Parker Guitars

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Parker Guitars
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1993; 26 years ago (1993)
FounderKen Parker
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, United States
bass guitar

Parker Guitars was an American manufacturer of electric guitars and basses, started by luthier Ken Parker in 1993. Parker Guitars is most famous for making the Parker Fly.

The original company was acquired by U.S. Music Corporation in 2003, which was itself sold to Jam Industries in August 2009. As of November 2016, the brand was inactive after the factory in Illinois was closed.

Products and History[edit]

Parker guitars are characterized as thin and ultra-lightweight instruments; they are generally made from lighter woods like poplar, basswood, and spruce, although there are maple and mahogany Flys. They have composite materials (resin and carbon glass skin) to reinforce a thin carved body and neck. Fingerboards are composite and use stainless steel frets. Electronics include the integrated use of coil split humbuckers, single coil and piezo pickups with active circuitry. The proprietary vibrato bridge uses a unique flat steel spring which helps the guitar to maintain the pitch. The vibrato has three settings; bend down only, full floating and locked.

In October 2002, Parker initiated the first production run of the Fly Bass bass guitar, in both 4-string and 5-string versions. The 5-strings were noted for their ease of use for 4-string players, both with respect to weight and string spacing. Parker 4-string basses produced in the original factory in Wilmington, MA shipped in 2003 and had seven digit serial numbers using the same formula for dating as the original NiteFly guitars while 5-string basses were shipped first and had six digit numbers that begin with 092 reflecting the 2002 manufacturing. Basses made by U.S. Music Corporation used the same seven digit formula continuing the 4-string serial number and dating. As with other Parker guitars, they offered both magnetic and piezoelectric pickups, with the ability to blend the two. The Fly Bass was discontinued in 2008 and Parker currently offers 4 and 5 string basses with the newer MaxxFly shape.

The last original Fly guitars, with the balance wheel on the face of the guitar and the four-knob layout, appeared in 2003. That same year, the Fly was "refined" with a new control layout, consisting of a master volume, a master tone (with coil-split function) and a master volume for the piezo, eliminating the separate volume control for the magnetic pickups and the piezo tone control. Numerous other changes were made as well.[example needed]

Several Special edition Flys were also introduced in later years. Major names in these were; the Fly Mojo Snakeskin, stock guitars covered in snakeskin; the "Four Seasons" Fly Mojos with thematically corresponding finishes; and a koa Fly Mojo released as part of the Select series.

In 2010, the MaxxFly model was introduced. Based on the Fly, the MaxxFly features a modified headstock (allowing the instrument to be hung a standard guitar wall hanger), a modified top horn (more ergonomically and traditionally shaped), standardized pickup cavities, 22 frets instead of 24, and a slightly thicker, heavier body. It shares the same general construction as the standard Fly.


Current and past Parker players include Adrian Belew, Todd Tamanend Clark, Johnny Clegg, Reeves Gabrels, Vernon Reid, Trent Reznor, Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain Of Salvation), Dave Martone, Joni Mitchell, Mark Farner, Robin Finck, Harvey Mandel, Danny Lohner & Aaron North (Nine Inch Nails), Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage), Dewa Budjana, and Deron Miller (CKY).

Last Known Production Model Line-Up[edit]

USA Models

  • Parker Fly Mojo
  • Parker Fly Deluxe
  • Parker Fly Classic
  • Parker MaxxFly DF824
  • Parker MaxxFly DF842

Parker Select Series:

  • Fly Artist
  • Fly Supreme

Radial Neck Joint USA models:

  • Parker MaxxFly DF1024
  • Parker MaxxFly DF724
  • Parker MaxxFly DF624
  • Parker MaxxFly DF524
  • Parker MaxxFly DF523

USA Nitefly Series:

  • Parker Nitefly RF722
  • Parker Nitefly RF622
  • Parker Nitefly RF522

PDF Radial Neck Joint Models (Models ending in 5 feature the Graph Tech Ghost piezo system):

  • Parker MaxxFly PDF105
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF100
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF85
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF80
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF70
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF60
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF35
  • Parker MaxxFly PDF30

New and Other Models:

  • Adrian Belew signature model DFAB842 MaxxFly
  • Vernon Reid signature model MaxxFly
  • Parker MaxxFly 4 & 5 String and fretless Basses

Legacy Models[edit]

  • Adam Dutkiewicz signature model MaxxFly (Discontinued)
  • Parker SC and SC Mojo- the single-cut version of the Fly, also known as the PM60 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-Series acoustics (Discontinued in 2009)
  • Parker P-Basses (Discontinued in 2009)

Parker Select Series:

  • Fly Bronze (Discontinued)
  • Fly Nylon (Spanish Fly)(Discontinued)

Bolt on USA models:

  • Parker Nitefly Classic (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker Nitefly Swamp Ash (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker Nitefly Mojo (Discontinued in 2010)


  • Parker P44 PRO (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P44 V (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-42 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-40 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-30 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-36 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker P-38 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker PM20PRO (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker PM24V (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker PM20 (Discontinued in 2010)
  • Parker PM10 (Discontinued in 2010)


External links[edit]