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Gibson Sonex Guitar
The cheaper solid body guitars being produced in the 1970s such as the Melody Maker, S-1 and Marauder were starting to lose their popularity by the late 1970s. Shipping figures for 1979 were barely reaching double figures - not even that in some cases, and by 1980 these models were replaced by a new range of budget guitars, the Sonex series.
The view inside the neck pocket of a Sonex-180 deluxe. Because this area is traditionally left unpainted, the differences in Resonwood, and the hardwood core are clearly visable
Like the Marauder and S-1, the Sonex guitars were constructed with a bolt-on neck, rather than a traditional Gibson set-neck; but rather than a solid wood body, the Sonex series used a Multi-phonic construction, which was both cheap to produce and with highly desireable audio qualities. It comprised an inner solid tone wood core sandwiched between slices of a composite wood material named Resonwood. This was not the first time Gibson had used such materials of course, having produced the Kalamazoo range of guitars and basses from a similar pressed wood material 15 years earlier. The image to the right shows the top layer of Resonwood, over the solid wood (maple?) core.
There were three models, the 180 Deluxe, 180 Standard and the 180 Custom, priced (in 1980) at $299, $375 and $449 respectively. The next cheapest Gibson guitar available in that year was the 335-S standard (solid body version of the famous Gibson ES-335) which was $499. By 1981, the Standard had been dropped in favour of the Sonex Artist, which was a lot more expensive at $749. By 1882 the Custom had been dropped also. By 1984 only the Deluxe model was left, now at $419.
Gibson Sonex for sale
|There are 8 comments on this article so far. Add your comment|
|Lyndon Comment left 18th November 2011 14:02:08|
I have a Sonex Custom for 20 years. Great guitar. It's finished in candy apple red - not one of the colours listed for this model. It has the coil tap switch, etc., and says 'Custom'. No sign of the neck having been changed. Any thoughts?
|Jim Comment left 6th December 2011 18:06:40|
I have the same one with an orginal case bought from Speno's Music in Auburn, NY in the summer of 1981. I have played this guitar and LOVE it. Heavey yes but the sustain is better than any other guitar that you can buy today. Jim
|Chris Chandler Comment left 27th December 2011 09:09:12|
"NECK SPECIFICATIONS One piece select hardwood construction" Really? Even the headstock? Are you completely sure. Completely? When the headstock on my 1983 Sonex snapped off it was anything But wood! It was white composite material. The only wood on that neck was the fretboard and the nickel sized bit of mahogany around the trussrod. The rest was pure composite. So this specification is either wrong or was mysteriously changed over time.
|vintage guitar and bass Comment left 27th December 2011 10:10:52|
Hi Chris - thanks for your interesting comment. The descriptions above are Gibsons official specifications circa 1981. Gibson always put something along the line of 'we reserve the right to change specifications at any time'. So how many are wood vs resin is hard to know. The resin never really took off, so it may be just a small-scale trial, or more widespread in later Sonex's. What model Sonex was yours? Could you send pictures to me? see http://www.vintageguitarandbass.com/contact.php for my email address
|Andy Comment left 3rd June 2012 20:08:51|
My 1979 Sonex 180 Standard definitely has a real wood neck, my guts say mahogan based on the grain visible on the edges of the neck from over 32 years of Sabbath and AC/DC tunes, played both man and pimply youth, heavy as a laden mule but I'm still to find a lower, sweeter action than I somehow ended up with on this thing. Now I'm an old git I play it less as the weight gets to my Parkinson's affected neck, but it still holds fantastic tone and sustain for a bolt-on, very metal in the pre-thrash/death sense of the word.
|jimelomany Comment left 8th July 2012 15:03:38|
Whats a ballpark value for a sonex artist? They seem pretty rare compared to the other models. I find them pretty intriguing really
|Sandy Howitt Comment left 7th June 2014 10:10:13|
Value my guitar please. It's Sonex built in Nashville August 2008. Serial number 82260664 Thank you
|vintageguitarandbass Comment left 24th October 2014 21:09:17|
Hi Sandy that serial number is from August 1980 - I guess you mistyped? The value will depend on the model of Sonex, condition, where you are selling it etc. Typically $400 - $800