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Thread: Help with Reflex options

  1. #1

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    Help with Reflex options

    Hi Guys,

    I demo'd the Big Al SSS and Reflex HH yesterday. The BA was the main event and really just tried the reflex as an after thought...but I ended up liking it even more! Particularly liked the passive, HH with the tone rolled off (can't remember if it was series or parallel)...but it was fat, warm and smooth which is something I don't really get on my H ray without some heavy eq.

    I'm thinking about getting one, its going to be my last bass purchase in a very long time. As its not going to be possible to demo an HSS and HH side by side, I was hoping to call on the experiences of the forum members.

    I'd be most appreciative to know your thoughts on these two, some questions below:

    STANDARD BUILD (with rosewood fretboard) vs PDN BUILD: what differences do you think there will be with the overall tone? Is the PDN's mahogany body going to result in a thicker sound? Likewise will the pau ferro/roasted neck have any effect on tone?

    HSS vs HH? I'm buying a reflex for its flexibility, but fundamentally I require a thick, warm tone (my H stingray can handle the classic MM zing) that can cover those vintage P and J sounds. Do you have any thoughts on the the pro's and cons for HSS and HH? Which will give the most versatility and which would get me closest to that smooth fat sound that I'm after?

    Thanks for you help

    Ming

  2. #2

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    I don't think you can go wrong whichever way you go. Reflex basses are monsters and swiss army knifes in terms of tonal options. Big Al's are just as equally, so either way you head, you've got tonal options on tap. On my 25th 5HH BFR, I like the option of the Series / Parallel switch which the HSS doesn't have. I seem to use Parallel more than Series, but don't feel that I'm missing out on anything by not having pickup options of the HSS.
    I have tried other basses, and I can't find another bass that can cover the range that the 25th can (Classic Stingray to P and all inbetween with a 4 band EQ and Active / Passive, Series / Parallel). To me, my 25th 5HH BFR is a "One bass to rule them all"
    If you are doubting the versatility of a HH, just click on the link below and have Ed Friedland put your mind at rest!
    Ernie Ball 25th Anniversary HH 5 String Bass - YouTube
    Cheers
    _____________________________________________
    25th #6 (5HH BFR Quilt)

  3. #3

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    I think, in general, the all-mahogany body might give you a slightly thicker response in the mids. It's a bit hard to tell I suppose because the Reflex already has a mahogany tone block running down the centre of the body from the neck up to the bridge. Mind you, the maple top of the regular Reflex will tend to tighten the sound - make the response snappier - whereas the PDN model won't have the maple top so I'm guessing the mahogany will be a bit fatter and warmer sounding. But I don't think it's going to drastically alter the sound.

    From my experience comparing my roasted Bongo H to my previous Bongo HS, I can say that, acoustically, the roasted neck does produce a stronger fundamental tone. How much of that translates into stuff you can hear through an amp I don't know - but it definitely looks awesome.

    The big thing I was going to say is...if you're looking at a 4-string...have you checked out the Gamechanger Reflex? If not you should definitely look into that since they're being produced now. If I was thinking of buying a Reflex I'd definitely want to go the Gamechanger route. That will give you some serious flexibility!!!

    Bongo 5H, BFR Roasted, Black Sugar
    Bongo 5Hp Fretless, Mahogany, Roasted, Honey Burst

  4. #4

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    my experience with an HH and an SSS is that the phat warm round tone is very easily copped by the single coils, but the humbuckers just run right over that kind of tone. For reference, when I'm playing a stax/motown song on my Al, I always pick the neck and mid pickup and leave out the bridge. Maybe you found that one on the Al you tried. That's where I get my phat warm tone. Thus, I would suspect that your tone goals would be more easily met with by the HSS, but as you say, the HH can get there, but requires a little more work with your eq and amp settings.



  5. #5

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    Thanks mate, really good to hear from someone who owns both an HH and an SSS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Holdsg View Post
    my experience with an HH and an SSS is that the phat warm round tone is very easily copped by the single coils, but the humbuckers just run right over that kind of tone. For reference, when I'm playing a stax/motown song on my Al, I always pick the neck and mid pickup and leave out the bridge. Maybe you found that one on the Al you tried. That's where I get my phat warm tone. Thus, I would suspect that your tone goals would be more easily met with by the HSS, but as you say, the HH can get there, but requires a little more work with your eq and amp settings.

