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The model pictured here is a 1979 RD Artist with a maple body and Firebird-like cutaway that wasn’t received warmly by guitarists—similar to the infamous Firebird X. Constructed with an ebony fretboard atop a 3-piece mahogany neck, the Artist models had a 24.75" scale length. For those wanting to venture into Fender territory, the RD Customs offered a 25.5" scale length. This RD Artist features two humbuckers, four control knobs, a 3-way pickup selector, Tune-o-matic bridge, and a TP-6 tailpiece Additionally, the Artist model was outfitted with 3-way switch for mode selection—neutral, bright, or front pickup expansion with back pickup compression. Ultimately, the RD Artist experiment died in 1982 with a total of just 2,600 units manufactured. As part of Gibson’s 48th Guitar of the Week series in 2007, the RD Standard bass was reissued in silverburst, with a limited edition run of 400 instruments.
A special thanks to Jeff Sadler and Rock N Roll Vintage for the opportunity to feature this fine instrument and its story.