Price paid: $ 999
Purchased from: American Musical Supply
Sound — 9
I'm playing through a Mesa/Boogie F-50 and various stompboxes. I play mostly fusion and classic rock, some metal, and blues. Cleans: Quickly noted is a tonal balance of the instrument. Warm lows and especially low-mids are present while highs have definition. Some high-mids are sacrificed in favor of the treble. It's easy to see why mahogany/maple top is the most popular wood combination. With coil tapping, a little sparkle is injected while volume drop off is noticeable but inherent in all tapped humbuckers. Surprisingly sustain is quite good for a guitar this thin. Notes ring out and taper off nicely. Jazz to classic rock to country are easily attainable. Gain: This is where the Parker really shines. A distinctive midrange hump is a lead player's bread an butter; this guitar cuts through the mix. With the Mesa, gain patterns are very emulative of John Petrucci's rig. A nice controlled Mark V type distortion but with attitude. The upper registers just sing and respond well to picking dynamics and harmonic content. Coil-tapping sounds very good in the middle and neck positions but twang gets lost in the bridge. Back off the volume and you get a Stratty sounding blues guitar. Crank up the gain and you have Dream Theater. A lot of the higher gain tone has to do with the amp itself, but this guitar absolutely plays a role. For comparison, another guitar made from maple and poplar had an entirely different tonal spectrum. This Duncans do a great job responding to dynamics. Gain can be high but playing can still be soft. Overall you get a wide palette of tones that will satisfy most. It does many styles, and does them well. Jack of all trades, master of some. Tone is subjective, but most would agree the Parker PDF100 sounds good.
Overall Impression — 9
Parker has taken form and function as a cornerstone in its guitars. The PDF100 is no exception. Ergonomic, versatile, and with great tones, the beauty is in its simplicity. Yet unique is a common adjective. Quite simply this is the most comfortable guitar I've played, only triumphed by the Fly's that started the evolution. What features it carries it uses them to the fullest.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Of the tiny bit written about these guitars, there have been a couple reports of poor quality control in the PDF60 and 70. There is no information available on the PDF80 and 100. Some issues were loose neck joints and poorly filed frets. I have not seen any of the these problems. In fact, build quality of this and other P-series import Parkers I've had or played have had overall better quality than other instruments in the price range. Frets are fitted perfectly, electronics are soldered well, the neck joint is nice and stable, and the finish is impeccable. No scratchy pots either. The only flaws are unpainted spots in between the large screws for the neck joint, which are are to see anyway. The guitar has gone from 100 degree heat to a cold air conditioned room and stayed perfectly in tune. I believe this guitar is road-worthy and made well. I haven't put it through it's paces yet, so as of now it will be rated a 7.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Usually when I get a new guitar I spend lots of time setting it up and learning everything about it. This time, I didn't need to. Action and intonation were set up perfectly; all it needed was a tuning. The finish is gorgeous. I got the black burst which has a cool greenish tinge on the quilt. The ebony fingerboard is nice and dark to match the paint job.
Features — 10
Parker has captured the essence of the Fly available for the masses. This was made in 2011, part of the new PDF series of Indonesian-made guitars. Body is the "Maxxfly" shape (although many, including I, rather refer to the "Dragonfly" name) with an updated upper horn. The result is a light, thin, and extremely ergonomic feel while retaining an unmistakably Parker design. The PDF100 is a mahogany with quilt maple veneer top, maple neck, and ebony fretboard. The neck is mated with the body in a Radial neck joint that minimizes slippage and provides excellent access to upper frets. The headstock has undergone a design change as well with a flared end that adds rigidity. As a result the neck profile has slimmed- reminiscent of Ibanez Wizard necks. Extremely playable and comfortable; the epitome of the term "like butter". The Parker vibrato system is a custom tremolo body that pivots on side bearings rather than knife edges. The rest is a normal spring system. Nevertheless, it stays in tune very well thanks to Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners and a Graphtech nut. Two Seymour Duncan humbuckers: and SH-1 (59') in the neck and TB-11 (Custom) in the bridge. Simple passive electronics with coil tapping, but has a large body cavity which is a modder's paradise. Comes with a padded gig bag.