  6. #6

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    I own one of the first reflexes in my region, it's 5 strings HH maple boarded, ...what exactly do You wanna know about HH?
    It's in use all the time, live giggin', practice with my band, practice at home ...etc.

    Check my amateur demo videos first:

    EBMM reflex 5 HH 2011. short slap demo by Keko.avi - YouTube

    EBMM reflex 5 HH model 2011. demo by Keko.avi - YouTube

  7. #7

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    IMO its NOT even close HH over HSS... the bridge H is in a MUCH better position in the HH vs HSS.
    Good luck

  8. #8

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    HH for me, bridge is too close in the HSS.

  9. #9

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    HH = monster truck!
    Trans Orange SR5H 07/03/08
    25th Anniversary Bass 5HH 01/6/10
    Reflex 5H Rosewood Neck&Top/Brown Back 04/01/14

  10. #10

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    So many options all so good.

    Be sure to make what ever you buy a 2012 PDN. My 2012 Roasted is the stand out instrument in my MM collection for Tone, Playability, Weight and it just Sooooo beautiful
    '79 Sabre4-Tobacco Burst-HH-Maple F/board
    '89SR5-Natural-H-Maple F/board
    '03 Bongo5-Black-HH-Piezo
    '03 Bongo5-Desert Gold-HH
    '06 SR5-Tobacco Burst-H-Rosewood F/board
    '09 Ray34-Natural-H-Ebony F/board (Changed from a Maple by myself)
    '10 SR5 Classic-Tobacco Burst-H-Flame M
    '11 PDN SR4 Roasted-H
    '12 PDN Gilded SR4

    PDN Sledge Sabre - Mple ordered

  11. #11

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    Thanks, it's gonna be a PDN for sure! The mahogany body and roasted neck were top of the wish list, so it's like a dream come true. Just need to sum up the courage to lay down 2 grand on a bass guitar.

    I think I'm leaning slightly towards the hh as I've at least demo'd it and liked the tone. Reflexes are as rare as hens teeth in London so I think I'm gonna struggle to find a HSS to try. Keep it coming with your thoughts and experiences!

    On the other hand I already have a 5hh bongo stealth which I love, so maybe the hss will offer something slightly different....better not leave it for too long as only a few more weeks to decide!

  12. #12

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    I've owned several HSS and HH 25th (Reflex) basses mostly in 4 string. IMO, the HH is MUCH better at what you are looking for and mirrors what I was looking for in a MusicMan bass. The HSS is OK, but the HH as you know is just awesome. The electronics packages in these basses are so well done that I can't imagine body or neck woods being a HUGE tonal variable. I have a 25th 4HH BFR rosewood neck and the difference between it and a good standard rosewood / maple neck is in a slight playability / psychological feel thing more than a huge tonal reality. But I like the way it feels so I paid for it. That wasn't the main attraction for it though. It's 9 lbs and resonates like a dream. It really is the best EBMM bass I've ever played. THAT was the main attraction. The Reflex bass by design already has a mahogany section built into it. I would think that wings made of mahogany wouldn't add that much to the original design or to the tone over a stock body. I owned a 30th Stingray with a solid mahogany body and the tonal difference between it and a regular production Stingray was probably best discovered in an acoustic lab and not in a live setting. I didn't see that much of a difference. It WAS beautiful, collectible, and limited run and that made it the treasure. IME Pao Ferro is more cosmetic than anything over a decent rosewood board. Roasted maple is also cosmetic and very appealing if you like it. In all honesty, if you REALLY liked the Reflex you auditioned, you should consider buying that bass. I have played several and there is a discernible difference between instruments regarding weight, resonance, etc. Nitpicky differences yes, but at $2000 - $3000 a copy I'm allowed to be nitpicky and the differences are real. It's like buying any other bass - you have to audition each on its own merits. Big money does not by default equal great instrument. If you have a great one in your hands, you would do well to make it your own as long as it has the color and other features you want / can live with.

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