Gibson and Moog together under one backplate? Uh, yeah! That’s the 1977 Gibson RD Custom. A product of shared parent company Norlin’s research and development program, this RD Custom has several notable firsts for a Gibson guitar, like a 25.5” scale length, unique “RD” body shape, and, of course, active Moog electronics with switchable bright mode. Sam takes you through this innovative marriage of guitar and synth, highlighting the short-lived combo’s unique interplay.
The Gibson RD series solid body electric guitars were launched in 1977. Distinguished by its active electronics (RD is the abbreviation for "research and development"), they were designed to appeal to those interested in synthesizers as well as guitars. An "unhappy marriage of traditional and modern design", the series was unsuccessful, though the concept of the RD was continued for a while in the Les Paul Artist series. The RD series (guitar and bass) was the result of Gibson's desire to tap into the developing synthesizer market, which was thought to have taken customers away from guitars.