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Rick Suchow: Bass

the b.c. rich eagle bass...

Bernard Edwards of Chic playing late 70's Eagle bass.

My main two basses are both vintage late seventies B.C. Rich Eagles -- one fretted, one fretless, and both made of the now somewhat rare koa wood. These basses were a couple of the original high end, hand made neck-thru types, years before 'high-end' became commonplace. The fretless, a 1978 model (serial number 80434), was originally fretted until late 1980 when luthier Steve Carr of Long Island pulled the frets out and did a great job in refinishing the neck. Not only was he pleased with his work on my bass, I remember Steve also proudly showing me the job he had just completed for Gene Simmons of Kiss - a bass with a body shaped as an axe and blood stains painted on (which he let me play). I've since replaced the original Dimarzio pickups with active EMGs P-Bass pickups (which required that all the original Eagle active electronics be yanked from the battery compartment to make room). The original B.C. Rich bridge is still on the bass.

My fretted is a '79 or '80 (serial number 83459) and is the bass I've gigged with pretty much exclusively since the mid 80's. Again, all the original onboard active electronics were yanked a long time ago for EMG's, but this time the original bridge (also still on) is the great Leo Quann Badass, which was new at the time B.C. Rich began using them exclusively on their basses.

No matter how many other basses I try over the years I always seem to come back to the Eagle. No other bass I've played feels the way that one does, and I've probably tried over twenty different basses on gigs over the years just to see what was out there (particularly 5 and 6-strings). Interestingly, the Rich basses seem to have earned a reputation as a rock bass (thanks in no small part to the Spinal Tap movie), but in reality it was a killer funk bass when in the hands of guys like Chic's Bernard Edwards (see Chic concert photo above). Bernard was always one of my favorite bassists and probably a big reason why I bought the Eagle when it came out.

Photos of both of my basses can be seen throughout this site. Below is a link to the original B.C. Rich manual that came with the Eagle, augmented with Neil Moser's wiring schematic done many years later (please note this is a large 1.79 mb pdf file, however it will open in a seprate browser window). Below the link are some items that the company sent me back in 1983, including that year's Price List, as well as a few excerpts from their catalog.

Original B.C. Rich Eagle / Mockingbird manual & wiring schematic

A brief summary of the origin of the Eagle

The Eagle specs
Inside the company brochure
The 1983 B.C. Rich Price List