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Krist Novoselic Gibson RD Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TBird1958, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    I've the chance to have this new Gibson RD Krist Novoselic for about a month now, playing it at band rehearsals and solo, here's a short review and pics. First, it is - no kidding, a big bass! If you're the slightest timid about strapping on an instrument of size and weight this bass is not for you - just move on. Speaking of straps, I used one of my conventional straps adjusted for a T Bird and found the bass sat very nicely on my shoulder and balanced perfect - no kidding here, perfect. The large all Maple body and slightly reduced size of the headstock vs. the original no doubt help. Inevitably, the question of weight arises, Maple is not known to be a light wood, this bass IS heavy, unfortunately for the review - I went to put it on my digital bathroom scale and found it needed a battery, take my word for it here, it's well over 10lbs., but I didn't find it objectionable thru the course of a 2 1/2 hour rehearsal tho. QC on my example is quite good, a very pleasant surprise, all assembly and parts are very well fitted and finished, and the paintwork was in fact exceptional, black gloss can be very difficult to apply neatly, this bass was flawless, really nice work. Gibson has a reputation, not undeserved for questionable QC, I know I've personally seen some less than stellar work from them, but I'll give high praise to this bass, it's nice. The bass uses Gibson's well known 3 point bridge and has the option of body-thru stringing as well, set-up on this one was average to good, certainly comfy enough to play but I'd tweak it a bit to suit my own fussiness. Unlike the original mid '70s bass this variation uses a pair of Seymour Duncan pickups (STK-J2N and STK-J2B) which are a modified design with better hum cancellation and are similar to what Krist used in his original modified RD. I found the neck to easy playing even with my small hands, the profile is rounded, a bit thicker than a T-Bird, and the fret ends were nicely dressed - of note is the volute on neck at the nut, I was really prepared to not like this, none of my other basses have one, it's likely purpose is the provide strength as the headstock angles back from the neck. As I played the bass I found it to be a complete non-issue, actually comforatble. Overall the bass has an extremely solid, well made feel to it, I'd bet you could toss it as Krist did his original and likely suffer greatly if it struck you - all with relativly little damage to itself!

    At rehearsal with the band I kept both pickups all the way up and worked the tone knob just a little, I'm primarily a pick player and found it easy to get a nice tone with minimal EQing, I found it to be overall rather Fenderesque but darker, likely as a result of the set neck construction. The J bass pickups are certainly the reason for this - incidentally the misalignment of the pole pieces and the strings had no discernable consequence, no volume differences between strings, etc, note decay is what you'd expect from this design pickup, sharp attack with a quick fall off. It passed thru a rather spirited rehearsal with flying colors, I'd gig with his bass! Later I spent some time with it in my upstairs music room enjoying playing the bass while practicing band music, I try to keep up on my fingerstyle here too. Seated with one leg crossed the bass again balances well with no issues. Dialing out the neck pup and working the bridge only I found the tone a bit thin, varying hand position changed this a little, but realistically you'll likely always want a bit of the pup in the mix to get some bass responce. Soloing the neck pup proved to be a more useful exercise, fingerstyle playing and variation of hand placement give much better result tonally. Overall I like what this bass accomplishes, it's certainly versitile enough.

    At some point aesthetics will enter the conversation, RD's are likely a love it or leave sort of bass for most folks, personally I find them a bit brutish, but likeable compared to a T Bird, the lower bout reminds me of the jaw on a Coho Salmon. For those that worry about what their bass looks like at a variety of different gigs this bass may not work, for the rest of us, maybe bass that cops a Fender that doesn't look like one.

    Some pics.....

    Really nice paint work......and winter sky in Seattle.
    GTG666 and crguti like this.
  2. It sounds fantastic how'd u get it
  3. cracked_machine


    Jan 8, 2010
    That first shot is fantastic, then I realized the guitar wasn't "world sunburst" and that the pick-guard was transparent? Still nice and shiny!

    J Bass pickups can be a little thin I guess, but I prefer the high end sound they give. That's what the amp eq is for, lol.
  4. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    This is sad.

