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Gibson RD Artist
solid body electric guitar

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RD overview | RD artist | RD custom | RD standard

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Gibson RD Artist - There Is No Energy Shortage
Gibson RD Artist - There Is No Energy Shortage
Late seventies advertisement for the RD Artist guitars and basses, detailing the active electronics and the expansion/compression features built into these guitars
Gibson RD Artist - The Active Sound Of The 80s
Gibson RD Artist - The Active Sound Of The 80s
This advert features three Artist series guitars; the RD Artist which had been around since 1977, the ES Artist and Les Paul Artist, which were both new models in 1979
Gibson RD Artist - Passive Active Gibson RD
Gibson RD Artist - Passive Active Gibson RD
Advertisement from the magazine Music Life (April 78), which comes from Japan. The functionality of the RD artist guitar is explained in detail (In Japanese)
Gibson RD Artist - Power Play - Basses Loaded
Gibson RD Artist - Power Play - Basses Loaded
This advert for the RD series actually appeared on two consecutive pages of the magazines in which they were printed. The top half, for the RD Artist guitar on the left, the RD Artist bass on the right

Latest RD forum posts from the VintageGuitar forum
forum index | post message

Gibson RD Artist
5 replies
last message by Barklessdog
12/04/2011 13:22

Custom RD Artist
5 replies
last message by Bnmnq
05/08/2009 09:38

78 Gibson RD - moog bypass?
2 replies
last message by freq42
19/11/2008 14:19

Re my 77 Gibson RD77 Artist
4 replies
last message by Ted Chappell
30/10/2008 11:09

Guitar of the week Gibson RD guitar
4 replies
last message by jules
14/05/2008 20:32

RD custom RD artist
3 replies
last message by jules
22/02/2007 20:06



Artist

The three versions of the Gibson RD artist. Top: the RD 77, middle: the RD 79, bottom the RD CMT

The three versions of the RD artist. Top: the RD 77, middle: the RD 79, bottom the RD CMT. There are a number of differences, in electronics, hardware and also scale. These are summarised below.

Model RD 77 RD 79 RD CMT
Available1977-791979-811981
PickupsGold-plated series VI humbuckers.Nickel-plated series VI humbuckers, with cream pickup surrounds
Active / PassiveActive, 9V
BodyMapleBound maple with curly maple top
NeckLaminated maple. Ebony fretboard with pearl block markers. Bound headstock with pearl inlay. Neck bound from 1979.No headstock inlays
Width at nut1 11/16"
Frets22
Scale25 1/2"24 3/4"
HardwareSchaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. Gold-plated throughout. Black speed knobs.Schaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and TP6 tailpiece. Gold-plated throughout. Black speed knobs.Schaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and TP6 tailpiece. Nickel-plated throughout. Gold speed knobs.
FinishesAntique Sunburst, Ebony, Natural, FireburstAntique Sunburst, Ebony, NaturalAntique Sunburst, Antique Cherryburst
NotesTwo volume, master treble, master bass controls. 3-way pickup selector, 3-position mode switch
 expansion/comp.
 neutral
 bright/lead
Two volume, master treble, master bass controls. 3-way pickup selector, 2 mini toggle switches
 expansion/comp.
 bright/lead

When the RD Series of guitars and basses were first designed, the Gibson Research and Development department wanted to pack their electronic innovations into the most suitable body. The RD guitars were styled at the same time as their active circuitry was developed, in this way the design of this instrument was a completely integral process. The result of this integral design is quite obvious - guitars and basses that are balanced and effective without gadgetry or ornamentation

The RD series consisted of three guitars and two basses, but this was certainly the flagship instrument. All advertisements featured the new active Artist models - which is not surprising as these were certainly very new and groundbreaking guitars

The scale of the RD77 was 25 1/2" - the longest Gibson guitar produced. When it was replaced with the more traditionally scaled (24 3/4") RD-79, the longer-scale RD-77 was still available as a custom order, at the same price. These new RD-77s still had the RD-79 expansion/compression switches.

1981 RD Artist CMT
A fine example of a CMT RD Artist, with a particularly nice top veneer
In March 1981, Gibson announced to dealers a limited run of 100 RD CMT guitars, for delivery in April. Ths guitars had mixed features; a slab body with a curly maple top, bound and with no contours. Hardware was nickel plated rather than gold, and there were no pearl inlays, just a Gibson decal. The price list released at the same time (April 1st 1981) has no mention of any RD guitars, so these were very definitely an end-of-the-line model. Was this Gibsons attempt to shift some RD Artists at a reduced price?

