Sunday, May 8, 2011

Resurrecting some Reflex Red pickups

When I originally bought my Washburn EC29 in the early 90s, it came fitted with Reflex Red pickups.

These were English made active pickups with a variable active mid boost and I suspect an aftermarket job on my guitar. The EC29 came with an active mid boost as standard but from what I've seen this was a Washburn thing and all the photos I've seen have the pickups branded up as Washburn.

I was always a fan of these pickups and they seemed very high output to me. Sadly they stopped working and the active box seems to have a broken wire as if you wiggled cabling it would occasionally spring into life. Being a circuit potted into a small box it'd be very hard to fix this.

To get my guitar usable I fitted it with some Kent Armstrong pickups and a simple passive setup, saving all the Reflex stuff and carefully storing it in a box.

I started keeping an eye out for Reflex pickups on eBay and sorted myself out a couple of sets that I could maybe use to resurrect the originals. However in the meantime I got enthused about Seymour Duncan active pickups and rewired the EC29 with some Blackouts.

So I've now got an assortment of Reflex bits kicking around doing nothing. One of these is a strat set of three single coils and I've decided to have a go at fitting them in the mahogany strat. These were rather nastily wired up with great blobs of solder like somebody has re-used the pots multiple times. This is understandable as they use 10k centre detent pots which people fiddling with guitars aren't going to have kicking around. These pots also have tiny plastic shafts with little collets used to allow you to fit standard guitar knobs.

I've taken this set, desoldered it carefully, taking note of how it was connected and fitted it to the original scratchplate from the mahogany strat. Now I've ordered some 10k pots to finish off the job and once these arrive I'll have a go at wiring it all up.

At some point I found these nasty scanned faxes of the original Reflex wiring instructions on the Internet and it looks to 100% agree with the wired up sets I have. I'll be using the second setup with separate mid and treble controls. Sadly the pots I have ordered aren't centre detent but they'll have to do.

I have a couple of HSS sets as well as this and may think about fitting them into something else if this works out. However my cup runneth over with active pickups so I suspect these will sit in the box with the rest of my hoard.


cholforock said...

hello man,
i need your help, i have three reflex reds with two pots and active box, some wires are loose the welding, can you bring me wiring diagram?

Nick Reynolds said...

The wiring diagram is in this blog post, just click on the diagram and you should get a copy.

You may need to use some basic electrical knowledge to work it out if you have a slightly different setup.