Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s landmark release, ‘Nevermind,’ Gibson has released a signature bass for bassist Krist Novoselic. Since his tenure with Nirvana, Novoselic has played with the bands Sweet 75, Eyes Adrift, and Flipper.
The RD body harkens back to the Gibson Thunderbird, but is a bit more curvaceous. The ebony, nitrocellulose-finished body is sleek, and the matching black with white ply pickguard keeps things classy. The three-point bridge allows for a string-thru setup, which increases sustain. The headstock is classic Gibson style, and sports Novoselic’s signature in gold, with retro-looking, GroverTM shamrock style tuners. The obeche fingerboard (fancy!) sports acrylic dot inlays and 20 frets, and is mounted atop a maple neck. Set-neck construction on the Novoselic Signature RD Bass means a nice middle ground between the punchier, more harmonically intense tone of bolt-on neck basses and the deeper, fundamental-rich tone of neck-through basses. The Seymour DuncanTM Bass Lines STK-J2n (neck) and STK-J2b (bridge) pickups are noise-canceling, but retain the tonal properties of single-coil pickups. This can be especially handy when soloing or blending the pickups in varying quantities (since single-coil pickups are prone to hum when they are isolated). Purists might want to look for true single-coils, though.
The bass is certainly unique to the Gibson catalogue, for several reasons. First, it features a pickup arrangement usually found on the Fender Jazz Bass and Jazz-bass style instruments. Those looking for the feel of a Gibson bass but the growl and tonal variety of a J-bass should definitely give the Novoselic RD Signature a look. In addition, maple is a punchy tonewood and ranges on the brighter side of the spectrum, unlike mahogany, which is commonly used in Gibson basses. Finally, the control arrangement is in a traditional J-bass style — two volume knobs (one per pickup), and a master tone control. Especially when compared to other Gibson basses, it might be fair to call the Krist Novoselic Signature RD Bass the “Gibson Jazz Bass.” And that’s not a bad thing at all.
Fretboard Radius: 12″
Fretboard Depth: 0.860″ (1st fret), 0.960″ (12th fret)
Nut: Corian (PLEK cut)
Construction: Set neck
Pickups: Seymour DuncanTM Bass Lines STK-J2n (neck) and STK-J2b (bridge)
Bridge: Gibson Three-point (string-thru body)
Tuners: GroverTM Shamrock (20:1 tuning ratio)
Controls: Passive, Two Volume (one per pickup), One Master Tone
Headstock: Back-angled, features gold Krist Novoselic signature and Gibson logo
Includes Gibson hard-shell case.
MSRP: $2,199 (approx. $1399 street)