HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Discussion about guitar playing from a diverse group of people with different tastes and levels of experience.
notes_norton
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HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 7th, 2010, 3:36 pm

This is a follow up to the post viewtopic.php?f=16&t=49836&start=15 (Ordered a $1,500 guitar and got a $5,600 one instead)

After the fiasco in this thread from the dealer who shipped the wrong guitar and then didn't have the right one --- I went to Funky Munky Music. Larry was very helpful and had Parker ship one directly to me (thanks Larry).

It's beautiful, and the pictures don't do it justice.

First of all it came in a serviceable case (definitely NOT a flight case)

Image

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Here is a picture of my first impression.
Notes:
1) This is the only picture that shows the color the way it really looks - I took it on a different day from the rest of the pictures, and not being a photographer, I don't know what I did differently
2) I put the little white markers on the knobs myself (automobile reflector tape)

Image

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A closeup of the body (see how faded the color looks? Again, I don't know what I did wrong - I'm a musician, not a photographer)

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The bridge (I can hear James Brown yelling "To the bridge -- to the bridge!" and the rhythm section accenting the climb)

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What good is guitar porn without a closeup of the knobs? (again, the tape markers are my own "improvement")

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Headstock

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This thing is both light and skinny!!!

Note: I "enlarged" the fret marker dots myself with some of the same tape that I put on the knobs. When the stage is either dark or brightly lit from the front, and I have my mouth on the microphone, I need to see the dots out of the corner of my eyes.

Image

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The backside

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Last one

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Ain't she a beaut?

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It's a dream to play. It's comfortable, well balanced, light weight, and I lowered the action so all it takes is a light touch.

So how does it sound?

Take all this into consideration ... I'm a pro musician, but since the 60s it's been predominantly sax. I've doubled on rhythm (barre chords) and bass using the instruments from my band-mates when there was no room for a sax. I also play with a Digitech RP355 direct into the PA set (I schlepp a sax, flute, guitar, 2 wind synths, PA set, speakers, another guitar for my partner, a tactile MIDI controller, and a rack full of synth modules. I'm not about to add a guitar amp). Also, I have only played a real Fly for about 15 minutes, so there is no way this is a comparison to that. My other guitars are a 1970 Gibson ES-330, a Epi Casino and an LTD-EC50 that I put GFS Mean 90 pickups and a Varitone in.

Positions 1 and 3 (neck and middle) sound Strat-like. Position 2 and 4 sound a little fatter. Position 5 in the humbucker mode sounds Gibson-ish. Position 4 with the humbucker in the SC tap sounds a little like a tele. And the Fishman sounds close enough to a real Flat-Top guitar to tickle my ears - it has the acoustic jangle that most pedal simulations miss. Mix the Piezo with the mag pups and it sounds like a flat top that has a magnetic pickup in the hole.

It's still new, I'm gigging with it, and still exploring the sounds I can get from it so the above isn't final.

The whammy bar does not put the guitar out of tune if you tune the guitar up, wiggle the bar, and then re-tune.

To summarize the review in two words, "I'm Delighted".

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by JoeHempel » December 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm

Wow, that thing is a work of art!

I love the natural wood style of guitars. Just wondering, what makes that a $5,600 guitar?
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notes_norton
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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 8th, 2010, 7:05 am

This isn't a $5,600 guitar, this one cost less than $1,400.

What makes this DragonFly Guitar worth $1400?
  1. Light weight body with radial neck joint so it sustains like something heavier
  2. 2 Duncan Single Coil pickups
  3. 1 Duncan Coil Tapping pickup
  4. 1 Fishman Piezo pickup (it really sounds like an acoustic flat top when this pickup is chosen)
  5. Ebony fretboard on maple neck
  6. Graph Tech nut
  7. Sperzel locking tuners
  8. Hardened Stainless Steel Frets
  9. Whammy bar that doesn't put the guitar out of tune when used
Another vendor sent me a $5,600 guitar by mistake (Mojo MIDI fly)and didn't have any more DragonFlys in stock when I called them. So they told me I could keep the $5,600 guitar. I wrote them a letter to verify that, and I'm waiting for a reply. If they want the Mojo back, all they have to do is pay the shipping. If I don't hear from them by January, it's mine.

I ended up buying the DragonFly from another vendor who had it shipped from the Parker factory to my house. The people who sent the wrong guitar told me they wouldn't have any more DragonFly guitars for at least 3 months.

