Dating Your B.C. Rich Guitar


We show you how to date your B.C. Rich guitar - PLEASE NOTE, we are no longer able to answer queries on BC Rich guitars with serial numbers not highlighted in this blog

date a bc rich guitar

Dating B.C. Rich neck-through guitars is relatively easy, although slightly imprecise by the 1980's. Beginning in 1972, the first B.C. Rich guitar was stamped 'Proto', and subsequent guitars were consecutively numbered beginning 001, 002, 003, etc. These consecutive numbers ran up to between 340 and 360. This system was used for the guitars distributed by L.D. Heater.

Understanding the serial number on your B.C. Rich Guitars

When distribution came back to B.C. Rich in 1974, a system of serial number coding began using a 5-digit code (XXYYY) with the first 2 digits indicating the year and the last 3 indicating the production number. That would make the first guitar of 1974 to have been numbered 74000, followed by 74001, 74002, 74003, etc. Throughout the '70s, production numbers were low enough that the serial numbers pretty much reflect the year of manufacture.

In the late '70s as production grew, the serial numbers begin to get ahead of themselves since only 1000 numbers were available in a series. With production growing rapidly by 1980, the serial numbers had gotten about two to three years ahead. For example, a bass guitar that is documented to have been purchased (not necessarily made) in 1980, bore the serial number #82595. Although neck-through production never surpassed approximately 2200 guitars a year, as the '80s progressed, the serial numbers continued to get ahead of the actual year. By 1981 the numbers were about four years ahead. This gap remained fairly constant until Bernie Sr. turned the production over to Class Axe in 1989.

Bolt-neck guitars are less precise for the usual reasons. The serial number is stamped on a neck plate, and like every other company, when the guitar was being finished, someone grabbed a plate out of the box and put it on in no particular, precise or documented order. These do not follow the same XXYYY dating scheme as the neck thru models. If a guitar has a number of 89321, for example, it was probably built in 1987, but it could have been assembled a bit earlier or later than 1987.

If it is a USA model, it will say "Made In The USA" on the headstock just below or beside the B.C. Rich script logo. The serial numbers are a bit hard to date because there was no uniform way they were assigned a number at Bernie's original shop. The neck plates were pre-stamped and pulled out of a box at random when it was time to install the neck onto the guitar or bass.

The Bolt On guitars serial numbers started with "BC" followed by five digits (BCXXXXX). Between 1989 and 1993 Class Axe took over production of B.C. Rich instruments and also used the "BCXXXXX" numbering scheme as well as "RXXXXXX" for it’s imported models. Class Axe did make some USA instruments of very good quality. Once again, the guitar will indicate that it was made in the USA by the "Made In The USA" stamp on the headstock. These will also have a small "TM" next to the script logo.

The USA bolt on guitars never followed the same serial number sequence as the neck thru models, which were numbered using the (YYXXX) format with the first two digits being the year, and the last three digits being the production number. Also, keep in mind on the 2+3 (five digit) serial numbers, they got out of sequence in the early to mid 80's. In other words, a guitar with serial number "84532" could have been made in 1982 or 1983, not 1984 as the number would suggest. They got back on track in 1993. Also, at some point in 1999 or 2000 the "Made In The USA" below the script logo disappeared on most of the guitars built.

In the year 2000, they changed to the letters "BO" (Bolt On) and three digits (B0XXX), which was the actual production number, but there was no number stating the year the guitar was built. The import guitar models before November of 2000 have a serial number starting with the letter "F", the USA models do not.

F7XXXXX (1997)
F8XXXXX (1998)
F0XXXXX (2000)

In November of 2000 B.C. Rich implemented a new date stamp format for serial number coding of it’s imported models. . This started on the January 2001 models. All B.C. Rich models, both imported and USA handmades implement this same year time date stamp and guitar production number format:

  • 121XXXXX first digit = year of manufacture
  • Second digit = means nothing until double-digit years get here again
  • Third digit = quarter of manufacture
  • Digits 4 thru 8 = production number

Current US-made B.C. Rich serial numbers follow the same year and guitar production number format. (example - serial number #24123 was the 123rd guitar made in 2004)

View a complete range of electric guitars over at PMT Online.

