If you have any vintage gibson guitars that are posted on this site ,you are always welcome to post a review,comment or detailed features ,im sure other guitar players who visit us would love to know ... Domenic

Important Note : Due to the overwhelming amount of comments on this blog i cannot answer all the questions although id love to . You can still post questions hopefully some of our viewers can help you out ... Thank You

Gibson RD Electric Guitars

Gibson Rd Guitars ( 1977 - 1982 )

gibson rd customDuring the late 70s synthesizers were hitting an all time high in popularity especially brand names like the moog .

Gibson being one of the biggest names in guitar strategically hooked up with "moog" hoping to re-capture ground that electric guitars were apparently loosing to the new synths and keyboards .

The result was the launch of a new line of electric guitars and basses in 1977 called the rd series named after the research and development team which brought electronic circuitry to gibson instruments for the first time .

Three RD electric guitar models were made ( RD Standard , RD Custom , and the gibson RD Artist) , one of the more interesting features of these guitars is that some were fitted with a bob moog compression and expansion preamp .

Despite gibsons ambitions , rd guitars were short lived and many guitar players disliked the active circuitry not to mention the body design ..... The shape of the body was like a weird looking reversed firebird .

In 1977 the gibson rd standard had a double cut solidbody , 2 humbuckers , stop tailpiece , rosewood fingerboard , dot inlays , chrome parts , large backplate , and were made in natural , walnut or sunburst finishes . Discontinued in 1979 .

The gibson rd custom had basically the same specs like the rd standard but with active electronics , and were made with maple fingerboards . Discontinued in 1979 .

The gibson rd artist had active electronics , 2 humbuckers , a tp-6 tailpiece , tune-o-matic bridge , large backplate , ebony finerboards with block inlays , 3 piece mahogany necks , gold plated parts , pearl logo and were made in various finishes . Discontinued in 1982 .

Rd guitars are not favorites amongst many guitar players , however they are hard to find and almost doubled in price since 2000 , its a great guitar to keep or to buy for investment and not worth selling at the moment unless you really need the money ... ( my opinion ) .

Every guitar gibson made has its place in history and paved the way for other great guitar models in the years to come .

( " The rd series points to a strong awareness by the major guitar companies of the march of electronics and new techniques that can be incorporated in guitar design ".... by Ken Achard author of History and Development of the American Guitar . )

Vintage Guitar Price Value :
1977 - 1979 > $1000 to $1400 ( RD Standard )
1977 - 1979 > $1150 to $1500 ( RD Custom )
1977 - 1982 > $1200 to $1600 ( RD Artist )

guitar price guideAvg Upward Trend Of 11% A Year Since 2000 ( For All Models )

Prices are according to 4 different vintage guitar price guides and rounded off to the nearest dollar.

If your lucky you can find gibson rd guitars for sale on ebay , however you won't find them on a regular basis ....


  1. I have a 1980 Gibson w/ MOOG board that I can't find good info on. It's a LP style but it does *not*
    have all the upgrades of the Artist line. Just a plain black guitar w dot inlays and a bolt-on neck.
    Its a Les Paul w/ the RD electronics ?
    Any help??

  2. domenic4:48 PM

    Interesting , I Never heard or seen a gibson les paul w/moog board . In my opinion your guitar was modified to fit the rd electronics ...

    To make sure your best bet is to call gibson direct , they have a toll free number on their web site .

    If you do call them , get back to me , im curious on what they say... domenic

  3. Anonymous5:31 PM

    i know gibson made some sg models with rd electronics during the eighties called the sg-rd1 , they were black and had dot inlays too , but i never heard of lp guitars with rd electronics either .

    i would defintely call gibson to see if they made any lp models with moog boards , could be worth quite a few dollars ...

  4. nobody knows nothin
    damn it - how can I have a Gibson
    that even they don't know about.
    the model number checks out - 1980 Gibson.
    it has a frikin MOOG / 9v in the back.
    its a plain jane LP style.
    maybe I'll just ebay the damn thing.

  5. Anonymous12:59 PM

    I bought an RD Artist in the late 70's still have it. I recall the release of an ES 335 and a les paul bodied version with the active tone system. Have never seen ether one in real life. The controls changed from the version I have as well, but look for a switch for the on board compresser/expander and tone knobs with 0 in the center going to 5 cut or boost.

  6. Yep - thats it.
    Zero to plus or minus 5
    and the exp/com circuit.

    It'll be on ebay next week

  7. Sergio Hernandez1:54 PM

    I just bought a 1978 GIBSON RD ARTIST last night from guitar center.! Love the damn thing... its missing the moog board. Where could I find one? & How much would it be? Although I wouldnt need it. I personaly enjoy it without the board, but Id add it just to keep the value of the guitar .

  8. Anonymous6:09 PM

    post your email on this page ,, maybe you'll find someone who is willing to sell their moog board ,also take a look on ebay once and while .. good luck , if you find one consider yourself lucky ..

  9. ASHLEY6:12 PM


  10. I gots the RD Artist 1979 just like the one in the picture - beautiful Mother of Pearl inlay - cool as shit ! It:s got the Moog Board, etc... I live in Japan and I'm gonna see if I can sell it for 10,000 dollars - Ha HAA !

  11. I have an RD Standard that I bought new in 1978 for $535 with the case. I have always liked it because I'm a big guy and it fits me. I havent minded until the last few years that it weighs a ton. It has a wierd but very ergonomic and balanced shape and center of gravity. It works both sitting and standing. The one or two artists or customs that I have picked up are completely out of balance due to most of the back being hollowed out for the electronics. I wouldn't even consider having one of those. The neck is great for my big hands and the pickups have the sweet roar like any Paul. Not sure why people complain about the sound, maybe that only applys to the higher grade ones; again a flaw of the active electronics. My RD is a completely stock tobacco sunburst. I dont think I will ever part with it but I might get a second lighter guitar to give my ageing back a break.

  12. i have an rd guitar and i totally agree with you , sounds great and has a nice crunchy roar , however i do find its a back breaker .. LOL

    i would never sell it though .

  13. I have a 1977 RD Standard that I've personally owned for about twenty years now. It's the crown jewel of my collection and I am holding on to it. It's a beauty. Big, brutish, loud, cool to look at.

  14. I am looking for a RD standard and cannot find one on ebay or at any local stores. If anyone with any information on where one is for sell could drop me a line at villalights@gmail.com it would mean alot to me.



  15. Anonymous5:49 PM

    I just bought my 77' RD Artist this week and I love it. It was complete and everything is in great shape and in good working order.Best of all, I only paid $300,00 for it with original case.

  16. Anonymous11:43 PM

    There were actually 4 types of RD. Standard, Custom, Artist and Artist CMT. The CMT had a bound neck.
    Also, not only did Gibson make RD, LP, SG and ES-335 versions but they made a Firebird CMT version.

  17. Anonymous8:20 PM

    a friend have a gibson rd custom
    75327040 he would like to know the value of the guitar i dont know if you can help me on that and tell me the value of the guitar

  18. Anonymous2:06 PM

    I have a 78 RD Artists. Natural color with all the bells and whistles. The active electronics work great. It is a back breaker though. Sounds great and I love to play it, but it is a reak axe. I use a G&L tele type when my back tells me.

  19. Daveinrh2:39 PM

    I own a 77 RD Custom that looks
    exactly as the picture.
    The guy I bought it from changed
    the pick ups though.
    It's in great shape with original case.
    Could be for sale?
    Any offers?

  20. Jason Chaos4:55 PM

    I would like to buy Another Gibson RD, so If anyone wants to give an old guitar a 2nd life, I will play the RD til the Day I die!

