Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: American Musical
Sound — 9
The sound is incredible. The mahogany really has a nice earthy tone that gives great upper register and deep low end. This guitar screams versatility, so anything I want to play this axe can make the sound. I play through a Peavey Valveking 1 x 12 with an Electro-Harmonix #1 echo in the effects loop and a Dunlop Crybaby wah 535Q through input. The humbucking gives great rock tones on any gain level and is also very nice for Satriani-style shredding, a personal favorite. However to get Hendrix type attack and tone a simple pull of the center knob will change the humbuckers to single coils running in parallel, so theoretically no noise should be present. However there is more noise, but not nearly enough to cause concern. Runnng clean, the notes sing. Switching to peizo, the acoustical brightness really comes out. However I found there wasn't enough body to it, so I actually play through a cheap bass amp which sounds surprisingly amazing. The key is to run the amps so that you can Switch between them from the onboard 3 way peizo switch, allowing mags, mags and peizo, and peizo. There is a small Switch on the battery compartment that toggles between mono and stereo outputs. Until I figure out how to work this or get the money to buy the equipment, I'm fine just switching amps. The only thing I would do to improve the sound is replace the pickups with Duncans or DiMarzios, because let's face it the stocks aren't the best thing out there. Otherwise, the guitar does everything I want it to do and then some.
Overall Impression — 9
I play everything from blues to shred to jazz. I'm more than happy with the quality and versatility of this instrument. I don't know why more guitarists don't play parkers (aside from the style). If it was stolen, first I'd try to find the guy and kill him, but I'd absolutely buy another. The only thing I wish it had would be the "no pickup rings" look like the Flys do, because the cream rings are a little of an eyesore. I'll just get chrome equivalents. Bottom line, if you're thinking of this guitar, get it!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't gig often, but hands down this guitar will be good for many years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Upon receiving the guitar, I was thrilled how it felt and played. It was setup quite well, however some tinkering was needed, but Who cares? I like to set things up myself because ultimately I'm the one playing it, not Parker guitars. I did have one issue though. Every time I used the whammy bar the thing went horribly out of tune. I am used to playing with a Floyd Rose but I was barely touching it. Even worse, if the bar was pulled up a little, the bridge would stay there, and the tuning would stay up in pitch. Pressing it back down would return to the normal position but every string was out of tune. I promptly asked for advice and came across nut sauce, which is basically Teflon and graphite. I used it thinking the nut was a little too new and was rubbing on the strings. It did help a little. Eventually I realized every time I would bend, mainly on the G string, it would go out of tune. Turns out all the tuning pegs were loose. So I tightened them real good and there hasn't been a problem since. Very irritating though; you would think the peg would be fastened on well, but as long as the problem is fixed I'm ok. Again, aside from that everything else is perfect.
Features — 10
The Parker P-44 is what is called the "poor man's fly." Nevertheless, this guitar has many features that will satisfy even professionals. Unlike the Flys, the P series is assembled in Indonesia but setup in the US. This is a 22 fret bolt-on neck with Precision joint screws so it is very stable. The neck is made of curly maple with a rosewood (although others have ebony) fingerboard. The neck width is similar to a Gibson SG, not too thin, not too thick, just perfect. The headstock has 18:1 Grover tuners and a Graphtech nut. The body is solid mahogany in natural clear coat (also comes in trans red and black). Personally, I love the style. It's either you love it or you hate it. The body shape is a little different than the Flys however, but it is still very thin and comfortable. The bridge is a Wilkinson tremolo with peizo pickups for acoustic playing. There is a Fishman active stereo preamp but the Parker Stinger humbuckers are passive. There are plenty of controls, including volume, contour, push/pull coil tap, 3 way pickup selector, peizo volume, and 3 way peizo/mag blend Switch. Comes with a very nice gig bag and some basic tools.