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US ebay listings

VINTAGE 1973 USA GIBSON LES PAUL GUITAR SPEED KNOB SET SG RD 1974

Current price: $89.00
buy it now
Time left: 16h 17m
Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe II '60s Neck Flame Top Guitar Wine Rd 888365016610

Current price: $1119.20
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Gibson RD Artist Ransom Guitars Dan Ransom

Current price: $870.00
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Vintage 1978 Gibson RD 4 String Bass Guitar MOOG Electronics 100% Original

Current price: $1000.00
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Vintage 1977 Gibson RD Custom Natural Maple

Current price: $1995.00
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1979 GIBSON RD STANDARD OWNERS MANUAL WITH WARRANTY CARD

Current price: $10.99
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1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS GUITAR PRINT AD

Current price: $7.99
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1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST - CUSTOM - STANDARD GUITAR PRINT AD

Current price: $7.99
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Vintage 1978 Gibson RD Artist Black Electric Guitar Ohsc

Current price: $799.00

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Gibson RD Custom 1978

Current price: $1500.00
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2010 gibson rd standard reissue w case black rosewood chrome great condition OOP

Current price: $1100.00
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Pickguard for Gibson Les Paul Guitar Pin Up Girl 4 RD

Current price: $22.16
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Pickguard for Gibson Les Paul Guitar Hawaiian Print RD

Current price: $22.16
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Pickguard Pick Guard for Gibson Les Paul Guitar RD Lace

Current price: $22.16
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Pickguard Pick Guard for Gibson Les Paul Guitar RD Boot

Current price: $22.16
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Pickguard 4 Gibson SG Standard Guitar Pin Up Girl 4 RD

Current price: $36.33
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Pickguard for Gibson SG Standard Guitar Resurrection RD

Current price: $36.33
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Pickguard for Gibson SG Standard Guitar Hawaii Print RD

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Pickguard for Gibson SG Standard Guitar Paisley RD

Current price: $36.33
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Pickguard for Gibson Flying V Guitar Paisley RD NEW

Current price: $44.00
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UK ebay listings

VINTAGE 1973 USA GIBSON LES PAUL GUITAR SPEED KNOB SET SG RD 1974

Current price: £52.95
buy it now
Time left: 16h 17m
Vintage 1977 Gibson RD Custom Natural Maple

Current price: £1186.86
buy it now
Time left: 2d 13h 35m
1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS GUITAR PRINT AD

Current price: £4.75
buy it now
Time left: 3d 14h 15m
1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST - CUSTOM - STANDARD GUITAR PRINT AD

Current price: £4.75
buy it now
Time left: 3d 14h 15m
Vintage Circa 1977 Gibson RD Artist Custom Bass w/ Moog Electronics & Hard Case

Current price: £1305.85
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Time left: 5d 20h 8m
Single or Full Sets Gibson Vintage Reissue Premium Electric Guitar Strings 10`

Current price: £1.99
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Time left: 6d 14h 58m
Gibson Masterbuilt Premium Bronze Acoustic Guitar String 3rd .022 U Light Gauge

Current price: £0.99
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Time left: 7d 18h 22m
GIBSON BEAUTIFUL RD CUSTOM CIRCA 1977 WOHSC

Current price: £948.90
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1970s Gibson Speed Knob Set of 4- RD SG Deluxe Special Standard Custom Roberts

Current price: £47.59
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New Gibson USA Guitar / Bass Hard Shell TKL Case 4 SG RD T-Bird ? Worldwide Ship

Current price: £118.98
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1973 Vintage Original Gibson Les Paul Pots and Caps 23rd week of 73 44PT1

Current price: £105.30
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1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS - BLACK - ORIGINAL CASE

Current price: £1895.00
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1977 Gibson Strap Button Set with Screws For Les Paul SG L6-S S1 Marauder RD USA

Current price: £23.79
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1978 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS & GUITAR PINUP AD

Current price: £4.75
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Gibson RD CMT 1982 RARE

Current price: £1398.06
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1974 Gibson Strap Buttons w Screws For Les Paul SG L6-S S1 Marauder RD USA

Current price: £13.22
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1980s Gibson Strap Button Set & Screws 4 Les Paul Sonex SG Invader RD Challenger

Current price: £20.82
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See more results on eBay here

There are 1 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
jan Comment left 22nd January 2014 19:07:18
I have been offered a 1979 RD guitar. MY doubt is if this guitar is TOTALLY ACTIVE or if it can work as an ordinary guitar also. Is it dual active/passive or does it ONLY works with the 9V battery,and how long does the battery last . thanks a lot Jan price is arround U$2.500 is this price ok ?

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