  21. Portablefrank7:09 PM

    I'm after a '77 Artist, Natural finish, preferably in the UK or with someone who's willing to ship to the UK, anyone has one drop me a line, tom@portablefrank(dot)co(dot)uk

  22. Anonymous3:46 AM

    portablefrank theres one for sale in shop in brihgton £2500 not too bad nick i have a unique example 3 piece laminated figuered maple neck ebony fret one peice birdseye maple body moog elecs stunning bought new 1978 never seen another like it

  23. Hi
    I have a 1978 Gibson RD Artist in Black and it's like my buddy ever since! Great Action and the special features still are marvellous. Many guitarists are interested, caus: never seen it before. All love the playability and the veriety of sounds.
    Since half a year I also own a RD Custom 1979 in Natural Finish. Extra customized with a miniswitch to ad some bite to the sound. Don't know what's been done, but that's the result.
    Also a very good guitar, but definitely a class less than the Artist.
    Suggestion: if you can buy one for a reasonable price? Do it!

  24. Anonymous4:54 AM

    Dan, Your les paul is called a les paul artist, or les paul artist rd.
    If you google that you will find info.

  25. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I have a 78'RD artist & orig case ,I traded a sun amp head in 79 even ,I was 13 and i'm 42 still have it only thing is when i was around 16 i sanded the neck to bare wood then i sanded the body pulled the moog out pickups too now it has a narly paint job..I'll never sell a guitar i have had 30 years how much value did i sand away.I have a 81 les paul 100% orig that i wont touch

  26. Anonymous9:06 PM

    sander here I forgot to say this guitar was used as a show model at a gibson convention ( so i was told Mark

  27. Anonymous2:47 PM

    trying to get info on the Artist CMT I have # 50 according to Gibson serial numbers but haven't been able to find out a value. THey are extremely difficult to find any info on.

  28. Anonymous11:55 PM


  29. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Dan, if your LP type guitar with the artist electronics has a bolt on neck it could be a Sonex 180 artist which does not have the large pickguard like the sonex deluxe or sonex custom..

  30. I bought an RD77 custom new in '78. never played it. Tried to sell it many times but nobody wanted one. They were just too wierd to be a Gibson. I stripped the thick gloss finish. The walnut finish remained and I have a very thin poly-lacquer satin finish now. I hated the electronics, so I saved the pickups,gutted the guitar and had my guitar tech rewire it like a Les Paul. He also installed a Fishman Powerbridge for me since I'm mostly an acoustic dude. Stereo output jack seperates acoustic/electric signals. I AM KNOWN IN INDPLS AREA IN PART BECAUSE OF THE DYNAMIC LOOK AND SOUND OF THIS GUITAR. I want to find another one from the same year with the blonde finish.

  31. Anonymous4:04 PM

    The Person Tom That was wanting The RD Standard, I have one. 1977 Black with the orginal case. This ax can bend some notes. It's a blaster ax. looks and sounds great. I want 1200.00 firm. snowbillies@yahoo.com

  32. Anonymous4:08 PM

    I have a RD Standard for sale 1200.00 Firm cash only black w/ orginal case.This ax in a blaster/ note bender. contact me. snowbillies@yahoo.com

  33. Anonymous7:33 PM

    I have the 1979 Gibson ES335 Artist Ebony with the MOOG electronics inside. It's in very !!! good shape (near mint) and willing to sell. Just drop a line:

  34. Anonymous6:27 PM

    So ive had a guitar like the one in the picture for about 22 years ( since I was 10) are they really that desirable? It's a 1977 rd standard, is that good?

  35. Anonymous6:55 AM

    I have a rd artist bass I think it was mage in 1979serial no 72819030, in very good condition. Could you please give me an idea on how much I could sell this for.

  36. dwayne12:01 AM

    Hi,I have a copy of an RD Standard that has no id marks whatsoever,very good build quality,set neck with binding,visibly identical to Gibson but minus name serial no etc.Its definitely 70s,anyone got info on copies of these guitars?Thanks.I got it in NZ after imported from Japan in 09.

  37. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Ronn that is..
    I use my black RD Artist (1978) since then.
    Only the last few years bought some other guitars, amongst them a RD Custom (wood).
    I just love this guitar; it's become a part of me on stage.
    And everytime there are guitarists around there coming up to have a look, try a little and almost always there very, very enthousiastic about it.
    I bought the guitar in 1978 for fl.3600 (around €1600, which is around $1150). If I'd ever sell it it would be agiainst a lot, a lot, a lot of money. I'd rather think it's going to be one of the sides of my coffin....


