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Gibson RD Artist
solid body electric guitar

RD overview | RD artist | RD custom | RD standard

controls | pricing & publicity | schematics & parts lists

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; each with active electronics designed by Bob Moog: the RD Artist which had been around since 1977, the semi-acoustic 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

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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?

Back to the GIBSON INDEX | comment




US ebay listings

1977 Gibson RD Artist Guitar Ebony

Current price: $2395.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 12h 7m
1981 Gibson RD Artist CMT Pickup 3.71k (new old stock

Current price: $59.99
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Time left: 5d 6h 9m
Mint 2011 Gibson RD Standard Les Paul Pleked - International Buyers Welcome

Current price: $1499.00
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Time left: 3d 3h 46m
Gibson / RD Artist Alphine White 2014 Limited Run “RD Artist” guitar δ

Current price: $2780.00
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Free Shipping!! Very Rare!! Gibson RD Custom 1977 Guitar 04

Current price: $2492.00
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GIBSON FIREBIRD II CMT RD ARTIST w MOOG electronics ONLY 150 MADE!! 1981

Current price: $4995.00
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Time left: 22d 19h 12m
1979 Gibson RD Artist Bass

Current price: $1695.00
buy it now
Time left: 28d 11h 18m
1981 Gibson CMT RD Artist Bass Guitar

Current price: $3250.00
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Time left: 13d 7h 14m
Vintage 1979 Gibson RD Artist Electric Guitar w/ Moog Electronics Original Case

Current price: $2995.00
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Time left: 1d 44m
Gibson RD Artist Bass Guitar - Vintage 1977

Current price: $2295.00
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Time left: 21d 4h 4m
1978 Gibson RD Artist Bass with Original Case & Tags Natural

Current price: $1999.00
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Time left: 24d 4h 22m
Gibson Vintage 1977 RD Artist Natural Bass Guitar.

Current price: $1799.99
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Time left: 25d 3h 30m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

1979 Gibson RD Artist Bass

Current price: £1050.77
buy it now
Time left: 28d 11h 18m
Mint 2011 Gibson RD Standard Les Paul Pleked - International Buyers Welcome

Current price: £929.27
buy it now
Time left: 3d 3h 46m
Gibson / RD Artist Alphine White 2014 Limited Run “RD Artist” guitar δ

Current price: £1723.39
buy it now
Time left: 21d 16h 22m
2013 Gibson Kluson Deluxe Tuner Treble Side W/Black Key Knob 3rd 2nd 1st String

Current price: £9.27
buy it now
Time left: 8d 2h 54m
Gibson RD Artist Bass Guitar - Vintage 1977

Current price: £1422.73
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Time left: 21d 4h 4m
1979 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS & GUITAR PRINT AD

Current price: £6.19
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Time left: 10d 20h 44m
1977 Gibson RD Artist Guitar Ebony

Current price: £1484.72
buy it now
Time left: 27d 12h 7m
70's Gibson BASS BRIDGE Ripper RD EB-3 Les Paul? 3 point

Current price: £148.78
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Time left: 4d 19h 55m
NEW - Earvana Compensated 1-11/16" Nut For Gibson Acoustic, Wound 3rd, BLACK

Current price: £17.97
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Time left: 3d 19h 27m
NEW - Earvana Compensated 1-11/16" Nut For Gibson Acoustic, Wound 3rd, CREAM

Current price: £17.97
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Time left: 3d 19h 31m
4 Vintage GIBSON Speed Knobs RD SG L6-S Les Paul 70's 80's

Current price: £46.49
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NEW - Earvana Compensated 1-5/8" Nut For Gibson Acoustic, Wound 3rd, BLACK

Current price: £17.97
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Time left: 14d 1h 41m
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German ebay listings

GIBSON RD CUSTOM BAUJAHR 1978 - TOP ZUSTAND

Current price: €2395.00
buy it now
Time left: 18d 21h 10m
1977 GIBSON RD ARTIST / CUSTOM GUITAR CASE -- made in USA

Current price: €398.00
buy it now
Time left: 10d 23h 14m
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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