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Ever since Telecaster opened up the market for solid body electric guitars, all kinds of body shapes have emerged.
Sine giants like Fender and Gibson pretty much set the standards right off the bat, a number of other guitar manufacturers wanted to leave their own mark on the industry.
Some did it by focusing more on sound and performance of the guitars, while others focused elsewhere. B.C. Rich is one of those companies that everyone has heard about, but not many are interested in their guitars.
Why? The reason is very simple. B.C Rich went and designed some of the most outrageous body shapes ever seen on an electric guitar. Their most popular one is the Warlock body shape. It looks like almost medieval in nature, which is probably why a lot of metal guitarists love these guitars. At least those who care about the aesthetics of their instruments.
With that said, not everyone is so hot for B.C. Rich guitars. As a matter of fact, most players don’t have a stomach for them. Which is unfortunate considering some of them are pretty good. B.C. Rich Warbeast is a great example of a low to mid range guitar that has a lot to offer.
Just like all other B.C. Rich models, B.C. Rich Warbeast comes in several variants which all vary in quality. Not only is their performance different, but so is their appearance and naturally price.
Standard version of this guitar, which is the one we are going to talk about today, is pretty decent compared to anything else you can buy for the same amount of money.
As you can probably tell from the pictures, B.C. Rich Warbeast sports that standard Warlock body shape B.C. Rich has become famous for. This one has a slightly beveled top. The tonewood of choice for this particular model is Basswood. Yes, that is definitely not the most popular wood to make an electric guitar from, but before you roll your eyes to the back of your head, consider that a basswood has some benefits which make it great for a harder sound.
The finish on this particular B.C. Rich Warbeast is all black. This company is simple in that regard. Their guitars are either black, or red. Rarely will you see anything other than those two, which is a shame.
The neck is a bolt on design that is made of maple and sports a simple rosewood fretboard. It’s a bolt on design, as you would expect in this price range. Interesting thing about this guitar’s neck is that it comes with no inlays whatsoever.
It’s a very clean looking rosewood fretboard that comes with 22 frets, all of which are easily reached thanks to the deep cutaways. Hardware comes in form of a tune-o-matic bridge with string through body design and a set of sealed die cast tuners. In all honesty, there is nothing extravagant about either of these. All of the hardware, including control knobs, come in chrome.
Electronics B.C. Rich went with on this guitar are a pair of their BDSM pickups. We are of course talking about passive humbuckers that have a relatively hot output. These are controlled by a single volume knob, a single tone knob, and a three-way pickup selector switch.
When we say the pickups are hot, we mean really hot. It is definitely no secret that B.C. Rich Warbeast was meant to be used for all flavors of metal music. That is simply in its nature. You can feed it all kinds of distortions, and the pickups will handle just about anything.
There is some range to them, even though they are pretty streamlined. The bridge, combined with a basswood body, offers a surprisingly decent amount of sustain. The tuners are not a locking design, however they do their job rather well.
One of the most impressive things about this B.C. Rich Warbeast is how playable it actually is. The profile of the neck makes walking the fretboard a breeze, and those deep cutaways allow you to reach the high notes with zero effort.
This guitar is well balanced too. Most people don’t like the body shape, however it has really little impact on how B.C. Rich Warbeast feels during use. You would think it’s all clunky and cumbersome, but surprising it’s the opposite. This guitar is pretty comfortable.
What we like
There is a thing or two to be said about ambitious affordable guitars. Most brands try to deliver super capable guitars that can be bought for a small amount of money. This in itself is rarely a successful strategy. B.C Rich doesn’t even attempt to do this in any way. They have created a guitar that is made for a certain application, and that is something it does well. B.C. Rich Warbeast gives you the performance you need to pull off those face melting riffs. It’s a well built guitar, and overall a great performer.
What we don’t like
Aside from the body shape that definitely isn’t for everyone, there are somethings that we need to mention about B.C. Rich Warbeast, and most B.C. Rich guitars in general. This company has been making guitars for several decades now, yet their quality control hasn’t kept up with the times.
Some of these Warbeasts will arrive completely unplayable. The action will be all messed up and require intervention. No matter how good you think your specific one is, it’s always recommended to take the guitar to a shop for proper setup and tuning.
Sometimes it’s necessary, but a proper setup will always give you the best result with these odd guitars. Whether or not B.C Rich will improve their quality control is left to be seen, however it is definitely something you should be aware of if you are shopping for their guitars.
Anyone who has been playing electric guitars for some time will know the story of B.C. Rich. It’s not the most popular guitar manufacturer in the world, however they have a large and steady following. Some people simple love the unusual shape of their guitars, which is something they can’t find elsewhere.
Honestly, no one does it better than them. B.C. Rich Warbeast is a great guitar for the money. It’s not an instrument you can use in a large variety of music genres, but it was never meant to be that kind of guitar anyway.
Whether or not Warbeast is something you should consider getting for yourself depends on what you want from a guitar. If the way it looks is appealing to you, go for it. The electronics are decent enough to provide a good sound, and the guitar is definitely unique. However, be aware that it’s not a general purpose guitar.
You certainly can play blues or rock on this ax, but the quality of sound won’t be as good as you can get in this price range. On the other hand, if metal is your flavor, this guitar will get the job done. Both in terms of performance and aesthetics.