Electric Guitars

55 Comments on “Dating Your B.C. Rich Guitar”

  • Mike
    10th November 2019

    Hey everyone, I would really appreciate any help or advice on a BC Rich Warlock I recently purchased. It’s a platinum series and the guy I bought it off said it’s from the 80’s but it has no serial number or writing on the neck plate or on the headstock and I’ve opened the electrical cavity and there is no writing on the pots. I would really like to know the year this guitar was made and more about it but I can’t figure this one out. The guitar is black and the neck is also painted black and the neck plate is black. Where could I find a serial to date this old girl? Thank you for your time to anyone who reads this.

  • Danny
    22nd August 2019

    I recently re-acquired what i believe to be was the BC Rich Bich I had 25+ years ago. The serial number is 1869 on the neckplate. It’s a platinum series purple/violet pearl coloured Rich Bich. I have a photo of it when I originally owned it and the one I bought couple days ago look exactly the same. Just didn’t have the serial number from my original one. I contacted the guitar shop I bought mine from back then and they are looking into finding the records. Would be epic if it was the same and Numbers matched.

    What does this 4 digit serial number translate to ?

    • Lee Glynn
      27th August 2019

      Hi Danny, i'd get in touch with BC Rich directly. That would be pretty cool if it's the same one though! -Lee

  • Don Llewellyn
    15th July 2019

    I have a Warlock with a bolt on neck that I just bought for $100. Serial number is 71000138. It doesn't say "Made in U.S.A." anywhere, so how can I find out any info on this guitar?

    • Lee Glynn
      16th July 2019

      Hi Don, i'd get in touch with BC Rich direct for more information. -Lee

  • Ray Cabral
    23rd May 2019

    Hello I have a BC Rich Warlock 4-string Bass with powersound pickup I believe their p style I have the rounded vintage BC Rich head with BC Rich in mother of pearl and NJ series written in Gold underneath it 3 tuners on each side the name plate says Made in L.A . California with the serial number B 6457 my father and my brother bought me the bass I got it in 1987. From Lopez music in California they are both not with me anymore but the bass still is I would like to know information about it if possible it's very sentimental to me went through the best years of my life rocking withthis basethanks innadvance. Me e mail is.

    • Lee Glynn
      24th May 2019

      Hi Ray, i'd suggest contacting BC Rich about this directly. Sounds like a lovely bass though. -Lee

  • Sean
    1st May 2019

    This was a very helpful article as far as learning the methods to B.C rich's Madness. it helped me to put an approximate date on two of my B.C. Rich guitars. but nit the third. I have a B.C. Rich warlock that i found in a thrift store a couple years back. It had been stripped of everything, no pickups, tuning pegs, all the hardware, gone. it didnt even have a fretboard on the neck. Ofcourse I picked it up for the $10 they were asking for it. I took it home and over the months i pieced together a pretty sweet axe. The one thing that the guitar DID come with was the neck plate. It has a 4 digit seriel number #3391. The paint job is called crackle or "red Crackle" and it looks like bolts of lightning all over the guitar. Any info on when this guitar was built or tips as to how i can learn more about this would be great, thanks!


  • James
    1st February 2019

    Hello I have a BC Rich “ Evil Edge” Mockingbird. This is the serial number # 61002517. I don’t see many of these around. Can you please tell me what year this is from, thank you

  • William
    3rd January 2019

    I have a mockingbird with the nun 32422949 can't find any info on when it was made haven't seen anyone else with the numbers close to mine. Anyone know anything?

  • andy
    12th November 2018

    All very helpful yet confusing. I have a USA made Warlock B9408. I had the purchase receipt but is is faded - I'm guessing 1988? Can anyone help?

