Gibson unveiled the RD line of Guitars to the public in 1977... "RD" abbreviating Research and Development. The line began with three guitar models: the RD Standard, the RD Custom and the RD Artist and two RD basses.
The RD was intended as a range of instruments incorporating a giant technological leap forward for guitars. At the center of this innovation was the RD Artist guitar and bass. Not only were they Gibson's first active instruments, but they were also equipped with Moog (another Norlin company) expansion/compression circuitry.