Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by PiRaSSiC, Jan 30, 2016.
This. I have never seen one in the flesh. I never once had any desire to get near one either.
After 50+ years of playing and basically having owned every guitar I ever wanted to try this last year I got a '98 Nitefly and a 2008 Mojofly. I love them both and play them a lot. My hands are wearing out and they are easy to play and ergonomically just right. I have no problems to report. The Mojofly is Mahogany with Duncans and it will twang with a Fender. Good stuff.
The nitefly had a significantly chunkier neck. A more traditional guitar in every sense, yet with a definite "parker" feeling.
Never played one, but players I respect have.
Price was always a stumbling block for me.
I normally let stuff like this go, but this is a bit rude and presumptuous post.
I've owned over 350 guitars, many of which were certainly not traditional (I've always embraced unique materials and construction techniques) and played a few thousand shows from pubs to arenas and beyond for over 30 years.
I've also recorded a few thousand tracks in my own studios, as well as commercial studios in several states and played on a couple movie soundtracks. I managed a nice independent music store for a decade and also worked for one of the industry-leading music retailers.
I only say all that to make the point that I've personally evaluated/set up/demonstrated/used (in real-life situations) many thousands of guitars in my career. I feel that gives me some credibility in deciding which instruments speak to me.
I've also owned a few les Pauls and strats and teles that were quite unspectacular (soulless) in every way.
Perhaps I should have qualified my PERSONAL preference. I'm no trad-o-phile, but I do like instruments that have a voice. What distinct voice does a Fly have? nothing distinct that I perceived. It has nothing to do with the construction or design innovation, which I deeply appreciate and applaud. If you dig it, then great! Let it rip.
And yet I know techs who've had to do it, and were like "wtf....". YOU may not have had to refret yours, but I've known people who wore out a set of stainless frets in a handful of years, mostly because of playing on old-assed strings. It does happen.
Not on a Parker, the SS tangless frets are way harder than Jescar's stainless frets, totally different animal.
Nightmare is an accurate term for those frets. Not the word that gets used everyday, carelessly, without thought, but a genuine NIGHTMARE, the kind that makes you want to give up your profession as a guitar repairman.
The ribbon electronics are no picnic either.
Personally Parkers never did anything for me and the times I've heard them live they sounded like poo. I'm sure I could dial up some kind of decent sound if forced, but for whatever reason, I have yet to hear one live and not cringe. The ONLY reason I'm sad to see the factory go is that now there's no support or factory service option for owners.
is there a story link to confirm this? sort of sad about it, loved my nitefly when i had it....and a friend's actual parker classic that i got to play in 1997 i thought was an amazing guitar, feel and soundwise.
i loved the process that someone like ken parker did making these guitars and trying to rethink the design. but as he stated, being innovative isn't necessarily a great business model or mean success in business. i think he did a lot to challenge conventional thinking about guitars: the wood used, using non-traditional materials, the design.
i still love the era when reeves gabrels played his collaged parker with bowie:
I've only known one Parker. My nephew has it and it hasn't worked in years. It's really light and it looks cool.
Other than that, I've never known another person to have one, have never seen one played live and I've not seen one in a store.
I had a "Fly Vibrato Deluxe" around the time they first came out. There was nothing like it and it really was some spaceage tech. It was well constructed and perfectly manufactured. I had no complaints. I eventually sold it as my tastes changed and I needed money for other gear. I often wish I'd kept it in a closet somewhere. Truth be told, it wasn't the same company once Ken Parker left. Still a bummer.
I bought a Classic Fly in metallic "Root Beer" around 1997.
Still have it.
It is sad how few guitars that stray from the Gibson or Fender template ever gain much success. And this post kind of says it all for me. The vast majority of guitar buyers are deeply conservative when it comes to their choices these days. The early Hamers were basically Gibson copies. When they left that behind and produced fresh designs, sales stagnated, then Fender bought the company and killed production of all those great guitars. Some will say, "oh, they were overpriced". Really? USA made, custom shop quality guitars built with premium materials? How much would a comparable Gibson cost? No, the reason is very simple. Not enough rock gods played them. They weren't around back in the day so they don't grace the album covers of the mighty. And frankly folks, if the big names in rock didn't play them, somehow it also seems to guarantee they'll sound sterile and soulless.
This is just one example of how something different has a serious uphill battle. Now something like the Parker Fly; something that innovative and unconventional looking, has even less of a chance. The fact there are a lot of them out there is proof they had much to offer as a musical instrument. Also, they originally came out at a time when new designs were accepted a bit more. Now it seems the only place for an unconventional design to get any traction is at the low end. Build it in China or Korea and sell it for $500 to $700 and you may be able to move enough to keep the line going. But if you want to build quality guitars in the USA, the best chance of success is just to copy Fender and Gibson. And if you truly want to innovate, at least make it look like a Fender or Gibson. It's too bad really. What incentive is there for a forward thinking designer?
Kind of a side road to this topic:
Do a search and check out the one-of-a-kind acoustic archtops Ken Parker has been building since he sold the electric line. He is doing the same, or a more radical, redesign of the acoustic that he did with the Fly electric.
I only owned an older Nitefly, but didn't like the neck shape, flatish fingerboard & especially the pickups. The only thing I liked was the light weight, but just because I don't like them doesn't mean the loss of another U.S. manufacturer isn't a shame.
I like boutique brands and small builders like Grosh or Fano or Bartlett for instance who don't copy a Gibson or a Fender per se, but mix up things from these designs and come up with great stuff. What is a Fano RB6? Is it a tele, a Gibson..? No, it's a Fano. And the shape of a Les Paul is really more or less a 100% classic shape based on an acoustic guitar shape with a cutaway. A wheel doesn't have to be a square to be "modern" and inovative. It's either a good wheel or not... but they are all circular in shape!
I think the Parker design was fuelled by the 80's super strat hype.... and it was exactly these 80's designs that ruined Hamer if you ask me. They should've sticked with the "Gibson" models and not done asian guitars with a Hamer logo.
I will not miss Parker, but I do miss Hamer... they are probably my favorite guitars!
I've always lusted after a 90s Fly. Sad day.
Plenty of them out there. Some show up in the Emporium here from time to time.
That upper horn was not good design. Ouch.
Nobody sat down and mentioned it during development?
Guitar design does have forward movement.
More so than horns and pianos, no?
Plus we need more left handed violins and cellos to boot.
Do it once, it's a mistake; do it twice and you legitimize this
rigid traditional certainty perpetuated for centuries as faith.
US Music closing down US manufacturing: 'We met the enemy, and he is US'
I loved my Fly Deluxe. It was the best playing guitar I've ever owned. Some people hate the necks, but I loved mine. It played even better with sweaty gig hands. I traded it for a guitar I ended up hating. Dumb move.
My favorite comment about it was after a show when I guy came up to me and said, "DUDE, your guitar is metal as F**K!"