Sonex 180 Deluxe review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.4 (31 votes)
Gibson: Sonex 180 Deluxe

Price paid: C$ 300

Purchased from: trade

Sound — 8
I like guitars with personality. I don't really care where they come from, but if they don't sound good then I won't buy. I had a newer Ibanez with character issues, so I traded it for the Gibson. It has many sonic possibilities from that woman tone Slash is famous for to metal or blues punk, anyway its versatile. The neck pickup on this one is louder than the bridge for some reason.

Overall Impression — 9
I'm a singer/songwriter and play acoustic lots. When I want to get on the wild side the Gibson is there to wail. I have a couple Ibanez Roadstar's that I really like, and a great Mark Three Traynor amp from the 70's. The Gibson shines with this setup too. I despite the Gibson's quirks it is definitely a character instrument and has great potential. Heck its a legendary name and has a great sound. If it were stolen I would try to find another and feed it to whoever stole the first one. Then buy another on top of that one to actually play again. It would be nice to have the coil tap feature that the customs have. It's way better than an Epiphone or cheap Strat.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have used the guitar as a backup and it can be my main guitar for bluesier songs. The hardware is good quality and strap buttons seem fine under the great weight of this guitar. I need strap locks for continued playing or when I'm feeling acrobatic. Good paint on the guitar and black tends to hide everything (except under a light).

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Being a trade I did get it in excellent condition with the exception of a scratchy toggle switch. Sometimes I find string bends on the guitar a little on the difficult side for the higher notes. That's where I miss the Ibanez. All hardware still performs perfectly but the bolt on neck has a gap at the body which causes some tuning problems sometimes.

Features — 9
Made in the good ol' USA. 22 small frets with a Big maple "C" shaped neck. Body is Rosinwood with a tone wood core. Great Les Paul Shape But HEAVIER than any I've tried. Tune-O-Matic bridge with passive Gibson Zebra pickups. It's a 180 Deluxe so not the Dirty Fingers pickups. Two volume and two tone controls. With three position toggle close to pots. The tuners are stock Gibson but no badge on them. Mine came in a trade with an aftermarket case.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    And here we have another 10 people giving a "1" rating to a guitar that they've never touched. Good job, guys.
    I've had mine since 84, bought new. This way too heavy for my scawny 14 yr old frame but it had and still has great tone. I put it through the wringer , dropped it on stage, left it in the trunk overnight in winter, and then ignored it for 20 years. Just broke it out and asked myself why'd I put this down? It screams! It withstood all the abuse and is still quite playable. I wish I cared for it better.
    My Dad has one of these. It's my go to guitar whenever I go visit him. It's sounds pretty good but is a bit heavy and the neck is thicker than I'm used to. It does have medium frets I think though. I like it.
    yeah has small frets I have one of these as well that I've done some upgrades to and it's a killer axe. Gibson Les Paul style but not the weight. I threw in EMG 81/85's in it and had a fret job done on it with Stainless steel frets and man it's a shred machine now. I love this guitar and have had it for some time. Before I went to actives I had a Tone Zone in the bridge and that was nice as well the original pickups were decent neck pickup was nice and warm with some good bass response to it.