Price paid: A$ 480
Purchased from: USA
Sound — 7
I'm mainly 60-80's rock, blues, country, some light jazz. I'm no shredder but I use all the fretboard. When I test a guitar out, I plug it straight into my Marshall JCM 800 which I've had forever, with no effects. It sounded pretty good - 7/10. I could get some vintagey Strat and Tele sounds. The p-ups were clear all the way from top to bottom and not bad at all for ceramics. I then went through my simple effects rig of, Vintage Boss 10 band Equalizer, Vintage Tubescreamer (with the right chip), Roalnd RE501 Tape Space Echo, which improved it a lot. No noisier or quieter than normal SC pups.
I tend to be a neck-middle player, unless I can control the bridge tone. After I made some basic mods, ie swapped out the trem for a big block trem and brass saddles, bone nut, 10-46 string (gives more bite at the top end), fixed it for tone on the bridge and it was much better. Last but not least I swapped out Parker's "Stingers" for some Tonerider "Pure Vintage" and it was now easily as good as a USA made Strat for about $(AUS)800.00 all up. While I vamped it up to a 9/10 it was about 7/10 out of the box.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm an old rocker. Been playing since 1966, the year I turned 14, and I'm still giging - 50/50 mix of originals and covers. I've played mainly Fenders, Gibsons and Ibanezes, and I collect Japanese Vintage guitars of 1979 to 1982, made by Fujigen or Matsumoku.
So, forgetting the mods that I did, I thought it was great straight out of the box, and as it should be. Delight should not be followed with dissapointment and it wasn't, just more joy.
Out of the box, I'd rate it above an MIM Strat, and for the price of a 2nd hand one at that, which means the difference can be spent on vamping it up to suit your personal tastes. I came accross some Vintage Greco SC's from a "Super Sounds" at a good price recently, and now it is a truely awesome axe, in both looks and sound. I've since seen them under $(US)250.00, and because they are a great foundation to build on you can turn it into a top quality axe for a lot less than a top quality priced one. And like I said the before, the gig-bag is just brilliant. One small prob that other's elsewhere have alluded to is the upper bout/horn. It can dig into your body a little, causing some discomfort, but since I have bit of a middle-age spread it doesn't seem to be a problem. Out of the box I'd give it a 9/10. To bad they've been discontinued but they are still around.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I didn't gig with it untill I finished the mods, but the mods I hade had nothing to do with structure. It gigs well, and will last, so long as you take care of it as I do with all of my axes, but stuff happens. It'll handle the usual rough stuff, which is all one can expect. The neck fitting is great too, seems to produce a bit more sustain and reduce neck cracking down the track. As far as playing without a back-up, I did for years, but these days I don't because it looks unprofessional if something goes wrong. But I trust it enough to do that. The trick is to change your strings often. I change them once a week, so breakages are quite rare. Having said that there is one thing that does worry me and that's the way the bottom three strings are unprotected from bumps, so I'm a lot more watchful with this one that with my other Strats.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Well, I was impressed! This is how it should be. Just great. Tuned it up and played it and it felt great in the hand and pleasant acoustically and then through the amp. Intonation was SPOT on, which seems to be a bit of a rareity these days. I have a small chord progression I play that test's the intonation. Open "C", Open "G", Open "A", Open "D", and Open "E". If they all sound spot on your intonation is spot on. I'm not a great fan of jumbo frets because they introduce intonation problems, particularly in the lower frets. But these seemed just a little flatter, so that may have helped. I take my hat of the the person who fret dressed it, and those that set it up. I'd be proud if it was me. No probs at all, very well presented. Don't forget with "C" shaped necks you actually need the action a tad higher than on a shred type flatter neck, so your strings don't fret out when you bend them because of the extra curvature of the neck, particulaly higher up the fretboard.
Features — 8
Parker P-30, Strat clone, but with the Parker look. Made in Korea about 2008/9. Blue colour, solid poplar, one piece maple neck with maple cap. 22 med jumbo frets. The floating trem/bridge is typical Stat you find on a Squier or MIM Strat, thin block, just works, reasonable saddles though. SSS config with Parker's "Stinger" ceramic p-ups. 5-way selector, 1xV, 2xT, no tone on bridge. Tuners good (non locking). And the FREE Gig bag is just Brilliant!