The Dr Pickup Real Audio Files

Miss Parker - Stringkiller's Parker Fly guitar

In concert 1
A Parker Fly Deluxe hard tail (non vibrato) model.

Beverly Guitar Watkins & Dr Pickup Blues Band

Miss Parker can wail the blues Entire 1H15' concert in video
This performance was filmed 2-6-09 at the Charleston,SC Public Library.
The amp is a Fender Bassman

Background - why another guitar?

Every time I pickup a good Fender or Tom Anderson Telecaster / Stratocaster or a good Gibson Les Paul or ES 335 , I wonder why I need another guitar.
My wife also asks the question!

I guess I have a medium case of GAS. Guitar Aquisition syndrome.
Now one of the treatments Dr Pickup suggested was

1. Get one model of the best Fenders / Gibsons you need and then look at other guitars.
I mean at one stage I had 5 telecasters.
Don’t you think a rosewood neck and a maple neck Tele are so different? Well, better have both.

So now I have three Telecasters,

I have two Stratocasters.

I have two semi hollow body Gibsons.

I sold my Les Paul as I had an offer I could not refuse; the guitar would leave me walking with one shoulder six inches below the other - just kidding! And although voiced differently my PRS standard 24 does a good job even though it can't voice that rich middle lava of sound that a good Les Paul can vulcanise you with.

So why another guitar ?

Intro - Why is the Parker different?

Parker claims their Fly guitar is revolutionary -

The shape.

You either love it or hate it - to me it's more what does it feel like when you're playing? This guitar is great to play standing up and is so feather light (remember what else was described like this?) with the beautiful 24 fret neck it gets a 10 out of 10. Playing sitting down is 7/10, as the upper bout tends to dig in to the ribcage after a few hours.

Vibrato or no vibrato?

Please note this Parker Fly has a fixed bridge, which means there is no vibrato system. The bridge is also comfortable to lay your palm on. When I need that kind of effect I just pull down the strings behind the nut. You can see and hear me doing this on my Tom Anderson Hollow T in the Dr Pickup video.

Note that the radius of the bridge exactly matches that of the neck. This means that the Fly doesn't require the individual height adjustment devices that detract from tone and sustain.


The building materials make this guitar far less prone to moving around with the weather conditions. From what I understand the body is poplar (yet the 2002 specifications say Basswood) and is reinforced with graphite and the basswood neck is also reinforced by graphite and has a carbon/glass fingerboard.

This means that temperature changes don't faze this guitar. In the hot summer or cold winter with most other guitars you want them out of the truck or car in the club pronto and after 10 minutes I just open up the catches of the case and then 10 minutes later open the case. If you don't do this you will be encouraging checking on the guitars finish and getting unwanted movements of the woods.. With the Parker I leave it in the truck, pull it out and take it out of the case in the same minute.

This web site says it all

“Think of our lightweight tone wood and exoskeleton of high-modulus carbon and glass fibre as a new kind of wood. This patented structure allows us to sculpt a beautiful, lightweight guitar, optimised for its ability to respond to the string's vibrations.”

“It is constructed of lightweight carved wood body the back of which is reinforced with a high modulus carbon and glass fibre fabric, which is then baked under pressure to form a rigid, resonant body structure. This allows for a very thin and extremely lightweight guitar.“

As you will see when we look at my Parker in detail the way the guitar is built.
All this adds up to a very light guitar with a lot of sound options.

A note here on my particular Parker. I knew I wanted a non-vibrato model and in France there can't be more than 50 of these guitars in the whole country. So it took a little time but I finally found this guitar two years after trying it new and although being bowled over by it I had then decided I did not have the cash for it and also that the guitar was too way out. Two years later it turns up on the Lead Guitars web site at a reasonable price.There was only one problem - the cracks around the bass side of the this Parker Fly neck body join. If this had been any other guitar I would not have even considered buying it (unless it was going straight to my guitar builder/repairman) but after a good examination with Sebastien of Lead Guitars we came to the conclusion it would not move any further and was more cosmetic than structural. I took some pictures of the crack straight away so I can check it is not moving. So far so good ;-)

What's your opinion?

