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1985 Gibson Invader

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by 6stringelectric, May 8, 2012.

  1. 6stringelectric

    6stringelectric Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2011
    First, the pics:



    This is kind of an orphan guitar, not many people have ever heard of them, including me until I happened across this one.

    It's apparently the successor to the Sonex models, except these had solid wood bodies (mahogany I believe) rather than the "resonwood" bodies used on the Sonex models.

    It's the same body shape as a Les Paul body, but flat with no carved top. It does have SG-like bevels, front and back, on the bass side only.

    It's not really in the "mint" condition that it appears in the pics, up close it does in fact show it's age with lots of small scuffs and chips and the frets are getting worn too.

    In spite of that, it does play well with the action set low, and it holds it's tune well with the original tuners.

    All in all, I'm quite pleased with it, especially since I was able to pick up a true Made In Usa vintage Gibson at a decidedly non-vintage price.

    Now, a couple of questions -

    I've never had a guitar with an ebony fretboard. Does it need oiling like rosewood, or do I just let it be? It doesn't look dry at all, it's solid and no signs of cracking.

    Second, this is one of the few Gibsons that was made with a bolt-on maple neck.
    I was surprised to notice that the headstock has the usual angle to it, but there is no scarf joint - that is, it was apparently carved at that angle from one solid piece of maple. Any insights into this?
  2. caliban335

    caliban335 Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I can't answer any of your questions, but I really like the guitar. Congratulations.
  3. J.E.M.

    J.E.M. Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2011
    I have a 1983 Challenger which is basically the same guitar, exact same bolt neck and headstock.

    The neck is one piece like yours and what make it look a little strange is the angle of the cut at the top edge of the headstock, it's not 90 degrees to the face, it's actually 90 degrees to the finger board.

    Mine also has an Ebony board, I just use the same oil I use for Rosewood, no issues.
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  5. 6stringelectric

    6stringelectric Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2011

    Yes, mine has that strange angle at the top of the headstock too.

    But what I meant was the lack of the scarf joint at the bottom of the headstock, by the nut.

    All the regular glued-in neck Epiphones I've seen had a scarf joint at the bottom (by the nut) where the angled headstock was glued onto the neck at that point.

    But this guitar doesn't have one, at least I can't see it if it does.
  6. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 6, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Gibson doesn't use scarf joints.
  7. gitold

    gitold Friend of Leo's

    Mar 25, 2009
    Denver Co.
    Dirty Finger pickups?
  8. 6stringelectric

    6stringelectric Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2011
    Both pickups were Sonex 180 Deluxe.

    One or both may have been replaced, the wiring on the neck pickup had been spliced as if it wasn't long enough to reach the controls.
  9. J.E.M.

    J.E.M. Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2011
    No scarf joint on mine either, but look at yours and you'll see the heel is much thicker than say a Fender type neck and the headstock angle is much less than a typical Gibby LP, so it all comes out of one piece of lumber much less thick than usual.
  10. Sollophonic

    Sollophonic Friend of Leo's

    Very nice Gibson there, from what many regard as the nadir of Gibson production, yet those in the know, appreciate that these were very playable, affordable and gig-able guitars

    I have a real affinity for the lower end/obscure Gibsons.

    When they were originally sold, they ended up being very cheap at the time over here in the UK and along with the odd-ball Fenders they were the staple of many indie bands in the 1980s along with Westones/Westburys/Washburns/Ibanez.

    I used a borrowed Challenger as a spare guitar around that time, and I'd love to find one again, it was a great rocky guitar.

    Sonex/Firebrand/The Paul/Invaders/Corvus these obscure Gibbys fascinate me as much as the obscure Fenders like Leads/Musicmaster/Broncos

    I guess my two Melody Makers fulfill that space in my collection for the Gibsons I like.

    You can keep your flame tops, bindings and inlays IMO, the Gibson planks rock....

    As much as the Fender planks do.
  11. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 23, 2011
    Jasper, TN
    I posted this below, but thought I would add it here. What do you think? Real Gibson? Invader Copy? Partscaster? Nice looking invader in your picture. I hear good things about them.

    Attached Files:

  12. 6stringelectric

    6stringelectric Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2011
    I'm no expert, mine is actually the only one I've ever seen in person.

    But from the pictures, it certainly seems to match up closely to mine.

    It's been refinished of course, and the pickguard didn't come with it.

    The only thing that looks different to me is the amount of space on the headstock above the tuners - but that could be the angle of the picture.

    Thee serial number should be stamped into the headstock in the space above the top tuners - is it still visible?

    Mine also has

    "MADE IN"
    "U. S. A."

    stamped between the top tuners.
  13. J.E.M.

    J.E.M. Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2011
    Here’s my 1983 Gibson Challenger One – maple neck and what appears to be an Ebony board with jumbo frets, stock Gibson branded Schaller bridge and tuners, stock single hot humbucker, plays like a dream.

    It's a little odd to have a gibby shaped neck that's as rock solid as you can imagine, zero flex compared to the Mahogany version.





  14. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    In the vast majority of the cases out there, they don't.

    However, there are some lower end ones with that joint (I think my Gibson Sonex was that way but hard to tell with metallic red finish but it was bolt on though), and other Gibsons have unusual things like volutes, maple fretboards, and single coil pickups.

    Now with baked maple to add to the feast, there are some more things for collectors to snatch up because, well, they are there.
  15. Chill Mike D

    Chill Mike D Tele-Meister

    Oct 28, 2008
    New York
    I had an Invader, it was my first electric guitar. However mine did not have any bevels or contours like yours, and I believe it had the regular Gibson headstock.

    Honestly though, I sold it about 18 years ago or so, so I don't remember too much.
  16. Hogdaddee

    Hogdaddee TDPRI Member

    Dec 28, 2013
    here's our '85 Gibson Invader with the super rare Schaller tremolo tail-piece

  17. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Tele-Afflicted

    May 12, 2011
    Stirling, Scotland.
  18. brenn

    brenn Tele-Holic

    Dec 8, 2013
    Interesting guitars. I've never had one of those, but I've owned some unusual Gibsons, like the L6S (set neck) and 335S (solidbody) and the Spirit II. For some reason, I never buy a bolt-on Gibson or a set-neck Fender. Guess I'm too traditional.
  19. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

    Jan 12, 2013
    I owned a Gibson Invader for a few years during the 1980s, like yours except black. It was a well-made and good sounding guitar. Gigged and toured with it, until 1989 when it was stolen from my car in Stratford, Ontario after a gig.
  20. Hogdaddee

    Hogdaddee TDPRI Member

    Dec 28, 2013
    I'm really interested in any info on this particular set up with the Tremolo tail-piece. I read on another forum that very few were made this way.
  21. J. Hayes

    J. Hayes Friend of Leo's

    May 18, 2005
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    I wonder why they don't......

    have the traditional Gibson shape on the end of the headstock with that little "V" cut into the wood. It looks like those guitars just have a "hump" in the end of the headstock.........JH in va.
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