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Guitar of the week #93 - B.C. Rich MK9 Warlock

B.C. Rich MK9 Warlock

You have to be a special kind of dude to wield one of these.

B.C. Rich's Warlock model has been around a long time since its introduction in the early 1980s. Ever since I started playing guitar, I've always seen a Warlock or two in a guitar store. Sometimes you'll even see a bass version.

Truth be told, most Warlocks are junk. But there's a reason for that. It's because most people who buy a Warlock go for the cheap-ass $250 version (MK1 model). Yeah, it is a true Warlock, but if a cheap and good rocker guitar is what you want, your money is far better spent on a Jackson JS32T Kelly.

However, the Warlock I'm showing here is the good stuff. The MK9 Warlock is the one that truly delivers what made it great back in the '80s. It is not the cheap-ass MK1. The MK9 is better in every way.

Starting with appearance, you get the diamond inlays on the fingerboard and that oh-so awesome old school headstock with the big R on it - arguably the coolest looking thing on the guitar because it's a gorgeous piece of abalone.

Better versions of this guitar come loaded with DiMarzio pickups, the PAF and the Super 2 - which is almost $150 worth of hardware alone.

The bridge is what's called a Quadramatic, which is as far I'm aware unique to B.C. Rich. It's a solid performer and that's basically all you need to know. Set it and forget it because it just works.

Where the neck meets the guitar has a heel-less neck joint. This is a neck-thru design that makes for very easy access to the higher frets.

What does the guitar sound like?

This is where things get interesting, as the pickup voicing is actually something I like.

The DiMarzio PAF is not a screamer like, say, the Super Distortion. This is an old-school style pickup with less magnetic pull and much "sweeter" sound to it. Think vintage Gibson Les Paul and you have an idea of what the pickup sounds like.

Where the Super 2 pickup is concerned, that's the "hot" pickup in the MK9 Warlock.

So as far as what you can do with that particular pickup combo, you cover a lot of ground. Classic rock to metal tones and everything in between.

I don't even like the Warlock, but I like the MK9

The MK9 as far as I'm concerned is the best production Warlock that B.C. Rich currently makes. Just about everything that made it great in the '80s is in this guitar.

It's the headstock and '80s styling that sells me on the MK9 Warlock more than anything else. The best B.C. Rich headstock design is on the MK9 and the burst finish with the chunky chrome bridge and cream-colored pickups just totally works.

This style of guitar is the absolute polar opposite of what I prefer to play (if you're new here, the Jazzmaster is my guitar of choice). I don't like 24-fret necks, I don't like humbucker pickups, I don't like the 3x3 tuner configuration, I don't like pointy guitar shapes...

...but I can't deny this guitar just gets everything right for what it is.

If you like the Warlock, the B.C. Rich MK9 Warlock is, at least at the time I write this, the only one worth getting.


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