I have heard you can put this guitar between two chairs and stand on it, I won't be trying that but the different design and materials used make this a very sturdy and solid guitar.

The Colour

Parker calls this colour Heather Grey. The finish is first class. Note when I was looking at the Parker web site the new Silver Stealth finish which I have seen is rather cool.

The Pickups.

With this guitar you possibility of having the peizo saddle transducer (pickup) (that's the one in the bridge like on acoustic guitars) running to one sound source (sound system) and the other two electric Di Marzio humbuckers to a guitar amplifier and blending the signals together.

Note that active Fishman system adds a tone control in the form of an outer ring around the peizo's volume control.

Alternative Seymour Duncan pickups

Question - Why not buy the Fishman Strat/Tele or ABR 1 piezo bridge and change it on your Gibson and Fenders?

The pickup kit is advertised as being easy to put in (haha sounds like the Bill Gates Plug and weep stuff) and one of the tone switches can be made push pull to control the peizo pickup. The problem is where to start - my Teles and Starts are set up just the way I like them and I am loath to change anything. But I am toying with the idea of converting my SRV Stratocaster - I'll have to check out that these Fishman transducers fit into the upside Vibrato block OK.


This guitar weighs 5.5 pounds and after a 4 or 6-hour session you are left standing fresh and straight backed and ready to move. Combine that with the super 24 fret neck this guitar is very easy to play.

The tuning pegs.

The tuners on this guitar are Sperzel locking tuners. As you can imagine Stringkiller loves this system, when you break a string it is easy to get the broken string out of the through body bridge unit. You then thread your string through the bridge and then unlock the screw under the tuner, slide the string through and tighten the screw, turn the string a quarter turn and you're ready to boogie. My PRS has the same kind of system and it's really handy. These kind of details add to the price of the guitar but are well worth the extra cost. There is also a fanatical detail to really make this a new standard of guitar by Parker, I have the impression the design team (just as with the birth of other classic guitars mentioned here) got a lot of player feedback. Look at the easy access to the truss rod, the access to the battery; the sounds and controls for the acoustic guitar and for the electric guitar, the cutaway and real ease of access to the high 24 fret neck.

The neck.

What can one say - it is stable, wide thin type of neck, notes ring out all over the neck unlike a lot of guitars of all price ranges, which have more dead spots than live ones. Ever get frustrated because your guitar only feedback on certain notes on the neck? The standard adjustment is a very low action of .070 on the bass side and .050 on the treble side, measured at the twelfth fret. The Parker Fly has hardened stainless steel frets bonded to a glass and carbon fibre fretboard. What a neck, you can get very precise in your bending and harmonic work. Playing a chord and then while fretting with your left hand and using your right hand to pluck the chord at the mid point between the fretted note and the bridge you can get some great chimes and harmonics out of this guitar (coming out of your blended sound system and your electric guitar amplifier).

The gig bag.

This gig bag is well designed to protect the guitar, with a decent sized pocket, and three ways of holding it - by the handle like a regular guitar case, with one or two of the shoulder straps like a backpack or with a neat central handle that means you can pick it up with one hand. When I'm in a rush to get to a rehearsal where I might need a Fender single coil sound, a good humbucking sound and or an acoustic guitar inevitably I grab the Parker and I'm ready to go even with this gig bag as I can just put my tuner and overdrive pedal in it. My other guitars hate Miss Parker ;-(
Also travelling with Miss Parker is a treat, I have no differences of opinion with any airline and because it is so light even my kids will carry a while without moaning.


Acoustic guitars need a really good sound system. Through my small 150 watt per channel
Carlsboro sound system the acoustic part of the Parker Fly sounds OK, though the little distortion that creeps in once the system is cranked is not what I want from an acoustic. When played through the bands main sound system a Sound craft Spirit 600 the acoustic sound of this guitar is stunning. People ask where's the acoustic guitarist sitting? So try the acoustic guitar part of the Parker Fly through a good sound system, you'll be amazed.