    • Lee Glynn
      15th November 2018

      Hi Andy, I would suggest contacting BC Rich about this guitar. -Lee

  • Lee Glynn
    31st October 2018

    Hi Chris, i'd suggest contacting BC Rich about this. Sorry we can't help. -Lee

  • Robert Artese
    27th August 2018

    Im trying to date the bolt on strat body snakeskin HSS with 3 on/off pickup switches I've personally had since the early-mid-80s. Ive read the above explanation and this number makes no sense to me. Its BC10215. Could you tell me anything? Thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      31st August 2018

      Hi Robert. I'm unsure about that number. I'd suggest getting in touch with BC Rich directly. -Lee

  • Rowan
    7th August 2018

    I have an Ironbird with a reverse headstock and the serial I70054 stamped on the neck plate along with Made in the USA, no idea when it's from. Friend found it in his garage when he was moving and can't remember when he bought it.

  • Steve
    3rd August 2018

    Hi - i have a 2007 awesome Dark arts Warlock - serial 7300156 - can't find any info or a link to BC rich site...any ideas as to where and ..well, any details really - TY.

  • Jason Thrush
    26th July 2018

    I just bought an American Made B.C.Rich for $70 and the serial # on the neck plate is BC135531. I THINK it is a Gunslinger ST3 but am not sure what it is. The headstock says B.C.Rich then Made in U.S.A. above it. Can u tell me exactly what make and model it is?

  • Dan
    11th July 2018

    I was able to pick up a Warlock bass several years back. Bern looking and trying to make sense of the serial numbers. serial # E704147

  • Małgosia
    5th July 2018

    BO548, Can someone please tell me the model and year.

  • Jay derr
    2nd July 2018

    I have a BC rich masterpiece serial number k01120702....long serial number.. What can you tell me about it....I believe it would implicate its fairly new?

  • Mr. Grim
    28th June 2018

    I can't figure out when my NJ Series 4 string Warlock was made. It's "mint green" and only has a 5 digit serial number, 28311. Would love any help I can get.

  • John
    31st May 2018

    Hello - I have a BC Rich USA Gunslinger with a bolt-on neck. The serial number is B 6972... perhaps an 86?

  • curtis johnson
    9th May 2018

    An assassin BC rich with serial #J01110646 any ideas

  • Dzzy
    30th April 2018

    I have a BC Rich mockingbird with the SN 41210531. It is a platinum NJ series with a natural wood body. Not sure what year it is made and all searches have yielded no result. Any idea?

  • Colby
    22nd April 2018

    Hi I have a bc rich platinum series it has the serial number of 1145 and doesn't even say made in USA or anywhere else it's sea phoam green and has bc rich pick up's is it real can it be dated please let me know

  • ken isitt
    25th March 2018

    our number is 11200803, dated?

  • Stephen Beale
    25th March 2018

    I have a mockingbird with reverse headstock serial num 150340 what year it please

  • Bobby Gallimore
    14th March 2018

    I have a BC Rich Warlock bolt on neck with the LA California neck plate serial # C304215.Any help dating year of manufacture and if it is USA or import would be greatly appreciated. I have contacted every BC Rich e-mail I can find and have had no response from anyone..

  • Darren A.
    7th March 2018

    I have the Warlock with blue and black crackle painted - B.C.Rich licensed Floyd Rose , bolt on neck , Made in the USA with a SN on the neck plate BC10233. I think it 1990~ish when I bought it used. Looks like I am in the same situation as Joe was with his SuperStrat.

  • Richard Duke
    5th March 2018

    So if I read this correctly my BC Rich Mockingbird with the serial number 84760 could have been made in and around 1980?

  • James L Bass
    3rd March 2018

    I have a BC Rich Seagull 2 bass guitar. How long was this model in production?

  • Bobby Gallimore
    25th February 2018

    I have a BC Rich Warlock with the LA California neck plate serial # C304215.Any help dating year of manufacture and maybe where would be greatly appreciated.

  • Nick G
    24th February 2018

    So then would B008866 mean it was the 866th guitar made in 2008? And if so, why does mine have a reverse head stock instead of the widow head almost all warlocks I see from that time have? Also it doesn't say made in the usa but i assume from the info above that with that serial number it isn't an import. Correct?

