open tunings. The ample headroom is great for rhythm, but it responds well to gentle arpeggio work too, with or without a pick. The bass response is a real asset. It’s tight and present, but not overpowering—perfect for Carter strumming and walking bass lines.
Lead lines sound great as well. From bluegrass runs to bebop phrases, there’s pronounced attack and punch and a great balance between fundamentals and overtones—a nice surprise given the laminated rosewood back and sides (and a testament to how well laminate backs can perform when executed well). The guitar’s sustain also enhances vibrato-inflected notes.
The electronics include Fishman’s Sonicore undersaddle pickup and Sonitone preamp. The latter includes a ¼" output and a battery compartment on the lower-right bout. It’s not the prettiest solution, but at least it’s invisible when the guitar is in playing position. The electronics aren’t terribly sophisticated or sonically complex, though they do a very serviceable job reproducing the guitar’s natural acoustic sound with minimal fuss.
The Verdict B.C. Rich’s BCR6 is a satisfying dreadnought at a bargain-basement price. Its flash won’t suit everyone’s style, but it’s well built and has a full, punchy sound. The slim neck provides easy playability, perfect for electric guitarists who wants to get into acoustic without straying from the fast, familiar feel of their favorite electric.
Watch the Review Demo: