RD Artist controls

Description of controls for 1977 and 1979 guitars

Gibson RD Artist

The Gibson RD Artist is tonally an exceptionally versatile instrument; although the controls are not especially easy to get to grips with. In fact the controls were updated in 1979, the first and second series controls are summarised below.

 

RD77

Gibson RD Artist description of controls - RD77

RD79

Gibson RD Artist description of controls - RD79

 RD77RD79
1 (control)Front pickup volume control
2 (control)Bass control
3 (control)Back pickup volume control
4 (control)Treble control
5 (3-way switch)Pickup selector switch
6 (jack)Input jack
7 (3-way switch)Mode selector switch, 3 position
A - Mid-position - "Neutral" - standard, straight ahead active electronics
B - Back position - Activates Expansion/Compression mode. Pickup selector switch then engages front pickup for expansion effects, back pickup for compression or combine the two.
C - Forward position - "Bright" mode.
 
8 (2-way switch) Forward position - "Neutral" - standard, straight ahead active electronics
Back position - Activates Expansion/Compression mode. Pickup selector switch then engages front pickup for expansion effects, back pickup for compression or combine the two.
9 (2-way switch) Forward position - "Neutral" — standard, straight ahead active electronics
Back position - "Bright" mode.

So initially it would seem that the RD 77 and 79 were just different ways of acheiving the same effect - not so! the RD77 does not allow expansion compression AND bright mode simultaneously, whereas the RD 77 does!

Gibson RD Artist guitar sensitivity exander adjustment
RD Artist guitar decay time adjustment
Location of the sensitivity exander adjustment on the Moog circuit board

There are a two other potential adjustments on the Moog board itself, both are factory set, but can be adjusted by the user. The first is the Expander sensitivity adjuster. Early models have a small hole on the back of the guitar, in the control panel cover, just big enough for a flat blade screwdriver to adjust this. The effect of this control is self explanatory, and in reality is quite subtle. Obviously this only effects the expansion mode. Later models had a small rubber plug which could be turned with the same effect. The second board-mounted control is the decay time adjuster. Unlike the expansion sensitivity this can not be adjusted without removing the board itself and is probably best left at the factory setting.

The images on the left show these adjusters from the underside of the board. From the assembled board, all you see is a small hole. The image on the right shows the location of the sensitivity exander adjustment on the Moog circuit board. When covered, the plastic cover has a hole or rubber knob in the same place

The controls, although hugely adjustable, are not terrifically intuitive. Perhaps the reason Gibson released a series of sheets in 1978 detailing their operation - obviously this refers to the earlier RD77 version.

Gibson RD Artist description of controls

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chris Comment left 14th October 2016 21:09:04 reply
I want to carefully remove all the electronics, save them for later, and replace them. Any tips on how to do this without ruining things? How is the board attached in the cavity?
vintage guitar and bass Comment left 23rd February 2017 09:09:55 reply
This is really simple. There are two potentiometers mounted onto the Moog board itself - and these are also attached to the body front with standard hex nuts. Undo the nuts holding on the bottom two pots and the board (plus pots) will lift right out. There are five molex connectors joining the 'other' circuitry to the board. These can easily be removed (just pull them out) and the board is then completely free. Very easy job.