Gibson RD Artist/Standard 1970's/80's Basses

I'm downright in love with the look of these basses. I love Gibson also, and one of the only companies I trust, along with Fender and Music Man. Maybe I simply dont know much about basses yet, and so I tend to judge basses by looks a little more than I should.
But that being said, can anyone give me some feedback on one of these beauties?
Are they actually any good? How do they sound? What kind of style do they play best. I wish I could get my hands on one to try one out, but Ebay seems to be the only place I can even be lucky enough to see one...pain in the ass.

But I want to know absolutely everything I can about it before I go and blow and grand off of one of these vintage guitars. I dont want to be speanding money simply because it's vintage (though, i expect I have to anticipate that a little bit anyway)

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8) Well, first things first. What kind of music do you like ? There have been a couple of Gibson basses that helped shaped bass in Rock and Roll over the years. The big hollow body stuff was a real British thing in the mid to late 60's. The Epiphone Rivoli ( when Epiphone was Epiphone and not some Asian knockoff ) and the big bodied Gibson's were essentially the same bass, check out old Cas Chandler lines with The Animals, and many, many other 60's British bands----- cool tone.

But by far the best known and greatest sounding Gibson's were the early Thunderbirds. The RD you speak of is a great Bass, but put more in the same class as the Ripper Bass. Great basses, but do not have their own sound.

Everyone that plays bass will tell you something different, Let me put it this way to you. I have owned many Gibson basses, but never a RD. 8)

I listen to, and play hard/progressive rock. I'm not talking any death metal, or any of this stuff that just rips chaotic noise. I'm more about progression and tone. My ideal music sound would be a deep punchy low note sound, but with a fair bit a high end tone, but at the same time avoiding that high end snap that can come from a jazz pickup turned to full. (I find myself changing my bass setting constantly while playing).

I also play some quick intricate melodies/harmonies, which makes me suited to a P-bass, i expect. (My one and only bass right now is an old beat up Fender P-bass with a jazz bridge pickup).

I'm more or less looking for an overall general upgrade without losing what a like about my bass's sound, but gaining what I dont have.

Perhaps the RD, or the others you mentioned are nowhere close to what I need. If thats the case, any suggestions?

Any P-Bass with a Jazz bass pickup near the bridge IS NOT WHAT YOU WAMT !! A Gibson may be what you need my man. Or for a cheaper fix you might try a older Dimarzio or Schaller P Bass pickup. Not the newer ones------- the OLDER ones. They both would give you a bigger, fuller,meaner tone. Most younger players these days are not after the tone you want, but instead the TREBLE tone that I, and apparently you, do not want. To hold down the bottom end in Blues and Drivin' Rock and Roll, you have to THUNDER and not pop and whack !!

Not enough room here to really tell you what I think you would like. Send me a email. I really think I can help you.

ROAR on that bass !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:

Welcome to the forum, Mack, and the Musicman Stingray crosses my mind as being a good fit to your description of tone-u-like.

8) Have to disagree a lttle 1bass. The Musicman is indeed a great bass. Built well, plays well, and sounds great. What he is looking for is a solid and driving Rock and Roll, hold the bottom end down bass sound. The Gibson he is looking at has the typical "big wind" pickups. Gibson solid bodies sound bigger and thicker than the typical " Fender" sihgle coil. The Musicman, due to pickup placement. is geared more towards the "Mid" type tone.That is why I mentioned the overwound Dimarzio and Schaller. Bigger, Fatter and Meaner.

We all have our ideas about tone 1bass .Coming from the REALLY LOUD Blues-Rock state of mind I am always in, I just feel the bigger wind pickups would keep the Grease in his Groove !!!! 8)

Thanks for the input guys. It's great to be getting some useful info.
I like music mans. the sound is great. Not quite what I'm after. It's hard to describe, but it sounds almost... metalic to me. Like im stumming big acoustic upright bass strings on it. That same feeling is transfered to the playability of it. Feels like i need to do a lot of work to get it sounding chrisp.
Need more playability than the sting rays. Still lookin....

I'd really like a Wal, i think. But i'm not famous, and dont have 5g's lyin around.

I like the MM, ocbviously, but I take the point that that very distinctive sound can be a drawback. Not a "fit's all" bass, but definitely one that I used to hear as a kid and go "what's that bass, then?"

Unusually for a lefty, I actually played a Wal, owned by a richer lefty during one of those "get up and play" sessions. Incredibly deep and woody, with more than the average sustain, too. I bought a "Jim Reed" BE5, which are made in Italy but their distribution seems to be blokes with a garage selling on eBay. The Wal/Alembic style was obviously attempted and it's not a bad try for sensible money. The letdowns are the Kramer-sourced pickups. I mean to get those replaced someday.

What other types of bases share a similar sound to a Wal or Alembic (which i'm also in love with), that dont cost a fortune? If you know the work by Justin Chancellor of TOOL, you'll know pretty much the exact sound I'm looking for.

Any thoughts? Also, it may be important to know that I live in Canada. Some import models can be really difficult to get here. Anything from the U.S is easy to get obviously, but overseas I think may be more difficult for me to get a hold of. Know of any around on my side of the ocean?

If you want that sort of guitar without paying that sort of money, you'd be best looking at the specs for basses. What you want is a body and preferably neck wood that isn't too bright and be prepared to swap the pup if necessary. The pup is easier to swap than the wood. Wood types I'd avoid are basswood and poplar and aim for mahogany, walnut or the less-common korina.

You can have a look at my Jim Reed (mine's a BE5 but the BE4 is identical but for the missing B string) here:

Clicking on the "shops" button will get you a Canadian seller, but he looks like a one-man operation. Might be worth emailing to discuss his sales policy. Even with the Kramer pups, this is a nice bass and worth the money. If you can stretch to a pup replacement (just replace the neck pup, not worth coughing up for both) then it's worth also chatting to Bartolini. They should be able to make a good suggestion for you.

Thanks for the tips, I'll be sure to check everything out you said.

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