    Attached Files:

  5. It's a disgrace... :meh:
  6. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    As I mentioned, the pole pieces don't line up - not really a surprise since they are spaced for a Jazz Bass, this particular bass is a sig model based on Novoselic's modified RD. It's faithful to that, and it certainly wasn't lacking signal response because of it. Personally I'd prefer recreation of the original Gibson pickup - perhaps they'll do that at a later point.
  7. I just got done modding my home made travel basses j-bass pups for the pole piece alignment reason - The pole piece alignment issue absolutely kills output and tone. Did Novaseic mod his own bass that this was supposed to replicate or did someone do it for him - just curious. Not sure why this would have been done over the original RD standard pickups to begin with - they actually we pretty nice, even though I hated the bass otherwise - just felt too clunky.
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I played one at my local gc a few weeks ago. I definitely agree these are some great looking basses. The one I played suffered the usual gc issue - it was set up like a bow. Great if I brought my quiver of arrows and wanted to hunt but a little tough to play. Output was heavier on the bass, a little lacking in high end (played finger style) IMO. Overall weight was heavy, heavier than my 10.5 lb p bass but nothing a wide padded strap couldn't fix.

    Some great looking pics, love the reflection on the backside.
  9. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Great review Mark. I haven't seen one around here yet, I am hoping to try one soon. Do you think using a Hipshot bridge would help? I put a jazz neck pick up in the bridge position on a EB-O and with the Hipshot bridge saddles tugged out I got the strings pretty well lined up with the pole pieces & still had the E & G strings off the edge of the fret board
  10. That's the worst pole piece alignment I've ever seen. Woah. Cool bass, but they NEED to sort that.
  11. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Thats the Membrane on the pickguard its shipped with, you remove it.
  12. The string alignment is really ridiculous. I don't know how a self respecting company can put out stuff like that, it looks like an amateur build mistake. Too bad, because the bass itself seems interesting.

  13. For the $1399 that bass costs, it should be right. My Epiphone Ripper has the same issue on the G string, but it's an Epiphone so I can overlook it.
  14. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    Okay I'll try this again.....with pictures

    This Krist Novoselic, the bass has his signature (that's his name btw) on it.


    This is Krist playing a Gibson RD in a band called Nirvana that has been modified by addition of Jazz bass pickups, look closely and you'll see the pole pieces don't align correctly, this is the way Krist likes it, since it's his bass he can do with it as he pleases.

    This is Krist again..........


    This is Krist's signature (how he signs his name btw) on the headstock of the RD that has the misaligned pickups.


    And this is a picture of the bass with it's misaligned Jazz bass pickups - The way Krist likes them - get it?

  15. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    Haha, I think we get it. Very nice review BTW, well appreciated. It's just a visual distraction that I don't think I could ever get over after spending that kind of cash. I'm a touch OCD and that would never work in my world. :smug:
    Kristine likes this.
  16. andysleigh


    Aug 23, 2007
    Great review. Il agree with it.

    I tried one out in a shop today, and was kinda blown away.

    my only gripes are the shaprish fret ends,
    area by the neck join which hasnt been sprayed properly,
    the fretboard looks like its not been sanded or anyhting. jsut rough.
    its 34" scale against 34.5" which the original was, and the head is different. probably just so they can take the neck from another model to make things easier.
    Kristine and GTG666 like this.
  17. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    And I'd agree with your assesment here, while mine seems very nice in the QC, obviously the one you tried was not good. Spotty, questionable QC is something Gibson should work at - much harder than they do.
  18. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    First off, great review. I tried one of these a few weeks ago at GC and I was generally impressed at its faithfullness to the original. Sometimes these variants get a little too tweaked.
    One thing that I liked was the neck. I had a '77 RD Artist and I never had a problem with the slightly chunky neck on it - I liked it. This is very close.

    The model I tried was done pretty well - the QC was actually good. Nice finish, frets were done okay and I'm sure the pickups were not offset as drastically as yours. They were in line with the shots on the Gibson site, meaning, the innermost of the double poles for the E and G aligned with the string. I noticed this and there was no noticeable signal loss. I know this is what Novoselic wanted, but I always liked the original pickups (without all the Moog candy) and thought they sounded great. I imagine we'll never see those come back - too bad.

    A good specimen is a decent solid bass, but at $1400....not quite IMO. A much better bang for the buck used, if you can find one.
  19. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups

    Ideally I'd want an Artist in that cool black/red/yellow burst........

    As a re issue a "Standard" with the original pickups would be great.
  20. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    That's the ticket!

    My old RD....

    Attached Files:

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