'79 GIBSON RD ARTIST BASS, Natural,  Moog Circuit Near Mint Conditions code BA366

 Straight neck with action set up nice and low. The frets are in super good shape and the truss rod is fully functioning. The fretboard is perfect. The headstock has no cracks/repair.

Original Moog circuitry and pots untouched. Maple set neck and body, custom designed active electronics with built in compression / expansion, bight and neutral modes. 3 way pickup selector. 34 1/2 inch scale. Perloid dot inlays and headstock motif. This bass is active with no passive mode. Electronics designed by Moog. Gibson humbucker pickups.

Comes in the original hard case.

The RD Artist was launched in late 1977, after two years of development, as Gibsons first active bass guitar. According to the Gibson product development director at the time, Bruce Bolen, it had been designed from a "musical purpose" point of view, "to determine what the musical instrument is supposed to accomplish".

Gibson had worked closely with Moog (at this time both companies were subsidaries of Norlin) and Who bassist John Entwistle, to create a bass that would benefit from the newly emerging electronics being fitted to basses by manufacturers like Alembic. Bruce Bolen explains, in this 1978 quote, some of the vision behind the RD Artist.

It was a very high quality instrument with a terrific array of sounds, but John Entwistle soon stepped away from the project. It didn't sell in huge numbers, but did replace the Ripper as Gibsons best-selling bass of 1978 and 1979.

RD Artist controls

The four dials on the active RD guitars were a volume for each pickup, as would be expected, a treble control, and a bass control. The unusual thing about the bass and treble controls was that they operated in the range +5 to -5, with 0 being the neutral position. The RD bass at its most mellow (neck pickup, bass +5, treble -5) and then again at its most brash (bridge pickup, bass -5, treble +5 expansion and bright mode). This was recorded with a second version Artist bass; the earliest versions were not able to employ expansion and bright mode simultaneously. These sounds are extremes, but the RD can do anything in between.

Expansion, compression and bright mode circuitry

The RD Artist requires a 9 volt battery to operate; it has no passive mode. When the input jack is removed from the instrument it draws no power, so to prolong battery life, it should be left unplugged when not in use.

RD Artist bass compression graph

Compression - neck pickup only. As can be seen in the graph, compression reduces the fundamental attack, and 'compresses' each note into a long sustaining signal.

Listen to this clip of the RD Artist neck pickup (bass 0, treble 0); the first few notes are without compression, the second few notes are with. Notice the way the second clip sustains for significantly longer.

Adam Clayton U2

U2 Studio

John Entwistle

Terry Gruber http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLFd3Fbfr_8

Justin Meldal-Johnsen

"the basic tone is cool, particularly with flats"

Ralphe Armstrong

"I liked because it was big and it had a long fingerboard; you can play a G harmonic on it and it had a big sound"

Krist Novoselic Nirvana