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Oliver Hock 10/14/2019

Gibson Rd Artist : Oliver Hock's user review

« Unusual Gibson »
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Value For Money : Correct Audience: Advanced Users
My guitar is a Gibson RD Artist in natural, made in 1978. I bought it used almost 25 years later, it is still in all original condition except for the Schaller straplocks. I think the features of this guitar are well-known by now. Active MOOG electronics with bright/compressor/limiter switch, bass and treble boost/cut. All maple construction, mine is the early version with the Fender-style 25.5" scale. This guitar can sound from tinny-bright to deep. I guess it may work well for some fast country picking. I think with some bass boost and bright switch it can produce jazzy sounds very nicely. As for distortion sounds, this guitar sounds best when keeping the electronics on zero. The gain sound definitely don't benefit from the electronics. Jimmy Page used this guitar on one song on their performance in Knebworth 1979, seems he didn't know how to handle the electronics (you can see a clip of it on YouTube). Also Steve Howe used an ES Artist which has the same electronics as the RD. I think this guitar is well in hands of fast pickers, Tele-players, jazz players who like to use guitars like the Gibson L-5S. It is also well for clean funky riffs. The neck can become sticky with sweaty hands. I think it looks like a great rock guitar, but I think it isn't. Maybe the 2018 RD Artist edition is more of a rock guitar, as it is all mahogany construction, 24.75" scale and without the Moog electronics (which I happen to like, though it sounds dated), yet newer active electronics. It is neck heavy the weight is moderate (which I can't say for the RD Artist Bass that I also own, that thing is heavy!).