  • Harry Rudolfs
    21st February 2018

    I'm trying to find out the origin of a BC Rich 12 string acoustic. would like to know where it's made, # BW-2000-12

    • Lee Glynn
      22nd February 2018

      Hi Harry, we would suggest getting in touch with BC Rich directly about that guitar. - Lee

  • Joe Mirabile
    8th February 2018

    Great information, but I am still confused about my serial #. Any help would be appreciated.

    I have an STIII Superstrat I purchased in NYC between 1985 - 1987. "Made In The USA" It is a bolt on neck with serial # BC10715. It doesn't quite match the YYXXX format.
    It still feels and plays great. It has a Floyd Rose licensed whammy bar too. Do you know who made the whammy back then? Any other info based on the serial # would be great too. Too bad I lost the receipt and manual.


    • Lee Glynn
      13th February 2018

      Hi Joe, we advise getting in touch with BC Rich direct about this. -Lee

  • Breck Stuart
    28th January 2018

    I have a BC Rich guitar that is the black high gloss and MADE IN LA, it is old but I have no idea how old due to it’s ID # being B3429
    So any advice you have or factual information would be gratefully appreciated,
    Thank you

  • Colby
    24th January 2018

    I have one n it has a 4 fit digit number 1145 I’m told it’s from 1984

  • Enpumes
    23rd January 2018

    BC Rich Guitar Serial N08120661 Pro X. What year is this?

  • Jeff
    23rd January 2018

    Mine is a BC rich bass 18746 1/87 is when it was made?

  • Glenn Sykes
    19th January 2018

    I have an Ironbird with the serial number 0114931 on the back of the headstock. Would that indicate 2001 production year?

    15th January 2018

    Hi I have an NJ series Mockingbird ,Made in Japan ,Black Bolt-on, has the Carlsbro Sticker on it still but could of been Academy of Sound B4 Sound Control B4 PMT in NORWICH but I added 2 EMG's & a Kahler Trem system too make good. I just read a Vintage Guitar article & it mentioned Japan models start with an 'R' which mine is R-836875 but no mention of that in your post. And It STILL PLAYS nOT bAD-4-30 oDd yEArS. Any Clues ? would be appeciated JB

    • Lee Glynn
      15th January 2018

      Hi Johnny, we'd definitely recommend getting in touch with BC Rich about this one! They may be able to help further. -Lee

  • Eric Brizendine
    2nd November 2017

    Im trying to find out where this BC Rich Eagle was made person selling it says japan Serial Number Is 0124028 and what year it was made athnk ayou,Eric.

    • Lee Glynn
      17th November 2017

      Hi Eric, we recommend getting in touch with BC Rich direct for this enquiry. -Lee

  • d. brandvold
    10th September 2017

    my B.C. Rich (bronze) guitar # is 0044337... wondering if you have manufacture date comments for same?

    I guessed at mfg. date / year 2000 / 4th quarter / #4337 guitar made that year...? send me the BIG prize.. aye?

  • Lance Mackey
    31st August 2017

    I have a BC Rich B-38 Acoustic electric wig a serial # 307419, can you tell me what year this is?

    • Lee Glynn
      4th September 2017

      Hi Lance, I would suggest getting in touch with BC Rich direct for this query. -Lee

  • Jérôme
    10th August 2017

    I have a birch model with serial 90077.
    I'd like dating it
    I would be able to know all specification.... tremolo is broken (a small piece on the kahler usa) and i don't find a similar model on the really difficult To replace stuff.
    Please could you tell me more about ?

    • Lee Glynn
      14th August 2017

      Hi Jerome, we would advise getting in touch with BC Rich directly for this query, as we no longer stock these guitars. -Lee

  • Cameron
    5th August 2017

    Hi there Bruce.... im interested in finding out if you made any head way on info about. Your brothers acoustic. Because I have one as well serial # BW-4000-CB and can't find anything, an info that you may have woukd be really appreciated

  • Bruce Parks
    30th July 2017

    Hi my Brother has a BC Rich. He is curious. The model number is. BW-1000CB. Thank you in advance if you might have any info on this ecoustic guitar.

    • Lee Glynn
      1st August 2017

      Hi Bruce, we would definitely recommend contacting BC Rich direct for queries on those guitars. -Lee

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