Sonex 180 Custom Review

manufacturer: Gibson date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Gibson: Sonex 180 Custom
The Gibson Sonex 180 Custom was a guitar made in the USA from 1980 to 1982. The body is multi-phonic, wood core with a resin layer on top. This particular model is a satin off white with a black pick guard and ebony neck and head.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7.3
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (5) 19 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
Sonex 180 Custom Reviewed by: Morlo, on november 09, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: 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! // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 10

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overall: 9.2
Sonex 180 Custom Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: This guitar looks realy nice considering the age of it. It's a Gibson Sonex 180 Delexe rather than a Custom. The colour of it is a sorta off white, it's almost yellow. It has 4 knobs: 2 tone, 2 volume and a selector Switch for the pickups. I'm not sure about much to do with this guitar as it has been given to me and I wasn't around when it first come out. // 8

Sound: The sound quality is what you would expect from a Gibson. The guitar sounds brilliant in distortion but it can also be put into clean and sound great to. This guitar easily holds its own against other guitars includeing the higher priced Gibsons. This guitar could easily be sold at the price of a Standard or at least a Studio or SG. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: It is set up great. A few adjustments due to its age but everything else is ok. The necks plays realy fast and the action is nice and low. The only thing is it might eventualy need new pots, frets and the input is a bit loose ect but thats only because it's getting old. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has been around longer than me and its still rockin' fine! Also because of the name "Gibson" you should expect pro quality equipment. It's a very realiable guitar, I would use it without a backup if need be. It should be fine, no problems so far anyway! // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar rocks! It is great for punk, rock, metal and even some Indie or jazzy stuff. This guitar is sooo cool! The colour is very original and its a nice change from the tipical Gibson look. This guitar is the best in its price range. I would easily pick this guitar to a Studio, SG or maybe even a Standard! // 10

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overall: 8.6
Sonex 180 Custom Reviewed by: trashedlostfdup, on november 09, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: used on Craigs List

Features: I own two of these, and this review is going to be a summation of the two. They are 100% identical even down to the color, both 1980 models, they were made in the good ol' USA, although I do not know in what factory. The body is listed as Rosinwood (yes rosinwood, not rosewood), and I believe the neck is mahogany, although am not positive. They sport beauitiful rosewood fretboards (you can't find rosewood like this any more). They are dual humbucker, with a tuneomatic and stoptail. The pickups are Gibson's Dirty Fingers (my new favorite pickup), two volume, two tone, and a three way Switch (just like a Les Paul). The tuners are not branded, so I am assuming they are Gibson tuners, and have weathered the last 31 years quite well, but defintely aren't as smooth as when they came from the factory. One of the two had a fractured headstock that was professionally repaired. In case you are unaware, that is a relatively common thing with Gibsons, due to the fact that they only use one piece of wood for the neck and the pitch backward to put just the right amount of tension on the strings. // 9

Sound: These are exceptionally great sounding guitars overall and they fit my style perfectly, as well as pretty much anything I could imagine, with the exception of jazz due to the fact that these pickups are so hot. I play dirty electric blues with my Sonex 180 Deluxes. I am playing either through a modded 68 Fender Bassman, Orange Dual Terror, or if I want to get heavier, a Splawn Nitro or Splawn Promod. I generally don't use much effects wise with these guitars except for maybe a little bit of reverb. The pickups are very bright and extremely hot (actually the hottest pickups I have ran accross to date). They are very dynamic and you can go from sparkling clean to mild dirt OD by just your picking, or the volume knob for a more dramatic effect. I typically give nothing a 10, but this for this section, it is truely deserving. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: As far as the action fit and finish go, I can not really say, being that they are both 31 years old, but construction wise, the routing was done very well, the electronics are still good (not even a scratchy pot, and yes they are origional). As forementioned the tuning pegs haven't held up the best, but they both hold tune excellently. The nut wasn't cut the best on one of them from the factory (I am not 100% positive it is the origional nut, but I am pretty sure it is). // 7

Reliability & Durability: These guitars are survivors, both have had rough lives prior to my acquisition. I have to ding Gibson a little bit for the broken headstock a little bit, but in reality it was because it was knocked over or dropped. The hardware is solid as can be (with the exception of the tuners, they are at about 75%), Gibsons are finished in nitro, so the finish is pretty worn on both of them, but that is due to the nitro, not the quality. // 7

Overall Impression: I play hard driven dirty electric blues with these guitars and it is a great match. I have played around eight years, and these guitars are quickly making it to the top of my list of most played guitars. If it were stolen or lost I would definitely search out more of them, in fact I like them so much I am currently searching out more of them. I may actually start some form of collection of them. I like them because they are great, solid guitars, and something you don't see everyday, and they all have a story. There isn't anything I wish it had per say, but a P90 would be cool, but I won't be modding either one of my sonex's. // 10

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overall: 7.2
Sonex 180 Custom Reviewed by: McQueen, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 279.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: The Gibson Sonex 180 Custom was a guitar made in the USA from 1980 to 1982. Made for those who could not afford a Les Paul. Besides the neck, all parts until were made in the USA until late '82, when Gibson put Japanese necks on the Sonex. The early necks were Rosewood, the Japanese made neck is a ebony bolt on, has 22 frets with dot inlays. The body is multi-phonic, wood core with a resin layer on top. This particular model is a satin off white with a black pick guard and ebony neck and head. Available colors included ebony, white, candy apple red, silverburst, or antique fireburst finish. Tune-O-Matic bridge, 3-way selector Switch, volume and tone knobs, with 2 exposed-coil Velvet Brick humbucking pickups. Mine didn't come with anything because it was used and over 20 years old, I kind of expected it. // 6

Sound: Read an Les Paul review for the sound, I liked it better than any other guitar I played that day. It's smooth and wavey, the sound lasts forever. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I have no idea what this guitar was like off the shelf, it's older than me. It's straight, it's solid. But there is alot of crackling with the adjustment knobs, it's going to need new pots and switches. // 6

Reliability & Durability: It's a Gibson, it will do fine. If it's this old and looks this good now, it will last another 20 years at least. It does however need the pots and switches cleaned or replaced. // 8

Overall Impression: This seems to be a guitar that likes to be played more softly than hard. I was considering a new Fender Telecaster, but it just didn't have the sound I was looking for, it just seemed to play the note then die. The only other guitar I regularly played was a Tele of about the same era as this Gibson, but it was about $500 more. If I had the money I would have got it but this is what minimum wage gets you. This sounds great when you play some old Floyd or Zep. I don't play metal or punk or anything yet so I couldn't tell you what that's about. I love old stuff, I love ugly colors. I love this guitar, once I clean it up it should rival anything else I've played. // 8

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