1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Gibson RD Artist & Ovation Magnum

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mangore, May 1, 2002.

  1. mangore


    Apr 29, 2002
    Howdy folks, I'm new to these forums but had a question for everyone. I've decided to start searching for either a Gibson RD Artist or an Ovation Magnum (leaning towards the Gibson). I'll most likely have to buy online, so I was wondering if anyone with experience can help me determine if the Moog (in the case of the Gibson) electronics are original, and what defects to look for.

    Finally, any other recommendations on quirky, but quality, older basses? I wouldn't want to spend any more than $1000.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. I scored an Ovation Magnum at Guitar Center in Atlanta for $279, and I love it. It's got flatwound strings on it and it just has so much character.. totally different than anything else I've got. I recently used it for some recording and it sounded terrific. The engineer and the rest of the band loved it. There's one at basspalace.com right now, I believe, not quite a good a deal as I got but still reasonable.
    I've only seen a Gibson RD Artist, never actually played one, but every comment I've seen about them has been positive. The ones I've seen used have all been over $1,000, though. Good luck with your search!
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Don't know where you are, but there's a big ugly Ovation (Magnum?) at Daddy's Junky Music in Rochester NY.
  4. i've been noticing the rd going for around 6-700$ in vintage circles, no offense but have you ever played one? they are tanks and have absolutely horrible balance.i've owned two over the years and had to move them on. at any rate, best of luck in your search. i love ovation magnums...
  5. I got my RD Artist for $900 Canadian last year which is less than $600 USD and it's in very good condition. Mind you, prices in Canada often seem to be a good deal lower than in the US after factoring the exchange rate.

    Yes, the RD is a big heavy bass, but they really sound fantastic IMO.

    I hope they start getting really collectable so I can sell it for a small fortune one day. :D
  6. mangore


    Apr 29, 2002
    Ok, you guys have me leaning towards a Magnum, now...

    So, for you Ovation experts.. which Magnum is the one to get? I/II/III/IV? Are there more?

    I'd like one with the string mutes, and the most versatile electronics..

    Let me know! Thanks.
  7. Hey Mangore. I used to own a Magnum I - serial# 00488! I loved the sound of that bass, but, just couldn't take the looks. I'd still like to get another one, though. As you know, it has that huge humbucker by the neck, but, the sound was so clear and deep. Not like a shortscale EB-0. (no offense, EB-0 owners) It also had tiny pots in the pickup itself so you could adjust the output so all the strings would be evenly balanced. Then, Ovation came up with the idea of using U shaped magnets for the bridge pickup to increase the sustain; all I know is that with the bridge pup soloed, it sounded like a piano! When you combined them it was so good. A word of caution about the string mutes; on my bass whenever I used them, they would always make the bass go sharp about 1/4 step, so if you wanted to be in tune and use the mutes, you'd have to tune a little flat and then flip the mute lever. It was experimental IMHO, though a good idea. I never owned an RD artist, but, I think they were one of the best sounding basses I'd ever heard at the time. (1979) I still would like to get one.

    Good luck, whatever you get. If you get a Magnum, let me know how you like it.

    Mike J.

    I think I still have the owner's manual for my Magnum at home.
  8. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    There was a Magnum on Ebay last week. Don't know what it actually got, though.

    So the neck pickup on these sounds better than a Gibson EB-O, EB-3, etc., eh? Must be the longer scale.
  9. I used to have an all maple RD standard. It had no electronics, but I want to tell you something about the RD. Having a large surface, but thin maple body with a set in maple neck, this thing rang like a bell with a fresh set of rotosound swingbass 66s on it. You couldn't really choke all the overtones out of it with the feeble tone control (why would you anyway?) Problem was, it looked like a melted explorer and the rotos mutilated the frets and fretboard in no time, so it went to bass heaven. Later, I had a very similar experience with an all maple Gibson Ripper L9-S. If you have no sense of shame and don't mind being seen with these disco-era basses, they do offer a unique sparkly tone, if you like that sort of thing.

Share This Page