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GIBSON | SOLID BODY | RD | RD ARTIST

Gibson RD Artist

Solid bodied electric guitar

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

Gibson RD Artist 77
Model: RD 77
Available: 1977-79
Pickups: Gold-plated series VI humbuckers.
Active / Passive: Active, 9V
Body: Maple
Neck: Laminated maple. Ebony fretboard with pearl block markers. Bound headstock with pearl inlay. Neck bound from 1979.
Width at nut: 1 11/16"
Frets: 22
Scale: 25 1/2"
Hardware: Schaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. Gold-plated throughout. Black speed knobs.
Finishes: Antique Sunburst, Ebony, Natural, Fireburst
Notes: Two volume, master treble, master bass controls. 3-way pickup selector, 3-position mode switch
 expansion/comp.
 neutral
 bright/lead
Gibson RD Artist 79
Model: RD 79
Available: 1979-81
Pickups: Gold-plated series VI humbuckers.
Active / Passive: Active, 9V
Body: Maple
Neck: Laminated maple. Ebony fretboard with pearl block markers. Bound headstock with pearl inlay. Neck bound from 1979.
Width at nut: 1 11/16"
Frets: 22
Scale: 24 3/4"
Hardware: Schaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and TP6 tailpiece. Gold-plated throughout. Black speed knobs.
Finishes: Antique Sunburst, Ebony, Natural
Notes: Two volume, master treble, master bass controls. 3-way pickup selector, 2 mini toggle switches
 expansion/comp.
 bright/lead
Gibson RD Artist CMT
Model: RD CMT
Available: 1981
Pickups: Nickel-plated series VI humbuckers, with cream pickup surrounds
Active / Passive: Active, 9V
Body: Bound maple with curly maple top
Neck: No headstock inlays
Width at nut: 1 11/16"
Frets: 22
Scale: 24 3/4"
Hardware: Schaller tuners, tune-o-matic bridge and TP6 tailpiece. Nickel-plated throughout. Gold speed knobs.
Finishes: Antique Sunburst, Antique Cherryburst
Notes: Two volume, master treble, master bass controls. 3-way pickup selector, 2 mini toggle switches
 expansion/comp.
 bright/lead
1981 RD Artist CMT

A fine example of a CMT RD Artist, with a particularly nice top veneer

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

RD Artist headstock inlay

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.

In March 1981, Gibson announced to dealers a limited run of 100 RD CMT guitars, for delivery in April. This guitar 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?

The RD Artist guitar and bass had a unique new "Flying f-hole" headstock inlay design. It was created by Gibson design artist Chuck Burge - an f-shaped soundhole with wings, and a lightning bolt in it's center to represent the active nature of the instruments.

Original Gibson RD Artist advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1978 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gibson advertisements

Gibson RD Artist - Passive Active Gibson RD

Gibson RD Artist - Passive Active Gibson RD (1978)
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)
[more]

Gibson RD Artist - There Is No Energy Shortage

Gibson RD Artist - There Is No Energy Shortage (1979)
Late seventies advertisement for the RD Artist guitars and basses, detailing the active electronics and the expansion/compression features built into these guitars
[more]

Gibson RD Artist - The Active Sound Of The 80s

Gibson RD Artist - The Active Sound Of The 80s (1979)
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,...
[more]

Gibson RD Artist - Power Play - Basses Loaded

Gibson RD Artist - Power Play - Basses Loaded (1979)
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 r...
[more]

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Gibson RD series guitars for sale

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Gibson RD Artist 1978 VINTAGE - Natural w / custom Hard-Shell Case

Gibson RD Artist 1978 VINTAGE - Natural w / custom Hard-Shell Case

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 190**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3849

I have my 1978 Gibson RD Artist up for sale here. It is all original, all stock, nothing has been changed since it was created! All the MOOG electronics work great. It's heavy! 9 8 lbs with a back contour and a huge Norlin volute. It is in beautiful shape considering it is 45 years old. Of course, it has some nicks and dings associated with a guitar of this age. It is not a museum piece. The mark on the back of the neck CAN NOT be felt. All of its flaws are in the pictures posted (and there ... more
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1977 Gibson RD Custom Natural Finish Vintage Guitar w / HSC

1977 Gibson RD Custom Natural Finish Vintage Guitar w / HSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3395

Located At Our Brick'n'Mortar Store In San Diego, CA
1977 Gibson RD Custom In Natural
In Very Good Overall Condition - Playwear - Small Nicks / Scratches Throughout
Original Moog Electronics Function As Intended
Original Pickups And Electronics
Original Hardware
Pro Refret Done At Neely Guitars
Weighs In At 9 Pounds 6 Ounces
Nut Width: 1 7 "
Neck Depth: .78" At The 1st Fret - .89" At The 12th Fret
Comes With The Hardshell Case Shown In Photos
... more
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Gibson RD Artist, Natural Wood, 1977

Gibson RD Artist, Natural Wood, 1977

Prestwick, KA9***, UNITED KINGDOM

£4000

1977 Gibson RD Artist, one of the experimental Gibson RD guitar models from Gibson in the Norlin era. Early RD models were 24-fret, this appears a late 1977 model with 22 frets. Frets a bit low but well playable. The guitar sports a Moog electric unit with a compressor and expander. Guitar has been well used and has marks to the bogy but is generally in pretty good nick. Comes with original but tatty case... more
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1977 Gibson RD Artist Stage Played Ex-Whitesnake Vintage 70s Guitar For Sale

