1982 Gibson Sonex 180 Deluxe in Candy Apple Red finish more
1982 Gibson Sonex 180 Deluxe in Antique Fireburst
Notice the Gibson script on the headstock - a typical early eighties feature that harks back to the very early days of Gibson
The 180 Deluxe was one of the new Gibson Sonex range. It was, in fact, pitched as Gibson's cheapest ever entry level guitar, and was by far it's lowest priced electric, partially down to the less labour-intensive semi-gloss finish (a feature Gibson still offers today on it's lowest price guitars). At it's launch in Summer 1980, it was listed at just $299 (although this price increased with different colour options, and left handedness); actually $100 cheaper than the final price of the Marauder a few months earlier.
By 1982, the Deluxe was advertised as available with a high-gloss, rather than semi-gloss finish.
Gibson Sonex 180 Deluxe chronology
- 1980 Launch. Semi-gloss Ebony finish only only, $299 (180 case $65, protector case $119.50) . Initial specifications describe a one-piece hardwood neck.
- 1981 A press advertisement for the entire series. Take the Sonex Deluxe. But don't take it lightly. It has the weight and feel of even the most expensive guitars... and delivers high energy harmonics that no guitar in it's price range can respond to. Finishes, Ebony and White - $349 
- 1982 New gloss finishes now available. Prices: Ebony ($349), Candy Apple Red ($399), Silverburst, Antique Fireburst ($434). Left handed models in all colours except ebony ($449) . The 1982 'Rock Hard' brochure specifies a three-piece maple neck.
- 1983 The 1983 catalogue has no mention of the Sonex (but also doesn't mention several other models) . The price for basic colours remained the same throughout 1983, although the premium colours had a price cut for the second list of the year. Prices: Silver, Ebony ($369), Silverburst, Candy Apple Red, Antique Fireburst, Electric Blue ($469 Jan '83, $439 Jun '83). Left handed premium $100 Jan '83, $70 Jun '83 .
- 1984 The January 84 pricelist only lists two colours; ebony and red both at $419 for left and right handed models . The June '84 pricelist makes no changes and is the final listing .
- 1985 Instrument discontinued 
The Sonex 180 guitar range also included the 180-Standard - (like the Deluxe, but with Gibson Dirty Fingers pickups, and coil tap switch) and the 180-Custom (Dirty fingers, ebony fingerboard and a three-piece maple neck). The 180-Deluxe neck is described in company literature as (initially at least) 'one piece select hardwood', and the pickups, simply as 'humbucking exposed coil'. They are given part numbers 13248 (front) and 13249 (back) which are described as 'Pickup assembly Sonex Japan' in a September 1984 parts price list. It would seem pickups were made in Japan rather than the United States. They were later also fitted to the Gibson Invader.
Although shipping figures for the Gibson Sonex are not available, it would appear that the Deluxe significantly outsold the Standard and Custom, judging by the numbers seen available in the used guitar market.
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A closer look at a 1982 Sonex-180 Deluxe
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