So what makes the "other" guitar (Mojo MIDI fly) worth $5,600? I'm not sure but it does have
  • Innovative carbon fiber back, neck and fretboard. Supposedly this will never warp and never wear out
  • Two Duncan tapping humbuckers
  • Fishman piezo pickup
  • Roland MIDI pickup (these are expensive)
  • 4 pound weight
  • Stainless Steel Frets
It's truly a state-of-the-art, cutting edge guitar. So if the "other" vendor doesn't want the Mojo MIDI fly, I'll sell it and hopefully cover the cost of the DragonFly which I am keeping.

Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by TRGuitar » December 8th, 2010, 9:45 am

So then you don't like it? :lol: :lol: Don't beat yourself up about the pics. How many times do you read a review on a guitar that starts with "The finish dosen't look like it does in the picture"? I think you did a good job on them. I like your improvements. We are trying to get ourselves gigging (hack bar band) and keeping my place has been a concern. Even though I'm not a pro I have been playing for a long time and don't really need to look but it is a nice crutch to have. When I sing, sometimes it is a little bit of a challenge keeping track of where I am on the fretboard. I'm like, how will I do this in dim or bright lights? Seems like your new guitar is very versatile. I can see where you need that. As far as no amp goes I don't see that as a problem. If your playing music where speaker breakup is a big factor maybe but you guys don't look like you do alot of heavy metal. You actually are probably just eliminating something that is not a necessary link. (My rationale being that a monitor speaker and a speaker in a guitar amp are 2 different animals and if you really push a guitar amp speaker it breaks up) Good luck with the "extra" guitar thing.
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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by JoeHempel » December 8th, 2010, 11:42 pm

Very nice specs Notes! Hope it serves you well!
In Space, no one can hear me sing!

notes_norton
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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 9th, 2010, 7:08 am

Thanks Joe.

And TR, you are correct, we don't play any heavy metal.

We're middle aged people, we play to a middle aged crowd, so we play middle aged music, and we don't play it too loud.

I don't need to look at the fretboard for one or two fret jumps, but after that, if I don't look, chances are there will be some wrong notes being played. With the bigger dots, all I need is a quick glance.

Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by rparker » December 10th, 2010, 9:17 am

I thought I had posted something on this thread. Odd. Oh well. I was going to mention that I thought the pics all look pretty good.

Those Parker guitars always have a distinctive and sharp design. Very nice. I've been thinking about getting a piezo bridge at some point. Probably for one of my Epi LPs. I did play an Epi LP Ultra II that had some sort of sensor in the botom of the neck. Basic Piezo type sound. I enjoyed the sound, but I don't think it had the ringing out you mentioned some (or all?) simulators lack.

Anyhow, congrats again. I'm hoping your previously received Axe ends up being yours to keep and you end up with some profit. Artists need profit in any legal form they can get. :)
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by RoundI » December 10th, 2010, 10:53 am

Now I have new guitar envy!!

Both of those guitars are beatiful. Enjoy.

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 10th, 2010, 11:34 am

Thanks to you both!

Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by Staffan » December 21st, 2010, 12:00 am

Very nice guitar - congratulations! I actually don´t know if I´ve ever heard of - or seen - a "Parker Guitar" before? Strange, but there are many different guitar makers out there I guess.

I really like the wood-finish, looks like the guitar has a nice tone to it - and from your description - it apparently does :)

Hope it will serve you well!

Just one question: Weren´t you a bit nervous about ordering the guitar without having had a chance to play this particular example first, you know - to try it out and see that everything feels right about this particular guitar? I´ve sometimes come close to ordering a guitar online, but have never done it because of this.
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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 21st, 2010, 7:33 am

I've known about Parker guitars for years. They are innovative, state-of-the-art, and some think the logical evolution of the guitar. They are very high quality guitars that have grown past the "boutique" concept into a minor-major brand. The first time I ever heard one it was played by Joni Mitchell and I was amazed that this electric guitar could sound like an acoustic flat-top complete with the jangle that most simulators miss.

Their flagship guitar is the Fly. The Flys usually have a Fishman pickup on the bridge, and they have a carbon fiber back, neck, and fretboard. The carbon fiber gives extra strength and rigidity to the neck so it is resistant to bowing and/or warping, and the smoothness of the carbon fiber fretboard makes bending strings as easy as slicing warm butter. This is the guitar that Parker Purists believe is the logical evolution of the guitar, however, they are expensive.

The first Parker I ever played was my duo partners. We went to Sam Ash in Margate Florida looking for a new guitar for her. She is petite (115 pounds) so we didn't want anything too big and heavy. We played Gibsons, Fenders, Ibanez's, and a host of other guitars. The salesman pulled a Parker PM10 Hornet down, and we both immediately fell in love with it. The Hornet is a variation on the Les Paul theme, made in Korea, and at the time Parker's attempt at the normal guitar market. It has a mahogany body, Graph Tech nut, and an ebony fretboard. It's light but still has good sustain and it is so well built, you have to bring it outdoors in the bright light to see where the neck joins the body. The seam is smaller than a human hair and the grain almost matches. Plus, it sounds great and is very well balanced.

