Sonex 180 Deluxe review by Gibson

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.4 (31 votes)
Gibson: Sonex 180 Deluxe

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Some old guy

Features — 10
This is a black, USA-made, 1981 Gibson Sonex 180 Deluxe, also known as a poor man's Les Paul. 22 fret C-shaped bolt-on mahogany neck, Resinwood body laminated over mahogany. Tune-o-matic bridge, stock neck pickup, 500-T in the bridge (I couldn't stand the stock bridge pickup). Tuners are the stock Gibson tuners, which are good, but they're getting worn out, so I'm probably going to replace them with similar units eventually. It's everything you would expect from a Les Paul-type guitar. Very nice!

Sound — 10
I play punk, progressive rock, and blues, and it works great! I play it through a 100 watt 2x12 Fender amp, an ancient DOD chorus, and a DigiTech RP200, and it *moans*! I really, really love the tone of this guitar. It used to be really noisy, which I traced back to a bad ground wire and fixed, so it's nice and quiet now. It has the sort of tone you would expect from a Les Paul, that creamy, mid-rangey sound, but it's a bit brighter, and it sustains for days. The one disappointment was the stock bridge pickup, which, as stated above, I replaced about a year after I got it with a 500-T. I love it!

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action and intonation were off when I got it, and the nut had a crack, so I had it replaced with a bone nut, and had a good set-up done. It hasn't needed anything since, aside from a few odds and ends, such as replacing the cracked pickguard. Seriously, this thing was built like a tank. When I got it, some 24 years ago, I was young and dumb, so I abused it. It's had some restoration work done, and has a lot to go (tuners, some minor odds and ends), but the tone and playability are there. I definitely can't complain.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar has withstood many, many gigs without a back-up guitar. Seriously, it's built like a tank. The strap buttons were kind of small, so I put larger ones on, and that solved that. It's beyond dependable. The finish is showing a lot of signs of age and wear, and the guitar, as a whole, is showing its age, but it's still my main guitar, and will be as long as the neck holds up, and then I'll just have it replaced anyways. It's really served me well over the years, and hopefully it'll continue to serve me well for many, many years to come!

Overall Impression — 10
As I said, I play punk, progressive rock, and blues, and this one easily suits all three. If it were stolen, I'd find whoever stole it, and slowly carve them, alive, into small pieces, then feed them to their dog. I absolutely love everything about this guitar. It's been my main guitar since I got it 24 years ago, and it's going to be until I can't play anymore. When I got it, I tried a couple different Gibson/Epiphone, Ibanez, Peavey, Washburn, Fender, and ESP models, and this was the one that spoke to me. It's perfect the way it is.

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