Sonex-180 (Deluxe): Les Paul body size and shape, beveled edge on bass side, single cutaway,
Multi-Phonic body (wood core, resin outer layer). 2 exposed-coil Velvet Brick humbucking pickups,
3-way selector switch, tune-o-matic bridge, pickguard covers 3/4 of body, bolt-on 3-piece neck, 24-3/4" scale.
rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets, dot inlay, metal tuners, decal logo chrome-plated hardware, ebony.
Introduced as Sonex 180: 1980
Renamed Sonex-180 Deluxe: 1981
"Sonex by Gibson" logo decal: June 1982
"The Gibson Guitar Co." logo decal: July 1982
Standard Gibson logo, ebony, candy apple red, silverburst, or antique fireburst finish: Late 1982
Sonex-180 Custom: Coil-tap switch, Japanese-made neck, ebony fingerboard, ebony or white finish introduced late 1980.
U.S.-made neck: early 1982.
Discontinued mid 1982.
This information was from the book "Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars", 2nd edition, by George Gruhn and Walter Carter.
Update 12/19/2006 provided by Eldor C. Luedtke Jr.:
The Sonex by Gibson is ONLY on the early 1980 models, the rest
are The Gibson Guitar Co U.S.A.. There were four models, Standard,
Deluxe, Custom and Artist, the Standard are Custom both had Dirty
Fingers pickups with coil tap, the Deluxe had Velvet Brick pickups, the
Artist had covered pickups (I forget the models), active electronics and
a set neck. There was no "rename" of them. I own a 1980 and 1983
Deluxe, my 1980 has a mahogany neck, my 1983 has a Maple neck, the neck
profiles are not even the same,the 80 has the volute on it, the 83 does
not (Gibson dropped the Volute in 1982), the 83 also has a bit thinner
neck. The body does indeed have a wood core, mahogany and is resin over
that. That is where the term resinwood came from. There was also the
Gibson GCC700, looked like a Sonex, but with a set neck. Oh, the Sonex
Artist also did not have the large pick guard, it was routed from the
back for control cavity like a Les Paul, the GCC700 had a pick guard
like a Sonex.
Here is some info on Gibson Sonex guitars.
Classic Guitars Built Today.
PO Box 1068
Highland Park, Il 60035