July 21, 2012

80's BC Rich Bich And Guitar Refinishing

     Two guitar posts in a row! What am I thinking?

     This NJ Series BC Rich Bich was my first electric guitar and for that reason alone I'll never sell it. However, that doesn't mean that I won't mod the hell out of it. I liked the way the guitar played, the funky bastardised strat headstock, and the wacky body but I was never a fan of the lipstick red colour. I originally tried to change the appearance of the Bich by using electrical tape. I applied black and white tape in a Van Halen style but the tape started to peel off after a while where my hand would rest.

     My next design was a white tiger stripe but once again it didn't stick for very long.

     So... about a decade ago I decided to do a complete body refinish. I dismantled the guitar, purchased some chemical paint stripper and several different grits of sandpaper. I tried to use the paint stripper in the garage but it wouldn't eat through whatever BC Rich used to coat the paint. I was forced to take the body into the backyard and start sanding away.

     It was some HARD work (two or three evenings) as the sandpaper didn't even want to go through the paint but I eventually got it done. I was expecting the body to be made of several pieces of wood but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a fairly nice single slab.

     Once sanded and completely smooth I attached a plank of wood to the neck pocket (using the existing screw holes) so the guitar would be easy to handle. I picked up some walnut coloured stain from Home Depot and applied it according to instructions. I used a think layer on the front and back and went much thicker on the bevels and sides.

     After the guitar was stained to my satisfaction I taped off the pickup cavities and neck pocket then used spray lacquer to seal and protect the body. It took about eight thin coats to get it where I wanted it.

    I then installed some GFS Power Rails humbuckers, the rest of the original wiring and some chicken head knobs on the controlls.

     I don't use the guitar often because I prefer many of my other guitars and the Power Rails are a bit more overdriven and darker than I prefer but I am very happy with the way the refinishing project came out. I give the guitar itself a 6/10 but the refinishing that I did a 9/10.


  1. im thinking of doing the same with my bich N.J i have an ST III NJ that i just finished stripping, you should do the neck too, it looks so nice and its not hard, it takes some time and hand work, i did the whole neck in about 4 hours, just use the same paint remover, but instead of using a sander use the back of a cutter in a 45 degree angle against the edge towards you if you do it the other way you would probably chip the wood with the sharp edge

  2. Hello,

    Just wanted to say thanks for a bit of inspiration! After seeing your Bich project I had to have a go. Good work on yours by the way, looks great.

    Mines almost done, couple more bits to do... here's a WIP