US Music is shutting down Parker USA.

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11,144
^^^this!

I find them hideous.
My fault, I should have been more specific. IMO, it was only a matter of time before US Music shuttered the brand. They had no idea what to do with it from the start. This is just the inevitable ending. Which is sad, because Ken Parker is a true visionary.
 

monwobobbo

Member
Messages
6,066
always sad to see US guitars not being made any more. i've only played 2 Parkers over the years and found them to be high quality guitars. the feel etc wasn't for me though. saw a blues band a couple of years back with the guitar player playing one. not the first guitar i think of when playing blues but it sounded pretty good.
 

King Loudness

Member
Messages
952
now that's an outlier experience! what problems did you have with them?

the only failure i ever ran into was the rare occasion of a fret popping off the board, a nightmare because the frets were just stuck onto a flat board with glue, no tang slots or anything.
Well, I had two "refined" Deluxe models that ran into a whole host of problems that I've never had on any other instrument, which at this point the tally is close to 200.

1. The electronics malfunctioned on both models within a very short time (a month or two at least). This included piezo saddles going bad, switches going bad, and I believe even the volume and tone pots had some issues.

2. The hardware (tuners, bridge, pickup pole pieces even) oxidized and corroded to varying levels within a very short time on both of my guitars. I've never had issues with rust on any other instrument I've owned, unless it was already there when I acquired it; perhaps a used or vintage model. Given that I've never had this happen on another guitar even with heavy use, I can only chalk it up to some issue with the guitars I had and the metals used.

3. The frets ended up falling off at least one of mine, and by then the dealer where I bought the guitar had gone out of business and the Parker company/distributor was of no help, so we had to do the repair ourselves. I later traded the guitar (with full disclosure) to a friend who had the same thing happen. Last I heard it was traded into a GC somewhere in the States and good luck to whomever was the final purchaser...

Also, brownie points to the Canadian distributor for being nearly useless to work with. When it became obvious that my first instrument was defective, they did send the required parts to have it fixed, but after numerous part failures (within a year) I told them I wanted a new guitar. It took the dealer several months to procure one and it wasn't without major grievance on the distributor's part. I can't say that was mine or USM's problem specifically but it certainly added a lot of undue tension.

It's a shame, really. I loved the guitar for the weight, the playability, and the tonal variation, but I can't even look at one without remembering all that hassle. I was very young at the time and this was my first experience getting a "good" guitar (previous to this, I had almost entirely played used import model guitars). C'est la vie...

W.
 

9fingers

Supporting Member
Messages
7,367
I have 2 Ken Parker era Flys and they have ruined me for other guitars. It is certainly a matter of personal taste though. They have playability and clarity of tone that is unequalled for me, humbucker oomph with single coil clarity. As a designer I love the shape but it is certainly a departure form 50s designs.

It is very hard guitar to make properly. Ken Parker is a unique genius and I wouldn't envy anyone else trying to build a Fly "right". In an interview, he said that one of the reasons he sold the company is that he got tired of makning $10,000 guitars that he had to sell for $3,000.

I'm very glad a have a couple and I totally understand USM not wanting to try to live up the Ken Parker vision with them. It would be pretty impossible.
 

PiRaSSiC

Member
Messages
122
Well, I had two "refined" Deluxe models that ran into a whole host of problems that I've never had on any other instrument, which at this point the tally is close to 200.

It's a shame, really. I loved the guitar for the weight, the playability, and the tonal variation, but I can't even look at one without remembering all that hassle. I was very young at the time and this was my first experience getting a "good" guitar (previous to this, I had almost entirely played used import model guitars). C'est la vie...
This is exactly the kind of lacklustre management US Music put into the brand.
Why buying it in the first place if you can't put a vision in it?
 

PiRaSSiC

Member
Messages
122

JPIndustrie

Supporting Member
Messages
1,199
In my opinion, US Music just ruined the brand.
They did not pursue the original design (which I find to be the only real successful innovation to the guitar itself), they didn't improve on what Ken Parker did after he sold the company, they just cut costs with lackluster quality control and introduced a whole lot of new models with impossible to remember names, focusing on creating a series of lookalikes in a different (lower) league than the originals.

My two 97 Parkers are superb, ultra stable, fantastic playing instruments.

And by the way the upper horn never stabbed my chest :)
Exactly - another textbook example of bad business -

me too foreign-production based product marketing techniques and a failure to innovate and capitalize on their core brand led to this be a bomb in the making - these failings were probably more apparent during the shrinkage of years '08-10 and left them unable to recover..

I hope a lot of the executives there that moved on learned some lessons
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,488
From a certain perspective I kind of see the EBMM Majesty as the successor to the Fly. Lightweight, uber fret access, curvy, stainless frets, great magnetic and piezo sounds. Granted no composite materials. But having owned several Parkers before, the Majesty was not unfamiliar the first time I tried one out. And I didn't miss having my sternum punctured by that upper horn.
I made this same comparison to a friend who owns a Majesty. He added a Fly not long after that..lol.

I had an early Fly Deluxe (95-96?). Loved playing it, but couldn't deal with that horn.
 

mc5nrg

Supporting Member
Messages
9,809
Circa late 80s more or less, Korg and Parker had some sort of connection. When I was then working MI retail, our Korg rep, Ken C., talked up these new advanced guitars that were coming out with a projected price point of around $500.In the same general ballpark we sold Am Std stratocasters. That never quite materialized as predicted, probably because of production costs. Quite a contrast to the above info.

IIRC, US Music has ended USA production for other brands they have acquired.
 

PiRaSSiC

Member
Messages
122
Circa late 80s more or less, Korg and Parker had some sort of connection.
I think (but I may be wrong) that Korg kind of "backed" Parker financially because their guitar making process required specialized machinery that was very unusual at the time ... and still is I guess.
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,091
I hated the only one I ever played, but I am sad they are gone. I actually think they look super cool.
 




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