No this post is not about the Reflex Series Guitars made by MusicMan. I’m sure that they are great guitars but this post is about a very rare vintage and underrated guitar pickup system. Former guitarist for the Scorpions (74′ – 78′) Uli Jon Roth had his very own custom Reflex “Mega-Wing” and dubbed it “The ultimate pickup system”.
Designed by the ingenious English engineer and living legend Mr. John Oram a.k.a “The Father of British EQ”. They were very successful active pickups and were quite popular circa late 80’s to mid 90’s. Back than, big guitar manufacturers such as Martin, Washburn, Jackson/Charvel and Lowden each had a few models that came stocked with the Reflex Pickups on them. They were really successful to an extend that Jackson/Charvel finally bought the company over in the early 90’s. Having bought over, Jackson/Charvel for a period of time churned out quite a lot of guitars with the Reflex as their factory default. But somehow somewhere in the 90’s they stopped. Reflex, the active guitar pickup system is unofficially no more!
Reflex was acquired by Jackson/Charvel ~ The Silver Series
Once Upon A Reflex
The Reds Series
I was privilege enough to own a set that came with a 69 Strat that I had bought back in 90′. That’s a story on it’s own. Anyway, it came with the Reflex Reds. It’s a 3 single coil, a volume, mid ( with a mid boost ) and hi. As far as tone is concerned, It’s GREAT!. No complains whatsoever. However being an active pickup on a Strat, the battery had to sit under the pickguard. And I found that it was always a pain to replace the battery. I had to remove the pickup cover by removing at least 3 screws. I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having to end up with a big gaping hole with an unscrewed skewed pickguard. Not on a 69 Strat, NEVER! So it ended up not being used that much.
Reflex on the 69 Strat
It had worked fine all these years except for some minor scratching from the volume pots which is normal wear and tear for it’s age. That is until I recently had it moved to another Strat copy (called “Legend”) that I have. I had the Strat copy refretted and routed a proper battery compartment for it. Now this is where things started to get a little bit challenging. The luthier that I sent to get the job done, somehow removed the system from the 69 Strat without first making a diagram of the wiring layout. A bad call on his end. Now the guitar is all dolled up but she can’t sing, Bummer! But the guy is a good friend and I hold no ill feelings. So the hunt for the original wiring schematics begins.
Without the wiring schematics it’s pretty much useless…
To my surprise, I found out that it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Finding any information for a 20++ year old product that is no longer being manufactured is next to impossible. Believe me, I scoured the net high and low but to no avail. I found out many similar questions on it but answers are vague at best. I emailed tons of people that I thought may have the magical diagram. From total strangers in various guitar forums, E-bay entrepreneurs, Jackson/Charvel and lastly to Mr. John Oram himself. Well to those that have kindly replied, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those that didn’t, I don’t blame you.
Alas through the power of facebook I managed to get in touch with the person that actually sold me the guitar and who back than also happen to be the distributor for Reflex . An eccentric, a good friend, a mentor and a highly respected individual in Malaysia’s music scene ~ Abang Rom, you’re the man. Thank you so so much for providing the official schematics. They are good pickups, vintage and definitely a collectible item for the connoisseur of fine tone. I should be getting it back soon and hopefully it will come back to me singing sweetly .
The Official Wiring Diagram for Reflex Reds