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Gibson Sonex | 1981, Guitar, Electric Guitar

Gibson Sonex | 1981


The Sonex guitars were a range of budget Gibson electric guitars launched in 1980. They were made from a material called Resonwood, and manufactured with Multi-phonic body construction. Gibson replaced the Marauder and S-1 guitars. Like these two instruments, the Sonex took its styling from the Les Paul guitars that had been popular for the previous decades, but using Resonwood instead of mahogany, bolt-on necks instead of set (glued-in) necks, and far less ornamentation.

"The Sonex Multi-phonic body is composed of Resonwood surrounding an inner tone wood core. The tone wood core not only acts as the anchor point for the neck, it also adds acoustic resonance and exceptional body resilience. The Sonex body is so resilient, that its structural properties survived extreme testing in temperatures ranging from −40 °F to 180 °F."

Thus, the Resonwood was a coating used on a solid, usually mahogany body. At its launch in mid 1980, the Sonex 180 Deluxe cost $299 which was Gibson's cheapest instrument. The Standard was $375, Custom $449.


There were four guitar models to choose from in the Sonex Series, all with the Gibson single cutaway design. The Sonex-180 Deluxe featured a rosewood, dot inlaid fingerboard and adjustable exposed Zebra Dirty Fingers Humbuckers. All came With a three-position pick-up selector switch, Tune-0-Matic Bridge', stop bar tailpiece and volume/tone control speed knobs.


Notable users of the Sonex included Allan Harper of the Limitations, ca 1987-1990 who played the Sonex through a Gallien Kruger aluminum cone combo to achieve a trademark tone.


This Gibson Sonex available here at Sun-Sounds has been restored to its original look, with a new pickguard and new gibson machine heads. It also comes with the rare Gibson 80s case which alone costs over a €100. We look forward to host you over at the shop.


    Manfactured on 12th of February, 1981 in Nashville Plant, TN, USA
    Production Number: 64 

    -The new Gibson exclusive Multi-phonic body construction •
    -Single cutaway design •
    -Adjustable chrome plated Tune-0-Matic bridge with chrome plated stop-bar tailpiece •
    -Uniquely shaped double sided fingerrest with white revealed edge

    -Two high output Humbucking 3-point adjustable exposed pickups that feature one black and one cream coil •
    -3-position toggle switch for pickup selection (individual or both pickups simultaneously) •
    -Attractive, efficient black speed knobs •
    -Body size: Length 17 1/4" width 13" depth 1 3/4"

    -One piece select hardwood construction •
    -Width at fingerboard nut 1 11/16" •
    -Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and corresponding side dots •

    -Individually enclosed chrome plated machine heads •
    -Gibson truss rod with distinctive truss rod cover • 22 frets • 24 3/4" scale length 
    -SONEX-180 DELUXE • Semi gloss Ebony finish 


    Gibson’s Nashville plant was opened in Tennessee 1974. All electric models and some acoustic models currently made at this factory. This facility has an average production rate of 220 guitars a day. Each guitar is built by hand and takes about 4 to 6 weeks to complete. Note: Most hollow and semi-hallow body guitars are made at a separate plant in Memphis Tennessee. This facility has an average production rate of 40 guitars a day.

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