This was an attempt by Bernie Rico to built a Jazz Box guitar. It is one of those rare B.C. Rich gems that do not come around too often. It's unique because it's handmade in the USA with a carved heel, which later model made in Japan didn't have. Also the inlay on the neck of the guitar is Conti. This is believed to be one of the few existing or made guitars, before there was an issue with Robert Conti. After the issue, where Robert claimed not to have endorsed this guitar, Bernie made a similar 1201 model with no carved neck and with Conte inlaid in the fretboard instead of Conti. Those guitars were produced in limited quantities in Japan.
This guitar was owned and played by C.C. DeVille. Howie Hubberman, who managed and financed Poison, bought the Guitar from C.C. at his home on Sunset Plaza in 1992. He then sold it to Tom Petterson (Cheap Trick). In 1999 he bought it back from Tom.
This guitar has a schizophrenic story depending on whom you ask!
For the Conti Story as told by a former employee, these are his words:
"I found this situation to be of interest and intrigue as any story with two sides to it. The intent of posting is only to provide information based on first hand accounts of the parties involved. The renditions of these stories are presented solely for entertainment purposes. Each side of the story had been told to me by the involved parties, the late Bernie Rico Sr. in 1999 and Robert Conti in 2002.
The Rico Side of the Story:
One afternoon in 1999 Bernie Rico Sr., was responding to me in a conversation regarding a request I made of him to build me a hollow body jazz box. He pulled out an old catalog, from the late seventies/early eighties and opened it up. There was a pic of a Conti hollow body. It was exactly what I wanted. So he said "one day" he might make another hollow body. He continued, "I made this guitar, and called it the Conti to honour him, Like a tribute to him." "But when he found out he said, How dare you use my name without asking me!! I'm going to F*@#in' sue you!" "So I said to him, I did this to honour you!! You don't like it!! Fine, then F*@# you!!!" Then Bernie told me that eventually everyone cooled off, and they made a deal to make the Conti 8 of today. This was a personal conversation between Bernie and Myself that was one of many Great stories he told me that cemented the fact I will be involved in music forever.
The Conti Side of the Story:
In 1981 Robert Conti was asked by a young fellow if he could help him get a B.C. Rich at a good price. Robert called Bernie, and arranged that deal. Apparently during that conversation, Robert made an off the cuff suggested that Bernie make a hollow body jazz guitar. In December of 1994 Robert was alerted to an article in guitar player magazine from a reader who wanted to know what this Conti BC Rich was that he had read all about. Robert had never even heard of this guitar until that day!!! Robert had his attorney Fax Bernie and Bernie Responded via Phone. Robert said his Attorney "may have had words with Bernie" but does not recall any profane shouting between him and Bernie at any time. The next month in January at the NAMM show 1995 Robert walked into the B.C. Rich booth and walked up to Bernie and said hello. Bernie said,"Who are you?" Robert replied, "I'm the guy whose name you put on your guitar without asking". Bernie and Robert began a dialogue, and it was there at the NAMM show that Robert showed Bernie his 8 string jazz guitar. Bernie flipped and suggested that B.C. Rich make a signature model based on the 8 string idea. Robert agreed, and the CONTI 8 of B.C. Rich fame was born.
Whatever story you want to believe this is a great guitar and all the previous owner wanted absolutely to have this guitar.
The guitar can be seen in the video: Poison - Nothin' But A Good Time