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Anybody have an RD Artist or Flying V bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gamera, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    I know there are a few people that play Gibsons. I am a big fan of the RD Artist and V bass style. I like Explorers as well, but not as much as the RD.

    I never see or hear anyone play these monsters. I would love to try one out at least.

    Anyone got one, or had one?
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I had an RD Artist in like, 1979. Jet black w/ebony board. The thing was a monster - everything about it was big, and it was just really, really heavy.

    Active electronics were still a new thing in those days, and the electronics on the Artist were a little crude. But it had a big, thick neck that, I'm sure, helped in generating its big, powerful tone.

    I sold it off because it was just too heavy, unwieldy and hard to handle. For the right kind of application, however - power rock that doesn't require a lot of finesse - it could be the ideal axe. Just get yourself an extra-wide padded strap. Too bad they don't seem to show up very often on the aftermarket...

  3. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I have an Epi Flying V bass that is a lot of fun to play. Some people like them, some don't. As for the Gibson V bass, I have only heard negative about them.
  4. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    Gibson basses in general sound like mud, but I think this is mostly due to pickup placement.

    I fear that these basses have the same muffled tendencies that other Gibsons have.

    There is a maple and ash RD Std, that is nonactive. Weight doesn't bother me, but how it fits to me might. I like necks that are narrow and fat. I wonder how these fit the bill.
  5. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    Is it bolt on? Is it short scale? The Gibson ones were only made for a few years and they all seem to be heading to Japan for big bucks.
  6. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I have a '77 RD Artist in Fireburst and I think it's great. I'm not crazy about all the electronics options - they're pretty noisy and I have no use for them. I do think it sounds excellent as a straight-ahead active bass. The weight doesn't bother me either because it is pretty well balanced. Neck is very comfortable. These are quality instruments and are built like tanks. It's a keeper.
  7. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    That is the one. Gorgeous. Wanna sell it?
  8. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    LOL!! I just got this a few months ago (never tried one before) and I find myself playing it a lot. I'm sure I'll be hanging on to it for a while. Thanks for asking though!

    Keep an eye out - they come around fairly often.
  9. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002

    Never played a Tbird, have you? Mud is the last thing it sounds like.
  10. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    I have. I like Tbirds. Pickups are spotty though. I actually said most Gibsons. Tbirds are an exception. They have good pickup placement for a variety of tones. The EB basses don't. The LP Sigs don't. That other hollowbody one they have (eb3?) doesn't.

    I still wouldn't say that a Tbird can get as twangy as a jbass. They are defintely mid low end thunder basses. It is a good sound, but they are still pretty limited.
  11. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I have to disagree. Just because they don't sound like a J doesn't make them limited. They have some pretty good snap up top. Great R&R basses with excellent definition and a lot of balls. Just a different tool. Expecting a TBird to sound like a J isn't realistic. If you want J tone, play one.

    Would you say that since a J doesn't sound like a TBird, it's pretty limited too? Of course not.

    An RD Artist doesn't sound like either of them, but it's got a sparkling high end if you want it. I can get some very defined and excellent tones out of it too without sounding like a J bass.

    Each type has it's own character and tonal pallette. A player should acquire the ones that suit his/her taste for what they are without expecting them to be what they're not.
  12. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    Well put.
  13. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I have a RD STD. There's no way this bass sounds muddy. It doesn't have the (imo)useless electronics. It has a solid maple body, maple neck and fingerboard. I use roundwounds strung through the body. It has great sustain and has a ringing, growling tone. I quit using it because it is so heavy. I still bring it out now and then for a change.


  14. gamera


    Sep 20, 2004
    Gloucester, MA
    Wanna trade for a Blue Flower Fender P bass (tele)? :hyper: :eyebrow:
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I had an RD Artist for a little while, and I agree with the previous descriptions of it as heavy/massive and having noisy electronics. But, as others also said, the non-eq-boosted tone was awesome, and the neck balance was pretty good.

    Basically the thing was just a massive slab of maple. Great resonance. Too bad about the Moog preamp/eq though.
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    When I was a teenager, a church that I played bass at some had an RD Artist. I guess that I am in the minority, but I love the Moog preamp. The RD is capable of a very good variety of sounds, and has one of the best aggressive rock tones I have ever heard.

    I would love to own one, some day. Missed out on one at a local shop. It was dirt cheap, and I didn't have any cash on me. When I came back for it, somebody else had bought it.:(
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I had an RD Artist for quite awhile, and it was a good bass - probably the best sounding bass I ever played... It was also the heaviest bass I ever played, but balanced pretty well - and was tolerable with a wide strap... The neck felt longer than my P Bass, but not unmanageable... I'd probably still have it, except it became pretty fret-worn, and I didn't want to pay for a refretting - so I traded it off while I could still get something out of it... I still miss that bass sometimes, and will probably own another Gibson bass in the future...

    - georgestrings
  18. Maybe not....but if this bass sounds anything like a Gibson Ripper, the brightness will blow a J bass out of the water completely..
  19. Nocturnal

    Nocturnal Abuser of Thunderbird Shaped Objects. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2002
    Chandler, Arizona
    The RD's seem to get a lot of love over at the Dude Pit. They have a Gibson forum there and the people would probably be able to answer any question you would have about these basses, or any Gibson bass for that matter.
  20. CO Hank

    CO Hank

    Jan 18, 2006
    Longmont, CO
    I bought an Epiphone Flying V Bass this summer. I am a newbie so my review may not hold much water. My first bass was a Spector Performance 4. It was fine and the sound was good but not comfortable. I have short fingers and felt I wanted to try a short scale bass. The V shape is just so appealing that it made my choice easy although finding a new one took some time(but not much money).

    I have to say I love the way it plays and the sound is very good. It lacks some of the fullness of the Spector, but for playing rock it sounds just fine. The big deal for me is the ergonomics of the bass. It just feels "right" when I play it. The right hand position falls in a natural place and the left hand is perfectly positioned. With the shorter scale, I can reach notes that had me in fits before. And to answer one of the other posts, it is a set neck.

    So in summary, I love my Flying V bass. My poor Spector does not see much use. It plays great, and I have to admit, it looks cool.