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Looking to buy a Parker Nitefly, but need help from those with experience


I am looking to purchase a Parker guitar.

I posted a few weeks ago about needing both Piezo and Electric guitar voicings, and I have decided to go Parker. For reasons of cost and versatility, and because I am a compulsive pickup swapper, I was thinking of a Parker Nitefly, with the pickguard (not the Nitefly M version.) The other reason I was going for one of these older, "original" models is that the fingerboard radius runs a compound 10"-13", a pleasant surprise given that I don't like flatter fingerboard radii (e.g., Godin).

There are not a lot of Parker Guitars around to demo, and I happened to be in Fraser, Michigan near Detroit, so I stopped in Huber and Breese Music there.

They had two Parkers of interest. The first was an import P40, which was HSS. I was quite disappointed. The action was high, and it really felt like a cheap import guitar. Neck radius on that model is 12", but it was not enjoyable to play at all.

So my first question is, how much better is a USA Parker Nitefly compared to one of the import versions?

A pleasant surprise was the Parker PDF 60 (import) in white, with the new Maxxfly design. It has a fingerboard radius of 14", which I thought would be too flat. However, this guitar played like a dream: great action, easy to play, good tone. That version has no piezo voicing, however.

So, now, do I go with a USA Nitefly HSS, as originally planned, or a PDF 85 or 105, both of which have the Piezo voicing.

I am also open to other suggestions.
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I would avoid a P series, that's usually the import series. They usually lack the stainless frets, Parker designed bridge, and composite exoskeleton. They aren't bad, they just usually don't have the features I associate with Parkers.

I have owned a few Parkers, including an early Nitefly IV, Parker Fly Classic, and PM10.

The late 90's Niteflys (versions 1-4) are my favorite. 1 and 3 had 3 single coils whereas 2 and 4 had a humbucker in the bridge (H-S-S). These earlier Niteflys had a passive Fishman piezo system, no batteries required. They had a stereo jack so a Y cable was needed to run your piezo and passive signals through separate amps. If you run a standard guitar cable then the output is passive pickups only. Piezo tends to work better in a bass/keyboard/PA or acoustic amp rather than a traditional electric guitar amp. These early Nitefly's had maple bodies and were probably the heaviest guitars Parker made, of course a "heavy" Parker is still light compared to other brands. ;) You can find these models between $500-800 used.

Later versions switched to an active piezo and included a switch for running both the piezo and passive signals in a "summed mono" signal. The Mayfly design allows you to hang the guitar (the original headstock was too narrow) and avoids the upper horn jabbing you if you slouch while playing.

I have tried many electric solid body guitars with piezo systems and found none of them "convincing". They should more like an acoustic but never quite replaced the real thing for me. The playability of USA Parkers made them my favorite brand for years even though I didn't use the piezo much. I sold my Nitefly recently but still own a Parker Fly Classic. That guitar is going nowhere. :)


Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Gold Supporting Member
Put a Graphtec Ghost Pizeo system on a guitar you already own and save a lot of money (find it in Stew Mac catalog). I have one on a Partscaster and it's every bit as good as any factory installed piezo system on a regular passive pickup guitar. Have a good tech install it and your still way ahead of the game. The best way is to use a stereo out and a mono-Y-cord, and send the piezo pickups to an acoustic guitar amp and the passive pickups to a regular electric guitar amp - use an AB-Y box. Done and done.


Silver Supporting Member
I have 2 late 90s Niteflys. I also had a P38 (also own my top 2 ever guitars, a 95 all gold Fly Deluxe and an 03 natural mahogany Fly Mojo).
The P38 was a Parker in shape only. Regular fulcrum bridge, nickel frets, all wood neck. OK, but not really any Parker magic.
The 2 actual Niteflies are great. Carbon clad basswood neck, Carbon fiber fretboard & PERFECT SS frets. The real magic is the necks & how they play; incredibly well. Both are right at 8 pounds. I have the active battery powered preamp for the piezo bridges. It is OK, but it is a piezo bridge. I never use it by itself but it adds fantastic shimmer blended with the magnetic pickups. Both mine are SSS. The stock DiMarzios were fair. I tried several pickups & found that Barden S-Deluxes are monstrous in them. I tired the Bardens in Strats & they were bright & harsh to me but they are so perfect in the Niteflys that I almost never pick up a Strat.

The all wood ones are barely Parkers, the Niteflys are 50 - 60% Parker goodness & the real Flys are all the way 100% amazing.

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