So I got a Music Man Reflex bass...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason Bonilla, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    So I got a Music Man Reflex HSS 5 string from reverb, and I'm not sure if I want to keep or return. The seller has a thirty day return policy, ive had the bass for two days. i kinda jumped on it cause I know these are hard to come by and i probably wouldnt have the chance to find a nice one at a doable price for a while.

    The bass want necessarily something i was looking for, but i thought it was really neat being that it's one of the few factory MM basses beside the Big AL that has an active passive switch, and its controls make it a super versatile bass. one of my gripes so far is that it has suuuuper low out put, even in active mode, now i think they might have tuned the pre amp to be on a similar output level as the passive mode but its really low, like lower than my Ric 4003. Now the bass has some old nickels on it so I definitely gotta slap some steels on it. but because the strings are pretty old the pre amp doesnt really seem to shape the tone, but im sure it works fine as its the same pre amp as the bongo.

    One of the really good things about this bass is the middle single coil that really just makes the gnarliest Pbass type tone ever and when you add the Neck Single coil to the middle SC? its a crazy tone! but then comes the funny part, I feel the Humbucker on this bass is severely lacking, its not in the typical MM sweet spot like on the stingray, its pushed closer to the bridge to make space for the two single coils. i feel whem you add the humbucker into the mix with either the Neck or middle pup, instead of adding the best of both pups sonic characteristics it kinda just becomes a scooped sound lacking in personality, which is such a departure from the awesome growly tone you get from the front two pickups.

    The body isnt the most comfortable when sitting down, but actually very comfy and compact when standing up. I honestly would be heavily contemplating returning it, but i just joined the worship group at my church and im thinking that pbass and neck pickup tone might really go well with the mix, im just not digging that insanely low output level, i dont want to leave the house with it until i put some new strings on it though.

    I honestly think that ive just been spoiled by my spectors, but i could use the more natural tone of the reflex in the worship group, as spectors are very modern and hifi sounding and that's not really a bass tone ive heard much in CCM. but at the same time i could also just dial in a more subdued tone from with my Bongo for the worship stuff. I guess it just boils down to the fact that this was an impulse buy and i didn't really need it, but it does offer something different from the rest of the basses I have.

    What would you guys do?
    I havent taken any pictures of it yet so ill post from from where i bought it from.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2021
  2. Eneade


    Jun 14, 2008
    I have had a single H Reflex.
    One of the sounds (I do not remember if it was active / passive or series / parallel or may be a combination) made the bass quiet and at the time I wondered if it was normal.

    But other than that, it had a regular output. If every sound coming from the bass has a low output the bass has a problem (which can be as simple as battery, jack connection...).
    Jason Bonilla likes this.
  3. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderators Local A440 Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path
    I had the 4 string version of that bass, and played in a church band and used the neck pickup and the H, so I know a bit of what you're talking about here. However, the output was far different than what you describe. It was super hot. The only downside was having to keep not one but two spare 9 volt batteries on hand.

    Good luck!
    Jason Bonilla likes this.
  4. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    maybe i should slip some new batteries in there and see if it makes a difference, during your time with the bass, did you notice a big output difference between active and passive? also, if you don't mind me asking, why'd you part with it in the end?
  5. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderators Local A440 Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path

    New batteries would be the first thing I'd try.

    I'm not a great player, so I didn't deserve this bass in the first place, and when I lost my gigs I quickly needed the money more than I needed an expensive bass I had nowhere to play.
    CryingBass likes this.
  6. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    In active and series mode that bass should be very-very hot.
    SixtyCycleHum and blastoff99 like this.
  7. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    thats what i was thinking two seeing as its 18v pre amp
  8. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    yea i dont know, i think im going to return it. for what i payed for this thing i should be in love with it.
    Datsgor likes this.
  9. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderators Local A440 Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    Under the flight path
    I mean, did you try putting batteries in it?
  10. SixtyCycleHum

    SixtyCycleHum Suspended

    Oct 16, 2021
    Melbourne, Australia
    Change the strings and the batteries and all of the little bits and pieces and you MIGHT love it.
  11. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    i've got one. it is not super low output, but that's pretty subject. i believe they made it where flat on active is about the same as passive mode in output.

    i'd say mine is about average output. my big al is a little bit hotter, but not much. both are way hotter than my ovation magnum, and way lower output than my Fender Starcaster.

    give it a couple days, if you don't fall in love, i'd return. if i had the cash, i'd buy it from you. love the maple board and blue models.
    Tanner5382 likes this.
  12. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    messed around it some more with new batteries. and A-B'd it with my bongo, and they seem to be pretty even in terms of out put when in active. But still, of so many tonal possibilities, really only one gets my attention, on a bass whose whole schtick is to be a jack of all trades. It doesnt really fill a sonic space that I need filled all that much, it kinda just becomes an expensive dud to me. who knows, might be someone elses number 1 one day. I remember drooling over these on back when I was a kid, but doesnt really do it for me in the end. i just filed for a return. :bag:
    Tanner5382 likes this.
  13. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    CCM is pretty much a PBass through an Ampeg.

    that being said, I always thought those were way versatile. but maybe trying to do too many things “ok” and not really anything “great”.
  14. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    Hey, you tried. It didn't work out, no shame in that! I recently bought a bass that I thought and hoped I was going to love, but it just didn't work. Returned it and got my dream bass which is perfect for me. When spending this much money, you should have no doubts that you love it. If it's questionable, return it. In my opinion. You made the right choice.
    Jason Bonilla likes this.
  15. Tanner5382

    Tanner5382 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Georgia, USA
    That maple and blue combo is definitely gorgeous.
    N4860 likes this.
  16. shnapper


    May 1, 2005
    Maybe stick to Hershey bars and potato chips as impulse buys in the future. Might make life a bit easier… :thumbsup:
    Jason Bonilla and bassface69 like this.
  17. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I mean you already have a Bongo, this thing ain't gonna be a revolution. Love it or list it. Or, return it...
  18. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Dude, that thing looks amazing! Regardless of the "working together" electronics. Just stick a switchable MM in it instead. Single, single, parallel on a switch. Then, you'll have a strat. Or a funky MM-ish bass with just the bucker and some eq. That how I ran my Tele. MM on a three way switch for each coil, ran parallel. I never used the bucker together with the other pickup. Same thing, it just didn't sound good together. But with the tapped switch, I essentially had a 60s jazz and a 70s jazz on one bass.

    Big Single in the neck, two big singles in the bridge. 20210828_145105.jpg

    I'd suggest a Delano FE/MC bucker. It's a splitable quad coil MM. So, each coil is noise canceling, and has a tad more mid quirk (like a Music Man should have). Also, it's got 3/8 poles like your other pickups, so it won't look out of place.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
    Jason Bonilla and bassface69 like this.
  19. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    Hey its impulse buyers like me keeping this economy going, you should be grateful ;):roflmao:
  20. Jason Bonilla

    Jason Bonilla Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2021
    thats the thing, it was supposed to be a revolution. It was supposed to take my life and flip the switch on everything I knew, but it lied, and now I'm left wondering what went wrong :sour:..... :p
    Lackey likes this.
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