More than a decade ago, I bought a really old NJ series B.C. Rich Warlock bass from my friend Lorraine. I think she was ready to ditch pointy bass guitars for something classier as she went on to play in some excellent bands like The Gault and Worm Ouroboros. It came with a weird whitish-sparkly body, lots of dings that I added to, and multiple failed drill holes for a thumb-rest. I treated it as a beater bass I could fly with if I took the neck off. Well, that lil’ beater looks like this today.
And it also belongs to my wife now. It’s practically brand new, but with a vintage pedigree. This was a classic NJ series Rich, with its serial number planting its birth somewhere in Nagoya, Japan during the early eighties. The NJ guitars were real quality, then. I decided to give it new life. The project took me almost seven years to complete. But it was worth it to give my wife an awesome Christmas present.
Musical instruments, good ones, are often compared to one’s children. Well, how many children are thrown in a case, plucked, hammered on, plugged into, or hanged? Don’t answer that. (Please, really, don’t.) Without these precious musical items, though, it’s hard to call oneself a musician. That is, lest ye fortunate to have the talent of Susan Boyle (hopefully not the face). My favorite, my child, my baby, my fifth limb… my B.C. Rich Ironbird. This thing is a mother fucker.
It’s an American made (or at least assembled, I dunno) classic, with the big “R” inlay on the headstock indicating its origin in the land of the free. Birthed sometime around THIRTY FUCKING YEARS AGO, it’s got neck-through construction, a rosewood fretboard, and a simple one-knob configuration. Because metal don’t need a fucking tone knob. I scored it over a decade ago at a used-music shop in San Jose for a meager $300, during a period where “metal” was a dirty word and Prodigy was the band of the future (where are they know?). It’s been with me on countless tours and tons of recordings.
In the last installment of this thrilling three part series, I covered the internal changes I made to my Crybaby GCB-95 wah, which became my treasured Sewer Bæby. Being that was one of my first excursions into pedal modifications, I decided to take it all the way to learn a thing or three. I wanted to muck about with the aesthetics to show pride in my work, so I learned at least one way to reskin this cat.
The best way to paint any stomp box is powder coating. That’s the process whereby particles of color are electro-magnetically applied to a metal and then cooked on to form a super protective layer of paint. That’s the way the pros do it. I’m not a pro. I didn’t have the luxury of owning a powder coating system when I did this and I imagine most people never will. Cans of paint it is.