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BC Rich Gunslinger Retro

Classic super-strat in an 80s style

Price: $193 to $217 at 2 stores
Searched BC Rich Gunslinger Retro in Reviews


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Sound It says a lot about a guitar company when a taxi-cab yellow super-strat with a reversed headstock, single (slanted) humbucker and Floyd Rose trem is their most restrained model. BC Rich, though, have always followed the path less trodden.

Quick spec rundown : Alder body, 1-piece maple neck with 22-fret maple fingerboard and Very Metal reversed headstock, Grover tuners, original Floyd Rose trem, DiMarzio Super Distortion* humbucker, single volume. All the right names on the bits, but how does it all come together?

In a single pickup guitar with no tone pot, the choice of pickup is absolutely crucial. The Super Distortion works just great here - it's big enough and dark enough not to sound thin and it doesn't scream at you like, say, an Evolution Bridge.

The guitar is nice and loud unplugged, as you would expect with all of that wood still in place where the other pickups and controls would normally be. Restrung (always my first move with new guitars) with 9-42 D'Addario XLs and plugged in, the Retro has a nice big, open sound to match its arena-filling looks (unless you buy a black one, which would be a shame).

The pickup configuration means that it's obviously not the most versatile thing going. The Super Distortion is extremely powerful so it won't clean up on the volume knob like a vintage-voiced pickup, but dialled back into a hot amp it's great for a gritty blues tone. Crank it up and it's got all the 80s hair metal tone you need. Just try to stick to Van Halen and avoid Warrant, m'kay?

* From MY2010, the Retro is fitted with a Rockfield Mafia pickup

Action, Fit, & Finish Out of the box, the Retro had the factory standard super-safe high action. The neck relief and intonation were fine, though, so a few turns of an allen key to adjust the bridge height had everything nice, low, buzz-free and ready to go.

The flat fretboard and jumbo frets are great for big bends anywhere on the neck. The unfinished neck feels good - subjectively very similar in feel to my Jackson Dinky. Compared to an Ibanez neck, it feels about as thick as a Wizard II but a little fatter.

For a guitar mass-produced in the Far East, fit and finish is just fine. The neck pocket is nice and snug, the control cavity and bridge routing is neat and the fretwork is very good.

The Original Floyd Rose does its thing as well as you would expect and is recessed to allow pull-ups.

Reliability & Durability There's less than usual to go wrong with a guitar this simple. The arm mounting on the Floyd may be an issue for you as they always go loose over time.

Customer Support I've never had to deal with BC Rich so I can't comment.

Liked about it - Simple design
- Classic 80s style (it's available in an awesome neon green from MY2010)
- Unfinished maple neck and fingerboard for that awesome, played-in grubbiness over time
- Big sound

Didn't like - A 24-fret neck would have been a nice bonus
- The downside of that simplicity is a lack of versatility - you wouldn't buy a Retro as your only guitar if you were a session player, for example
- The loss of the DiMarzio pickup for MY2010 seems a shame

Overall satisfaction:

By MarkE
Feb 07, 2010
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