1981 Gibson RD Artist
1981 Gibson RD Artist

Model Description:

Another very cool and rare guitar sought out specifically for its unique merits, a gorgeous Gibson RD Artist. This guitar sports the (then) ground‑breaking Moog‑designed on‑bard active electronics. It can sound like an ordinary guitar but, let’s face it, if that’s all you want, don’t buy one of these. The variety of sounds, from subtle to pronounced, is very impressive and it adapts well to a wide range of playing styles. While the early RD Artists had a single 3‑position ‘mode’ switch, this 2nd generation model sports 2 mini toggle switches to operate the effects separately. This approach means you can have any combination of boost, EQ, compression, expansion and bright mode, thereby providing much more flexibility. Fantastic, especially if you are a bit bored with the ‘normal’ Gibson approach.


Guitar Description:

This particular 1981 guitar is in superb condition – it is all‑original, including the Moog electronics. The natural finish enhanced by gold hardware, contrasts beautifully with the bound and inlaid ebony fingerboard. The bound headstock carries a unique but rather inappropriately nicknamed ‘flying f‑hole’ mother‑of‑pearl inlay. Being made of solid maple, the guitar is a bit heavy, especially in its original hard shell case. There are a few very minor nicks and bumps to add mojo but nothing in the way of damage or modification. Original RD Artists in great condition are now pretty rare and are increasingly difficult to track down. Surviving original examples like this are now attracting well‑deserved re‑appraisal (and prices to match).


  • Natural nitrocellulose finish
  • Solid maple contoured body
  • Maple 3-piece set neck
  • Ebony bound fingerboard with 22 frets and pearl block markers
  • Original Gibson branded Schaller tuners
  • Bound veneered headstock with pearl Gibson and ‘flying f-hole’ inlays
  • Original ‘RD Artist’ engraved truss rod cover
  • Nut width 1 11/16”
  • Scale length 24¾”
  • Original gold plated hardware
  • Original 5-ply scratchplate
  • Original Series VI Gibson humbucking pickups
  • Complete, original and fully working Moog on-board active electronics (still with paper/masking tape in place over the printed circuit board!) – requires 9V battery
  • Original body-mounted switches (x3), knobs (x4), strap buttons (x2) and jack socket
  • Original bridge and TP-6 fine tuning tailpiece
  • Original Gibson oblong hard shell case
  • Weight – 9lbs

Detail Gallery:

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