  38. Anonymous4:17 PM

    I just bought a 78 RD Custom for $500. All orig with a little finish damage near the tail. It's a real beauty. Same guy has a 73 F hole and a 57 Les Paul Jr, both in mint condition. The Jrs are going way up in price.

  39. Anonymous1:22 PM



    you'd make me a happy boy

  40. Anonymous5:48 AM

    anyone selling any rd please contact me i bought a reissue silverburst one and i want the real thing i played one once and fell in love now i need the real thing i didnt have the oppertunity to buy in the 70's and 80's because im 17 but help me out if you know where one is let me know


  41. Anonymous7:17 PM

    I have owned a 77 RD Standard (ser# 73007003) since it was new. The colour is a very rare and unusual dark cherry with a purple lined case. Plays great, sounds great. I am thinking about selling it but it needs a good home. Email me for more info/pics


  42. Anonymous9:08 AM

    yes gibson maded three models the standard,custom
    and the artist and they made them in three models
    the one that looks like a reversed firebird and one looked like a les paul and one look like a 335 all
    with the bob moog compression and expansion preamp
    I know because I bought my rd in 1977

  43. Anonymous8:43 AM

    If anyone is really interested. I saved a gig'd RD Artist from a Pawn Shop in the very early 80s. This is the Tobacco Burst all original, All working Artist.
    Selling for the current market value. Not on Ebay just yet....I thought I'd give some enthusiast a chance at it first.


  44. Anonymous8:47 PM

    Anyone know where I can find a case for 77 RD Custom. Or what other case may work? Firebird?


  45. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Anyone know where I could find a replacement output jack for a 1978 Gibson RD Custom? I bout the guitar at a pawn shop for $700.00 and it played good for about 2 1/2 weeks until the plastic around the jack fell apart. If anyone could help I would consider you a lifesaver! Bucketheadownsall@gmail.com

  46. Looking for Gibson Rd Standard in Walnut brown, prefer rosewood board.


  47. Anonymous1:48 PM

    looking for gibson rd standard as well. will pay good money.

    -greg fernandez

  48. Anonymous1:02 PM

    I have a 1977 RD standard, natural finish, in excellent condition. Would like to trade for a silverburst Les Paul of about the same vintage, but I might sell it... asking $1400 firm. hooperoy(at)gmail(dot)com
    I can send pictures if anyone is interested.

  49. I am the original owner of a Black 1977 RD Artist Bass that I bought new in Feb 1978. It is completely original and has the "Elephant Ear" tuners. Anybody that gets rid of these basses comes back looking for them a short time later.. My advice; If you have one, don't sell it, you'll regret it later... Sincerely, Barry Hinton_Fulton, Ms

  50. gene marshall7:00 AM

    My RD Artist bass was bought used from Jack Sixx, he said it was his nephew Nick's. I wish there was a way to verify that story, it would add value. I've had it for 30 yrs and they will have to pry it from my cold dead hands someday.
    best sound of any bass I ever played... whenever I plays it out, it steals the show.

    Awesome.. .peace

  51. Anonymous2:47 AM

    I have a standard 6 string. It's brilliant. Fantastic. This guitar has a soul. I also have a Fender Highway Strat HSS which has been in its case in the cupboard since I bought the Gibson, a few years ago. The RD Standard is great.


  52. Hi,

    I am looking for the Gibson RD artist cmt in tobacco sunburst. Saw one on ebay recently but as they are pretty rare it didn´t take long to sell.

  53. Anonymous5:47 AM

    i have a 1977 rd artist in natural wood colour dont know nothing about it, ive had it all cleaned up and it works perfectly found it in the loft, had been sitting there for 25 years

  54. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I have owned a 77 RD Custom for the last 15 years or so. I've used it live many times but it has never been soley my main instrument. The weight has a lot to do with it. I can't just pick it up and fly like I can on my strat, but instead have to kind of warm into playing it. If I take the time to do that I walk away amazed at the big sound and beautiful tones that came out of that thing. I also find I play differently on it compared to other guitars that I own. I find myself doing some really expressive and fast runs and using some picking techniques that don't come to me as naturally on a strat. Great low end, growling bends. The high registers don't sing quite the way a strat high end does so you have to focus on using your vibrato to keep the notes carrying. But like I say, if you give yourself a few minutes to get used to how to approach this guitar it is an amazing instrument. I doubt I'll ever sell it however I can't bring myself to use it as my main axe. My strat is just more user friendly although it's very hard pressed to get some of the amazing tones that come out of that RD.

