This is an ’81 model, in clear nitro finish natural maple which has aged to a nice pale honey tone all over. The woodwork, finish, Gibson-branded Schaller tuners, and 3-point bridge are original. As you can probably see the pick-ups are not; the original black series V humbuckers were replaced 2 owners ago with chrome EB-3 type units (Japanese made, Allparts supplied), and the original Moog preamp replaced by what I was informed is a Bartolini 2-band EQ one. The brass nut and generic Gibson truss-rod cover are also not original, and rear battery cover is missing (One available on reverb). RD Artists have the classiest headstock on any bass ever I reckon, the Gibson logo and “flying note” inlay are real mother-of-pearl.
The controls are; vol / vol / treble boost-cut / bass boost-cut, p/u select (neck/both/bridge), with micro-switches for active/passive (wish every active bass had one!), and phase invert.
Quite simply there is nothing that looks like these basses, or sounds like this one. They are heavy – a big solid chunk of maple, but really ergonomic – if you play fingerstyle (as I mostly do) you can rest your palm on the upper body cut-out whilst doodling away on the strings; so comfortable. Set neck, body-through stringing, extra-long scale (34.5”), and dense maple body means it sustains for ever. Versatile: you can get the muscular EB-3 sound (think Jack Bruce, Jim Lea, Andy Fraser….) but with more punch and top end available, rather more Fender P. The preamp is very effective and hum free but I almost invariably use it passive – just such a rich, growly, ringing tone. I reckon the chrome p/ups look so much more right on an old Gibson too.
Unlike Thunderbirds these don't suffer from neck dive; nicely balanced. Due to the construction and xtra long scale makes them ideal for drop-tuning malarky such as BEAD.
It's a bit of a beast coming in at 11lbs/5kg so not for the faint hearted. Comes with carry case made from a keyboard bag full customised to house the bass snuggly. Due to the size and length of the neck I cannot find a hard case, believe me I have looked.
Based in London and work near reading. Pickup much preferred due to lack of hard case, I can meet within reasonable distance and exchange ( Buyer to cover fuel costs).
Will consider postage as last resort.
After £1000 no trades unless Sandberg VM4