1977 Gibson RD Artist Stage Played Ex-Whitesnake Vintage 70s Guitar For Sale

Southend-on-Sea, SS1***, UNITED KINGDOM

£9999

1977 Gibson RD Artist owned by Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake and stage played by him with the band around the world. Marsden is famous for #1 hits like "Here I Go Again" and was a prolific guitarist before and after his time with David Coverdale and Whitesnake. We acquired the guitar directly from Bernie's estate and have several of his guitars, amps and speaker cabinets. The Gibson RD Artist was Gibson's flagship guitar in the late 70s with stunning inlays and the famous Moog electronics. The ... more
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Gibson RD Custom Walnut 1978 Vintage Electric Guitar

Gibson RD Custom Walnut 1978 Vintage Electric Guitar

Ashton-under-Lyne, OL7***, UNITED KINGDOM

£2325

Welcome to the eBay shop of Sell Us Your Guitar
On this platform we are unable to arrange part exchange, viewings or direct prices
We advise finding our website where you can find direct prices and discuss all of the above!
Gibson RD Custom Walnut 1978 Vintage Electric Guitar
This guitar is a commission sale - if you have a high end guitar you are interested in selling, please contact us via our easy to find website - search: Sell Us Your Guitar
Here for sale we have a Gibson ... more
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1977 Gibson RD Custom in Natural

1977 Gibson RD Custom in Natural

London, NW11***, UNITED KINGDOM

£3090

Here for sale 1977 Gibson RD Custom in Natural. It's all original and features an active preamp. The controls are 2 volume and treble-based boost / cut, and the two distinctive toggle switches are a normal pickup selector, and the other is a 2-way toggle for turning on / off the bright circuit. The guitar is in very good condition with some minor playing wear. There's some cover tear on the bridge pickup. Comes with hard case
... more
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Gibson RD Artist 40th Anniversary Electric Guitar w / Case - Vintage Sunburst - Pr

Gibson RD Artist 40th Anniversary Electric Guitar w / Case - Vintage Sunburst - Pr

Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory, 2***, AUSTRALIA

AU $4069

... more
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jan Comment left 23rd January 2014 07:07:18 reply
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 ?
Steve Comment left 26th October 2017 09:09:32 reply
The battery drains when the cord is plugged into the guitar, and there is no bypass. Battery life depends on your settings (more compression, expansion, brightness) but you can probably get six or eight hours of good play from a 9V battery. Then the sound begins to distort. If you buy this guitar, get a set of rechargeable 9-volts to go with.

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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.

1968 Selmer guitar catalogue

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1961 Hofner Colorama I

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1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.

1960 Hofner Colorama II

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1971 Epiphone 1820 bass (ET-280)

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1981 Gibson Marauder

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1971 'Pick Epiphone' Catalog

1971 Pick Epiphone catalogWhen Epiphone production moved from Kalamazoo to the Matsumoku plant in Japan, a whole new range of electric, flattop and classic acoustic guitars was launched. Between late 1970 and 1972 the new models were launched and refined. This 'folder' catalog contains various inserts released over these years detailing four electric six-strings (ET-270, ET-275, ET-278, and thinline EA-250), three bass guitars (ET-280, ET-285, and thinline EA-260), three folk/steel acoustics, four jumbo flattop acoustics, two 12-string jumbos, four classic acoustics, and a banjo.

1981 'Gibson Specials' Pre-Owners Manual

1981 Gibson Specials Pre-Owners Manual'Gibson Specials' was part of the June 1981 pre-owners manual series, but unlike the other folders contained a mish-mash of different guitars: limited editions, test marketing and close outs. "You will find the unusual, the brand-new, and the bargain within this folder". End of line 70s guitars like the Marauder, S-1, and L-6S Custom mixed in with brand new models the The V, The Explorer and the Flying V Bass.
It was the largest folder in the series, with 24 inserts, (19 guitars and 5 basses): Guitars: 335-S Standard, Melody Maker Double, Marauder, L-6S Custom, S-1, RD Artist, Firebird, Firebird II, Flying V, Flying V-II, The V, Explorer, Explorer II, The Explorer, The "SG" Standard, Les Paul Artist, Les Paul Artisan, ES-335 Heritage, ES-175/CC Basses: Grabber, G-3, L-9S, RD Artist Bass, Flying V Bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bassRose-Morris were selling Shaftesbury-branded Rickenbacker copy instruments from the late 1960s right through the 1970s. The 3263 bass was one of the first models, (alongside the 3261 six string and 3262 twelve string) available from late 1968 until about 1974. The earliest incarnation was a set neck bass, produced very briefly in Japan. But production quickly moved to Italy. This bolt-on neck example was built by Eko, in Recanati, using the same hardware and pickups as fitted to Eko, and Vox basses built around the same time. It's certainly a fine looking bass, and not a bad player either.

1961 Hohner Zambesi

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1963 Vox Super Ace

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1966 Vox New Escort

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1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin' Care

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1973 Eko Ranger Folk

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1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitar

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1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

1971 Rose_Morris catalogThe sixteen-page 1971 Rose-Morris catalog featured electric guitars by Rose-Morris' own brand, Shaftesbury, and budget brand Top Twenty; aswell as acoustics by Eko, Aria, and for the first time Ovation. The catalog contains the following instruments: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3264, 3265, 3400, 3402; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Ovation: Balladeer, 12 String, Glen Campbell, Glen Campbell 12 string; Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12, Colorado, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Studio 'L'; Rose-Morris Florida; Aria 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk

1972 Fender Precision bass

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1967 Vox Stroller

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.

1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.