Parker Guitar- the Light-Weight Guitar That Ruled The Roost
Has anyone ever heard of Parker Guitars? Parker Guitars was a guitar manufacturer of American origin. The mind behind this company was Ken Parker who started this venture in 1993 hence, the name Parker Guitars. Most guitarists would have heard of the beautiful guitar called Parker Fly. It was a Parker guitar product.
Masterminded by Ken Parker in 1993, Parker Guitars was acquired by U.S. Music Corporation in 2003. Jam Industries bought U.S. Music Corporation in 2009 with a factory at Illinois. On November 2016, this factory closed down and the Parker brand has been off the market since.
· Famous for being thin and extra-lightweight instruments.
· The wood used is generally lighter in nature like poplar, spruce, and mahogany and so forth. They are given a second coating of carbon-resin mix to reinforce the carved body and thin neck.
· Fingerboards are made of stainless steel
· Electronics – Coil Split humbucking, active circuitry integrated pickup (piezo) with single coil
· Vibrato Bridge, proprietary to Parker – Helps to maintain pitch
· Vibrato with 3 strings; locked, full floating and bend down only
· Offers both piez0 electric and magnetic pickups
Evolution over the years
1993 – Inception
2002 – 4- string Fly and 5-string fly bass models introduced
2003 – Original Fly model was re-invented with master controls for volume and tone
2010 – MaxxFly model was introduced with the headstock and more ergonomic/ traditional shape
The Parker Fly
The production of Fly brass bass guitars was initiated by Ken Parker in 2003. He introduced it in both 4-string and 5-string models. 5-string models were especially known to be easy to carry and transport. The string spacing was also just perfect! Both the models were produced in the original Wilmington factory. 4-string models had a unique 7 digit serial number which was continues even after U.S. Music Corporation acquired Parker Guitars. 5-string guitars had 6 digit serial numbers and started with the unique code of 092 marking the beginning of the two thousand eras.
In 2002, the Fly was completely re-invented with renewed vigor. It featured master controls for tone and volume via coil split technique. It also removed the process of separate controls to adjust magnetic and piezo pickups.
Few of the stylish Parker Fly Models are featured below;
· Fly Deluxe – It is the basic model made with poplar wood and has a bass neck. Pickups are Dimarzio.
· Fly Artist – Slightly advanced model with made of spruce wood. Neck remains the same, made of basswood and pickups continue to be Dimarzio.
· Fly Classic – Very much similar to the Fly Deluxe except for the body; the body is made of mahogany wood.
· Fly Mojo – Classy product with Seymour Duncan pickups and fully made of solid mahogany.
· Fly Supreme – Similar to Fly Deluxe, however, it has a glossy, shiny appearance due to the big maple leaf body.
· Nylon Fly – It is designed especially for guitar players who love the classic touch. Strings are made of nylon but say a strict no to magnetic pickups. It is also popularly known as The Spanish Fly.
· Nite Fly – Comes with a neck that can be bolted-on. One unique feature is that it is not made from a single type of wood, it's a cocktail product. It uses a combination of different kinds of wood and comes with multiple permutations and combinations for pickup.
· Adrian Belew version – Very much the Fly Deluxe; just comes with a pickup that allows synthesizer applications for the guitar.
· MIDI Fly – Latest or most recent model of Fly; constructed in similar lines as that of Nite Fly. This was majorly made and marketed between 1999 and 2002. It was a combination of digital and electronic guitar and featured an MIDI controller to control the guitar function as a whole.
Refined Fly was introduced shortly before the US Music Corporation acquired Parker Guitars. In this model, the Fly was designed to make the Fly production much simpler. It also had the hidden agenda of cost-cutting and optimizing the whole production process and raw materials used. The most notable change was the tension wheel; it was very useful in adjusting the spring tension within the guitar bridge. Other changes included a more accessible battery compartment, the elimination of the 3-way switch at the vibrato arm etc. One other major change was replacing the stereo button with a smart looking, slender switch. Also, as a cost-cutting measure, the harness used was nylon instead of ribbon wire.
Many more modifications were made to the original Fly model in the later years. Few special editions were introduced which came and went out of the market at the same pace. Few such special editions are mentioned below
· Parker SC
· Fly Bronze
· Vernon Reid model
· Nitefly classic
· Nitefly Mojo
· Nitefly Swamp Ash
· SC Mojo
While all these models were blockbuster hits when they were released, the users soon realized that they had basic flaws, were not long lasting, needed extra maintenance and in short, were not user-friendly at all.
The Parker Experience
The Parker guitar, when introduced created a boom in the market in1993. It was a dream come true to many who had always wished to play portable, lightweight guitars without compromising the quality of the music output. The Parker was all their dreams are more.
Parker was simply the best handy guitar in the market. It is known to stay in perfect tune. The size was definitely not the measure for this one. The digital sound had much more clarity. It was very refined. It had a unique crackle which simply added LIFE to your music. In short, The Parker was, is and will continue to be the "Best Portable and Efficient guitar" of all times.