Which preamp? (Gibson RD Artist content)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Insouciance, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Hello!

    I have a 1978 Gibson RD Artist bass, in a classic tobaccoburst finish. I love the way it plays...but not the way it sounds. I would love for it to be my main axe that I can play hard and often...

    I own another RD Artist (that I do love the sound of), and I am very familiar with the tones from the MOOG active electronics.

    A quick search yielded interesting results from a surprising amount people that DID NOT like the MOOG electronics at all. I have decided I would like to remove the MOOG, and replace it with a more modern preamp.

    I am a simple man, I want a simple preamp to power the stock pickups of the bass.

    I do not want to drill or modify the body. I do not want push/pull pots with all these bells and whistles and 3 switches that have all these really cool but over the top features.

    I do want to keep all the stock knobs on the bass...so a 4 knob preamp, with 2 switches is ideal. If it is only a single switch preamp, I'll have the other one be non functional for aesthetic purposes.

    I want it to be a straight forward, but powerful and musical preamp. I want it to elevate my bass to its true potential and tap into its beefiness and enormous tonal capabilities.

    I'm not really on a budget...I just want to find "the one."

    Thank you!
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    There are so many viable good options out there that you might get overwhelmed or annoyed by the choice. :) I used to own an RD Artist, and if I still had it I would put in an ACG filter preamp. So there's a starting point anyway.
  3. Tremendous, thanks Bongo.
    I do not mind options, and I am ok with being overwhelmed a little, I just am looking for some starting off points...there is a lot out there.
  4. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Hold on.

    What pickups do you have in those two basses, before the preamp?
  5. The stock Gibson pickups in both basses. They all measure 6.5k. The electronics on the tobaccoburst are acting up. It sounds like faint 56k dial-up squaks in the background with this steady blip blip blip (like a metronome). The other bass is almost dead silent.
  6. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It might be more helpful to consider what you want the pre to do, and then find a preamp that does that. Four knobs and toggle switch, and you're committed to active? If you just want it to work and don't really need active EQ, then maybe consider wiring it like a Gibson guitar (Les Paul, SG, ES-335, etc.) with the toggle switch to select either or both pickups, and a separate volume and tone control for each PUP.

  7. I have read the pickups are actually rather quiet without the MOOG preamp, and far from as lively, so another preamp will fit the bill. I enjoy the hot output of my other RD Artist.

    I want a simple preamp. 2 or 3 band eq. Nothing too over the top. I do use an almost unnecessary amount of pedals...including reverb. I'd like to be able to cut a healthy amount of bass frequencies from the guitar when I am using the reverb.
  8. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I tried my RD Artist without the preamp (passive) for a while, and ended up putting the original Moog pre back in. The pickups were rather lifeless on their own. I wouldn't recommend even bothering to try this option.

    How much do you want to spend on your new preamp? There's lots of great options out there.
    I'd start by looking at Aguilar and Audere. I have an ACG EQ-02 in a different bass, and it's great, but it takes a LOT of getting used to because of the way the filters function. It's totally different from a "regular" preamp.

    Also, did you say the preamp you're removing is acting up? Or is it ok? If it's ok and you want to get rid of it, PM me. :bag:
  9. Thanks for the input...I will look into those. The MOOG right now has this weird, but slight 56k dial up internet wheezing sound that is sort of in the background. There is also a weird blip blip blip, almost like a metronome thing going on. I plan on keeping it, and letting my tech friend take a stab at it. He can fix about anything, but ever since I started looking into preamp options...I am hooked on finding "the one."
  10. And as far as budget goes, I am open. I just want to find something that will give the RD its fullest glory.
  11. Wagz


    May 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    56k dialup squeaks and blip-blip-blips doesn't sound like the Moog pre-amp is failing, it sounds like your guitar, instrument cable or amp are picking up cellular telephone interference.
    Try asking everyone within 5 feet of your bass to put their phone in airplane mode and see if the noise goes away.
  12. I have tried multiple cords of several lengths, different amps in different places, different distances from the amp. Same result. I have tried all the usual troubleshooting techniques with the same result. I have not tried the cellphone test though.
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I like John East preamps, but many (all?) of them use a boost-only bass control.

    Mike Pope Flexcore gets some great reviews; I would love to try one of those one day. Very configurable option list.
  14. There is a lot out there and a lot to learn, I appreciate the input from everybody!
  15. Hey! I have 2 RD Artists and I always have to put my iPhone in airplane mode because it causes the sound you are describing. It's the phone, for sure. Shielding might help but no guarantees. Easiest to just turn the phone off or go to airplane mode.
  16. andysleigh


    Aug 23, 2007
    if you ended up wanting to replace the pickups as well,
    emg do an active guitar sized humbucker set.
    they are a couple of MM smaller than the gibson ones tho.

    this guy used the emg set in his custom RD, and a cheap 'nitro booster' from ebay.


    or maybe something like aguilar obp3

    if you were going to bin the moog preamp, it would be nice to have it.
    cant get enough of the sound these bad boys make!
  17. mozart


    Jun 8, 2006
    Hi, Out of the contest, but do you know where I can find replacement switches for RD Artist Bass. I have the old switches in there, 2 only, and they are breaking very easily.
    Guitar has lots of noise, so I start cleaning up the issues, want to start with replacing the switches first.

  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if you're talking about the big toggle switches, good luck! they have way more contact leaves than typical switchcraft toggles, it might be better to clean up and fix them then try and find a replacement.

    as for the preamp, i recommend something with an overall output adjustment like a trimpot or whatever, to bring the stock low-impedance pickups up to a decent output level even with the EQ controls flat.

    i think some bartolini pres do this.
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I don't have an RD Artist, as cool as they are, and I've never seen the back side of the two large switches. But according to flyguitars.com, one of the large toggles is a pickup selector, which I would assume is a normal run-of-the-mill item. The other switch controls the activation of the compression/expansion/bright circuits. No idea how many poles this one needs, but you might be able to substitute the 4PDT On/On/On DiMarzio EP1111 switch.