Sound — 10
The guitar is good for just about any style of music. I've played in bands ranging everywhere from blues to metal to alt-rock, and this guitar has handled it all with equal aplomb. Very similar to a Les Paul in tone. I used to use the guitar through a Fender Blues Junior anp before it died, and am searching for a new amp. In the studio I use it through a DigiTech RP200, which allows me a great deal of tonal range.
Overall Impression — 10
I play just about everything ranging from jazz to metal to alt-rock, and this guitar handles it all with ease. I've had this guitar basically since I started playing, and have tried Strats, Teles, Ibanez, and ESPs, and always seem to come back to this one guitar. It's like a good pair of jeans, it just fits. If something were to happen to it, I would definitely seek out another, and am probably going to anyways just to have a backup. I really wish Gibson would consider reissuing this fantastic instrument, but with the advent of the budget Epiphone Les Pauls, I highly doubt it's ever going to happen. The only thing I would ask for on it that it doesn't have would be a Bigsby trem, but again, this is nit-picky. Highly recommended!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Live, this guitar truly shines. It isn't noisy, it resonates, sustains, and feeds back in a very controllable, musical, and useful way, and it's a very comfortable instrument to play. I've used it on many gigs and it's never ever let me down. The finish is a little worn, the hardware is a little worn, but theae are little nit-picky problems that are easily corrected and, again, are caused by the instrument being played constantlyfor the 15 years that I have owned it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I got the guitar it had sat for several years, so the action was quite high, but a good set-up (performed by Front Porch Music in Valparaiso, IN, shameless plug, but those guys are great! Fixed any issues I had with it. The pickups were just ok to me, so I replaced the bridge pickup and have been happy since.
Features — 10
The Sonex I own is a 1981 180 Deluxe. It's been slightly modified, with a Gibson 500-T humbucker in the bridge position with a coil-tap switch added, and I've replaced the pickguard with one from WD because the old one became cracked. It's also been refretted with jumbo frets and the tuning machines need to be replaced from 15 years of constant playing, use and abuse, but otherwise it's still a fantastic instrument and will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands before I let got of it!