Price paid: $ 1300
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Features: 2010 Parker MAXXFLY (formerly Dragonfly) DF524
Made in the USA
22 stainless steel frets, ebony board with no inlays, alder body, maple neck, natural satin finish, Seymour Duncan humbucker Bridge (custom, basically a Korean made JB), two Seymour Duncan single coils in the neck and middle, Piezo pickups in the bridge.
Parker signature Bridge (based on the old Kahler design), but with strat-style springs instead of the Custom flat spring you see on the more expensive Parkers.
5-way blade, 1 volume, 1 tone (with coil tap for bridge), Piezo volume, 3-way toggle output selector (mag/mag+piezo/piezo)
Stereo output jack, so you can split mag/piezeo with included stereo cable
Sperzel locking tuners
Extremely light weight (5 pounds)
Included hard case, stereo cable, and allen wrenches galore // 10
Sound: This guitar has an awesome variety of sounds. You can play it through a clean channel with piezo as an acoustic guitar, or blend magnetic and Acoustic for a rich, almost twelve-string-like clean sound, or anywhere in between. The Bridge humbucker is plenty HOT for blues, metal, rock, or whatever, and it coil taps for twang. The neck is a super smooth, mellow pickup. The middle p'up by itself is somewhat lifeless, but does accentuate the others well in the B/M and N/M positions. The ebony board, stainless steel frets, and super lightweight body give it a brighter sound, but I've found plenty of great dark tones. When I use it for heavy riffing, I find the brightness gives a nice definition to the lower registers. Pinch harmonics seem to jump out of your hands. With the neck or neck+middle, I can get an awesome blues sound comparable to a Strat tone that sounds reminiscent of SRV, but unique a little brighter, a little more lively. I play funk, metal, rock, blues, and classical and I find it works well for any of those style. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The neck is thinner than I imagined it possible for a guitar neck to be, and wider than a Standard Strat. At first, I was a little weirded out by this, but I noticed that it actually improved my playing. I have always had a problem with tendonitis in my thumbs (DeQuervain's syndrome, if you're keeping score) and it has cleared up completely since I started playing the Parker. I used to consider myself a thick neck type of player, but the neck on the Parker had made a believer out of me. The factory setup on this guitar was nice and low, with some minor fret buzz because it was shipped in the middle of winter. A few quick tweaks was all it took to get it playing perfectly. I've never had a guitar that responded so well to small adjustments. A 1/8 or even 1/16 turn on the truss rod is all that was needed to make it sound perfect with no buzz. Very sensitive and very responsive. It came with what felt like heavy strings, but I think they were .09s. I put on .10s and tuned it down a half step from standard. I made a small adjustment to the Bridge strings and truss rod and it was perfect. The only flaw was the volume pot is slightly off-axis, so that the knob actually contacts the wood when you turn it. Otherwise, the frets, nut, tuners and Bridge were perfect and the pickups seemed to be properly adjusted. Parkers are famous for tuning stability in their bridge, but that is not true with their lower end lines. What gives them tuning stability is a special flat spring, but they have opted for Standard springs on the lower end guitars, so be aware that this model does not have that stability, and heavy trem work will knock it out of tune (slightly). // 9
Reliability & Durability: The strap buttons are nice and wide, but I replaced them with Dunlop locking tuners. The screw holding the horn button in is very short, and I had to cut down the Dunlop screw to fit. The button never felt like it would come out, but because of its placement, there isn't much biting into the wood. Probably something that should be checked if the guitar is going to be gigging. The rest of the hardware seems to be good quality. The neck and middle p'ups are bolted to the body, so they aren't going anywhere. The Bridge is held in by a plastic pickup ring, so it is probably more vulnerable. Most of the back of the guitar is covered with a plastic cover to contain the electronics. What's nice about that in terms of gigging is that it basically makes the guitar immune to buckle rash, since you don't contact the wood. // 9
Overall Impression: I have been playing for about 10 years. I started as an Acoustic player and transitioned to electric about 8 years ago. I enjoy blues, rock and metal and this guitar tackles all of those, in addition to having a really good and rich clean sound. On top of that, the wider neck and Piezo pickups allow me to easily play classical pieces on the guitar as well. It's not quite classical wide, but it is wider than a Strat, making those weird classical voicings much easier.
I like a good variety of sounds. What attracted me to Parker was the funky shape and the piezo pickups, in addition to the light weight and the positive reviews of the guitar as a good lead instrument. I've found it to be a very comfortable instrument with a wide variety of tones. I'm slightly disappointed by some of the quality issues, such as the off-axis volume knob and the fact that the DF524 does not have Parker's famous tuning stability, but it's a tradeoff in slightly lower quality parts for the sound quality of the higher-end Parkers. I would definitely like to own a DF824 or even a Deluxe Fly some day. This is a high-quality guitar that has really whetted my appetite for Parker. If this one were lost I would either buy a new one or even upgrade. I've played baritones, comparable Ibanez guitars, and lot of those twin humbucker rock and metal guitars, in addition to strats and the like. I like this guitar better than all of them. The DF524 might not be the pinnacle of Parker guitars, but it is a very fun, very cool guitar that turns heads. // 10