  55. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I have a 1977 gibson rd artist, it is blonde, has pearl on the frets, and also gold.
    the electronics were removed in the mid 80's and emg pick ups were installed.. I have all the original electronics that came out including the origianl gold pick ups sealed and boxed. It has the users mannual, and wiring schematic and the original case( hot purple/pink inside lol... I have never played a guitar with a neck and sound like this. I was hoping to figure out what its worth on the market?? can anyone help.. i paided ALMOST 900 canadian... FOR THIS in 1977..... i choose this instead of a les paul custom that was 500 at the time. help me out please!

  56. Anonymous3:15 PM

    I have a gibson rd artist 1977 ebony finish,gold plated parts. I bought this beauty brand spankin new right out of the glass show case @ westland music in 1980.I promised myself to not sell it until maybe A age 75.She is in great condition still and she sounds so good!!

  57. Anonymous5:45 PM

    i had for several years a different rd i bought in a pawn shop. had to sell, i needed the money. it was what some people call a transitional model. it had everything, loaded up. tabaco sunburst paint. but it did not have a les paul style neck. it had a neck from the mid 80's gibson that had a strat style body. i forget the model. it was mark5 or mkvii or something like that. dont ever see them. anyway, it was ashame to sell it. i know they tripled their money at the music shop. i have a few good pictures of it. i was told that it was made in the last year of production, and it was made with the different neck and shown at trade shows with new models for the year. it was scraped that year and that type was not produced in big numbers. it was actually very rare. i have only seen one picture of one like it on the net over the years. i also currently have a 78 rd standard. its been refinished. rd's are the greatest.

  58. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I have a vintage Gibson RD standard. It requires refinishing. Any estimate of value?

  59. Anonymous5:55 AM

    I own an ES 335TD, cherry red, excellent condition.
    There are no serial numbers on the inside of the guitar, however, on the neck, near the tuning heads are the numbers 133466.
    Can anyone tell me about this gorgeous guitar. I bought it in 1988, and I am thinking of selling it in these hard times.
    Daniel Den

  60. I am considering selling my super clean 1977 RD Standard with original case. It is natural and still has the plastic on the back knob cover. Comes with original book and case is very nice. jdam01*@gmail.com. (Remove the star) - bots!

  61. I have a super clean 1977 RD Standard - natural. With original case and book. I am considering selling it. I can send pictures and you'll see it is immaculate. It even has the plastic on the back knob cover. No nicks or scratches. If your very serious, jdam01*@gmail.com. Just remove the star- bots...

  62. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I have a RD Standard Gibson for sale. The serial number is 7306743. The body needs refinishing. Approx. how much is it worth? It has original case.
    email loraine@adamsplace.ca

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  64. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I have a 1981 gibson rd artist cmt, can anybody tell me what it is worth.....thanks

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  66. Anonymous7:43 PM

    I have a 77 RD Custom with the natural blond finish. Wide neck, extremely heavy, capable of breathtaking tone. As someone else here said you have to take a few minutes to warm into it and then it's like the gloves come off. You find yourself playing lines that you don't ordinarilly pull off and with huge tone. But, again, it's not a pick up and fly like a strat. That's why when I'm under the gun sometimes I'll pick it up and give it a shot only to set it back down after a song or two and pick up my strat which can't match the tone but is much more user friendly. On the occasions where I get past those first few songs and warm into the guitar it's hard to stop playing because it's just alive and full sounding. I have to ask though if anyone else has a problem with their RD going out of tune? Mine seems to be notorious. I upgraded the tuners but it still seems to go out way, way before any of my other guitars. That is also a reason I can't use it for my main guitar.

