Rare  1984 Electra Westone X185 Blue Burst Tone Machine

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The Electra Westone Phoenix X185 in 1984 was very much the working man’s Super-Strat…

The X185 sold for considerably less than the high dollar more well known guitars of the day. However, X185 Phoenix was extremely popular back in the day, after all, these were the Van Halen Years and Kramer was the best-selling guitar brand in America. The vast majority of the X185s I see are the Guards Red X185R, with heavy fretwear and dings, dents, abrasions and contusions all over. Not this one… this one is the coveted Blue Burst and dings on this guitar are almost nonexistent.

In 1975, Tom Presley was hired as Electra Guitars product manager. His vision included guitars with innovative switching combinations of pickups and onboard guitar effects.The X185 marked the debut of Tom Presley’s H-S-H wiring plan, the result of his work in the 60’s on experimental wiring. It combined the very best of different kinds of pickups to produce a remarkably versatile tone machine. Best of all, the controls were intuitive, allowing the guitarist to randomly experiment or to very deliberately shape a tone into an artistic musical statement. Other guitar companies, like Ibanez, have also tried to master the H-S-H guitar, but none have managed to perfect this particular configuration before or since.

The full potential of the H-S-H is made possible by innovative unbalanced coil pickups that Tom developed in concert with Matsumoku technicians in Japan. Normal humbuckers have a pair of equal coils, and coil tapping one out leaves a single remaining coil that isn’t very much like the rich overtones of a strat or tele single coil, it’s just thin.

The new MMK45 pickups that were included in all the Electra Phoenix guitars have a pair of coils with different cores, magnets, and windings. One coil is wound for rich high frequencies, the other for lower response. The effect is akin to upgrading from a single stereo speaker to a woofer and tweeter- both ends were better represented.

By using MMK45 humbuckers that coil tap this way, the H-S-H plan spans a wide tonal range that includes those traditionally held by Telecaster and Les Paul players. This is activated by pulling out the volume knob.

The second knob activates the center pickup, which is a strat-like single coil pickup that adds the rich piano-like overtones of an overwound single coil. Add that to any of the other combinations and you spanned the tonal range traditionally held by strat players.

Finally, the third knob, which was also the bridge tone knob, pulls out to reverse the phase of the bridge pickup. This was a sound that had suddenly become popular in the 80’s pop radio- think Joe Walsh- although it was a wiring trick that other greats had used.

No doubt Electra Westone was far ahead of their time.

This Phoenix sports s bolt-on neck, double cutaway maple body, a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hardware, graphite nut and Tekglide (vintage style) bridge, two MMK45 humbuckers, one single-coil pickup with three pull-switch knobs (V-T-T) for coil tap, fat (center on) and phase; and 3-way selector switch.

This example is in outstanding condition with a few minor chips on the headstock. Also, the small electronics cover for the three-way switch has been replaced. That’s it…

Comes in the original very nice case.

Shipping quoted is to you in the CONUS.

Thanks to River City Amps of most of this information.

Product Specs

Excellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
Brand Westone/Electra
Model X185
Finish Blue Burst
Categories Solid Body
Year 1984
Made In Korea, Republic of

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Mystic Guitar

Old Mystic, CT, United States
Joined: Dec 2013

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