For the last fifty years or so, guitar body shapes have been, to one degree or another, simple variations of the vintage Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul designs. Given these guitars’ popularity, it’s fairly uncommon for a truly novel guitar shape to make an impact on guitar players. For all the variations that exist between musicians, guitar players are, on the whole, pretty conservative when it comes to their gear.
One significant guitar maker who happened to make a pronounced effect on the music industry with his radical guitar design was Bernardo Chavez Rico, known to most people in the industry as B. C. Rich, the founder of the company of the same name. B. C. Rich created such well-known instruments as the Bich and the Warlock. The B. C. Rich Mockingbird was also one of his earliest models and has become one of the company’s most well-loved guitars.
The Mockingbird guitar shape ships in a number of different incarnations. Current B. C. Rich Mockingbird models include the Calibre Classic, the Special, the Special X, the Masterpiece, the ST, and the Exotic Classic, which is the subject of our present review.
While the first B. C. Rich Mockingbird was hand-made in Rico’s custom shop, most present models are Korean made, which helps explain their extreme affordability. It includes the well-known neck-through construction, in which the neck runs through the entire body of the guitar, contributing to its sustain and tone.
The instrument includes an ebony fretboard, which as you would expect lends itself to fast fretwork and is perfectly geared toward the rock and metal player. The 24 jumbo frets were smooth, well-rounded, and polished wonderfully, especially for an imported guitar.
The guitar sports Rockfield pickups, which offers creamy, smooth rock and metal sounds, though players who want extreme high gain pickups may want to install Dimarzio or Duncan replacement pickups. If you’re more of a classic metal (e.g. Ozzy) or classic rock (e.g. Zeppelin), the Rockfield pickups are perfectly acceptable.
We found the B. C. Rich Mockingbird Exotic Classic to be a first-rate classic rock and metal machine. The fit, finish, and action are impeccable. The hardware is first-rate, though we would have liked some locking tuning machines.
If you’re searching for even more options, you can give the Mockingbird ST a try, which includes an original Floyd Rose Tremolo. We certainly didn’t miss the tremolo on the Exotic Classic, though, which is a first-rate hard rock/metal electric guitar.