I have a 1970 Gibson ES330 and an Epiphone Casino. I bought the Casino to gig with since the Gibson is now a classic and worth a lot of money (I play sax, wind synth, guitar, flute, vocals, percussion controller and sometimes keys on stage, and switching instruments are an invitation for dings and scratches). The Casino is light, and sounds great but I got a weekly outdoor gig on a salt water lagoon about 1/4 mile from the Atlantic Ocean. I didn't want salt air inside the hollow body guitar corroding all the electronics so I modded an ESP/LTD/EC-50 that I got for almost nothing, and started gigging with that. The problem with it is that it's heavy, an I've had bursitis in my left shoulder since I was a teenager so I started looking for something lighter, and the first thing that came into my mind was Parker. They are famous for light weight guitars that sustain like much heavier axes.

Plus ... I've also always wanted a Strat-ish gutar, but I hate the short radius Fender neck. I know they do make one model with a 12" radius, but it has guaranteed to look ratty in the Florida climate gold hardware -- plus it's also heavy.

So I ordered the Parker DragonFly. It was built in the USA, has a radial neck joint (designed by Ken Parker himself and gets rave reviews), it has an ebony fretboard with stainless steel frets, it has a Graph Tech nut and Sperzel locking tuners, comes with the Duncan Pickups many strat players replace their stock pickups with (my Casino has Duncans and it sounds better than the "identical" Gibson), it's lightweight, has a SSH strat pickup configuration plus a Fishman so it can also sound like a flat-top acoustic. The on-line music retailer gave me free shipping and a 45 day satisfaction guarantee. So I figured the only thing I had to lose was return shipping, and the guitar is light. So I gave it a try.

This was the first time I've ever purchased a guitar on-line, and I would have much rather bought it from my local Mom and Pop music store (who gets the majority of all my business), but he couldn't get the Parker without becoming a Parker Dealer and he is too small to carry that much high end stock. I was a bit nervous, but the 45 day satisfaction guarantee helped. I'd know in less than a week if it was right or not.

I'm happy with the guitar and I made out OK on the mail-order experience but I still prefer to try these things out at a local guitar store first.

I've been playing it for a while now, and the more I get to know it, the more I like it. I can make it sound like a strat, gibson, almost a tele, it has a great jazz sound, and quite a few others hard to describe, especially when mixing a little of the Fishman pickup with the Magnetic pickup sounds. I'm not done exploring it.

IMHO this is the guitar that Fender or Gibson should be adding to their lines instead of simply making endless "signature" and "reliced" variations of their great old war-horses. But sometimes it takes a smaller company to push the technology further (Fender was a small company when it invented the Tele and Strat).

If you ever get a chance to play a Parker, you will know what I mean.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by Apache » December 22nd, 2010, 2:54 am

Wow - sounds like an amazing guitar HNGD :-)

PS - hope you get to keep the other one - fingers crossed for you.

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » December 22nd, 2010, 7:16 am

Thanks!!!

It's almost January, and I haven't heard from them yet. They were first informed on the 22nd of November, so it seems unlikely that they even care about the mistaken shipment.

If it works out well, I'll be able to sell the Mojo fly for enough to pay for the Mojo and the DragonFly in essence giving me a free guitar.

What could be better than that!!!!

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by notes_norton » February 3rd, 2011, 7:47 am

Well, I've finally decided to put the Mojo MIDI Fly up for sale. It's been over two months and I haven't heard from the retailer.

I've posted an ad on "The Swap Meet" board here:
viewtopic.php?uid=19006&f=34&t=50360&start=0

Image

More pictures here http://www.nortonmusic.com/parker_fly.html (warning, severe GAS zone).

I'm happy with the DragonFly, it has the pickup configuration I wanted and sounds great, I don't need another two pickup guitar, so the Mojo goes.

That's the follow up on this story.

Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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Re: HNGD Parker Dragonfly Pix and Review

Post by Liontable » February 3rd, 2011, 8:16 am

Damn it, I missed the warning. Really have GAS for that one, and if my summer vacation had passed I'd have bought it (student job). Screw shipping to Europe, it's still probably $1500 cheaper. Really nice guitar, and those pictures are too sexy to be shown in front of minors. Youtube gave me an idea of the sound: really congratulations to anyone owning that one.

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