    1. I don't think my first post went through so I will write another quickly. You couldn't possibly have echoed my feelings about my 77 Blond RD Custom. It is capable of unbelievably great tone. That coupled with it's unique feel and playability take me to a level of playing that is hard to approach on other guitars.
      Having said that I have a love hate relationship with the guitar and have rarely used it though an entire gig. Generally I sit it down after a song or two and pick up my strat which is much more user friendly even though it can't begin to put out the tone the RD is capable of. I will keep trying though because I've found that if I have the patience and time to warm into the guitar it is quite simply amazing. A beautiful, huge, full sounding instrument. It playability and sound can have you playing lines you never even knew were in you. Easily more so than any electric guitar I have ever played, and that's saying a lot. Again, having said that, you have to be in a situation where you can afford to take the time to tame the beast. Unfortunately when playing live that is not always an option.
      As for tuning, my guitar, like yours, is notorious for slipping out of tune. It defies logic. I've upgraded the tuners which seemed to help to some degree but did not eliminate the problem. I have found though that if you have the time to play it for a bit the tuning will start to settle in. Once it does the guitar rings like an acoustic piano. Amazingly true. A pleasure to play as well as listen to. Don't ask me to explain why, I have no idea. As another poster mentioned, I could swear this guitar has a soul.
      I will always keep it and will continue to bring it into live situations but I will always have a strat or other user friendly guitar on the stand for when I don't have the time to warm into the RD.

  67. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Was the Les Paul Artist a 24 3/4" or a 25 1/2" Scale neck?

  68. I own a RD Artist '77 since 1978 natural blond with original case. I upgraded it with a gold quick tune tailpiece. Very special guitar. Has a ring to it like a sitar. I actually bought it for that feature. Never gonna part from it. I agree, it's a big piece of wood, but it's great. My Les Paul Custom '72 is heavier.

  69. I own a RD '77 Artist natural blonde with original case since 1978. I love it. I agree, it's a big piece of wood, but my LP Custom from '72 is heavier. It has a ring to it like a sitar. Very special. Never gonna sell it.

  70. Anonymous6:22 AM

    1980 Gibson did make a Moog SG black with dot inlays and a large cutout for the moog board on board from the factory. Good boost and great sounding with the electronics engaged. Collector value not great.?

  71. Anonymous11:26 AM

    I have a blonde '77 Artist bought in January of '78 from Guitar Center, San Jose. Its a wonder of a guitar (that weighs a ton) and I would never part with it. No problems with tuning like an earlier poster...everything is stock except I had a brass nut installed. Thinking of a Strat to ease the back pain at those lengthy jams...

  72. Anonymous12:31 PM

    I bought my Gibson RD Artist from Guitar Center in San Jose in 1978. The serial stamped on the headstock is 73017011 so I get that it was made on March 1, 1977. But stamped below that in all caps is "SECOND".
    So this means the Guitar Center sold me a "second" at full price? Or does that mean something else. (I have found nothing wrong with this guitar and have absolutely enjoyed the last 34 years of its company...so regardless, I got my money's worth.)

  73. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Dan, I have your exact guitar. It is a black L/P style dot inlay Guitar with a active RD type (Moog)circuit board inside the back. It has 2 volume and 2 tone control knobs and has a pick up toggle switch and a toggle for the active E/Q. The Serial Number says it was made in Kalamazoo,MI. in January of 1980 and a very early production model. You are only the third person I can find who has one. to see a photo of this guitar go to the web sight for "Elderly Instruments" they have one for sale. If I were you I wouldnt get rid of this guitar. Its an odd part of the Gibson history and I know its gotta be rare. IF ANY ONE ELSE CAN POST ANY FURTHER INFO IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

  74. Hi, don't know if this is still "alive". I have to sell an RD 77 Bass from a friend. Its one of seven built in 1977. It's in very good condition and in orig. case. Ser# is 73267128. Body: Maple. Contact (for pics / questions) markus.calderon@web.de . Location: Germany (near Dortmund)

  75. I'm here looking to find a RD Artist in ebony finish (or tobacco). If anyone is selling one, please send pics and asking price to my e-mail: planetpat at live dot ca.