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Gibson RD Standard Reissued

20 June 2011 3 Comments Print This Post Print This Post

Here’s one to split opinions and have guitarists arguing over their beer for a while. The Big G has reintroduced the RD Standard, a guitar originally offered back in the late ’70s.

First beer-argument point: the looks. Personally, I love how this thing looks but I can definitely see how there are some that might not. Does that make me right and them wrong? Probably, but if it’s your round, I’m prepared to enter into debate.

Second beer-argument point: the specs. Gibson have released the RD Standard in typical Gibson dress. It’s made from mahogany (body and neck) and it’s got the usual, 24 ¾ inch scale length. So far, so Gibson. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things but when you consider that the original RD was offered with a maple body and neck and with a (Fender-style) 25 ½ inch scale length, the decision to pass these up on the reissue seems a bit unimaginative.  If memory serves, the ’70s RD also had a chamfered top—it was bevelled back towards the edge a little—and these appear to be slab-bodies.

A maple guitar with a longer scale-length is very non-Gibson and gives a very different sound, focus and playing feel. I’d love to have seen Gibson shake things up a bit with the RD Standard and go back to its original specs. The Dusk Tiger and Firebird X prove that the boys and girls at Gibson aren’t afraid to step outside tradition. Of course, from a tooling and logistical perspective, it makes financial sense to stick to typical Gibson specs for the RD but, personally, I think they missed a trick with this one.

It does still look cool though. And it’s your round.

Gibson RD Standard Exclusive

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Written by: Gerry Hayes
This article is listed under: News, Opinion

3 Comments »

  • Gary said:

    This is one ugly guitar… The Dusk Tiger and Firebird X were too in my opinion… The RRP on this is $2600 and what do you get for your money.. A badly designed Gibson and heres why I think so…

    1) The Cutaways give more access to the bass side then the top side which for most guitarists is the wrong way around.

    2) The electronics are altered so im guessing we are sharing a volume or tone control across the pickups.

    3) For this price point I would expect to see trapazoids on the fretboard and some binding on the neck & body

    To me I think an SG Standard would be much better bang for your buck, if you want a retro shape guitar buy a Danelectro…

  • Gerry Hayes (Article Author) said:

    Hey Gary,

    Not with you on the looks as I think it’s pretty cool. Not as pretty as the original but I still like it.

    I’m on your side about bang-for-buck though. Releasing this as a mahogany, slab-body with the usual Gibson scale-length feels a bit of a lazy way to sell some more axes.

    It’s got two volumes and a master tone, by the way.

  • Hobie Pirough said:

    Just got one of these in the lovely trans-amber color. It’s quite a large guitar, with a HUGE case! It balances nicely and is a pleasure to play – just LOVE the 50’s style neck. Frankly, I get tired of people criticizing Gibson for virtually everything they do. It doesn’t have THIS, or should’ve had THAT, etc., etc. It’s a 1st class instrument like most upper-level Gibsons, and when these aren’t made anymore, you’ll wish you’d gotten one!! I have a LP Studio in Alpine White that is so elegant, you almost need a tuxedo to play it. Best guitar for the money, IMHO. Now, enter the RD Standard – This is a rhythm player’s DREAM. Chords really sing out on this thing. Controls are a bit odd, but lots of tonal variations are possible. At first, the “middle” position seemed like it was not bright enough, but if you turn down the volume on the neck pickup, it brightens up considerably. It IS a tone-monster that can be tamed. No, it’s not like the original with active electronics. But we all know that if Gibson made it with active electronics, people would be whining that it should have been passive. Good job, Gibson. A BEAUTIFULLY MADE instrument with killer tone – and not something everyone else has.