Note that the Parker is equipped with a Piezo Balance Control, so if one signal is louder than the other you can change this by removing the control cover, adjusting the small, white knob mounted on the circuit board. This trim pot controls the gain (output) of the Piezo pickup.

Di Marzio and Fishman specially voice the electric pickups for this guitar. On the Di Marzio electric guitar pickups both the inside coils is single coil mode (and sounds great) and two hum buckers full hum bucker mode. I have always found Di Marzio pickups to be a little too compressed and voiced for Hard Rock, these ones are Ok and also well balanced. In the middle position you get a good single coil sound and flicking to the neck pick up a nice rounded hollow bodied sound that can kick ass as any good neck humbucker should do. Flicking to the bridge pickup gives you a good lead humbucker which does not end up screeching like some screaming banshee but cuts right into the middle of the band's mix. Sweet midrange and singing upper tones with overall warmth is a good way of describing the sound. Others feel there is a lack of bottom or balls in these pickups, if that's the case visit Ed Roman's web site for alternative Seymour Duncan pickups for Parker Fly guitars
Note the Ebay scam rant part of the web site too.

However if you don't like Di Marzios or the sound they make Click here.
I use Mesa Boogie Subway, Laney AC 30 with two 10-inch speakers, a Fender Bassman RI and a Boogie Mark 4 with this guitar and it delivers and then some. I'd like to try this Parker through a Marshall DV 2000 triple lead.

As mentioned in my Gig bag three article Dr Pickup is now playing small clubs through our Spirit Soundcraft and Yorkville speakers and no guitar amps. I use a Fulltone pedal for the electric signal and then go into the Soundcraft. This guitar with the two separate guitar signals gives the sound of the trio more depth at low volumes.

A word on acoustic guitar amplifiers - My recommendation is skip them and get yourself a good sound system - that way you can have two acoustics, maybe even a bass and voices all going through the same system. My criticism of the Electro acoustic guitar amps is they might sound good in the store but on the bandstand they don't have the throw (your sound gets lost), the volume (turn them up and they flatten out or start distorting and your acoustic is lost in the mix. Sure you can run a line out to the sound system but if you've got the sound system why have another amplifier to carry and set up? Just get the sound system.

Here’s an interesting site on the subject.
I can get a good electrified acoustic sound through my Mesa Boogie Subway, my Laney AC30 (a different model from Eric’s) or my Fender Bassman (with a little help from a Fender RI reverb unit).

To conclude on amplifying this guitar - I'd suggest that you pinpoint the sounds you want acoustically,then go through all the amplifiers and sound systems you can, preferably live with a band until you identify what helps you get there and then work from that. I just want it to sound like a well balanced acoustic guitar. Electrically this is a little more standard - just like another electric guitar so plug and play. I would not recommend taking this straight away to your acoustic/electro acoustic gig.
I did that with Eric, my acoustic blues partner. I plugged it to my small sound system and had not spent any time on setting the volumes and equalising (always important but essential with acoustics) and was back on my Taylor in the same set.

I also had the same experience with my Stirling my Brit rock acoustic partner. He has a nice Mackie sound system, but to get the sound you want you have to sit down and learn the system and experiment to get your sound. In passing I'm amazed at how many musicians I play with who just leave the sound system up to whichever band member owns it or to the sound “guy”. I guess I would not have this problem if we had a soundman or sound woman running the system but we don't, so it is wothwhile getting the manuals out and learn how to use the mix board and routing possibilities to deliver what you want.

Battery life.

From the Parker Fly manual
The battery provides power to the on-board Piezo preamp, makes the Fishman Piezo system active and also powers the internal mixer. The battery has a work life of approximately 100 hours. It's turned on when a cable is plugged into the guitar. To extend battery life, please remember to remove the plug when you're not playing your guitar.

The battery status light is on the control cover. When the battery is good, this red LED flashes for an instant when the guitar is plugged in. When the battery is low, the light will glow continuously while plugged in. You then have approximately two hours of battery life left. Finally, a distorted output signal or a high-pitched whistle will serve as an audio reminder that the battery is dead.



When I got Miss Parker she was in D'Addarios (though not the ones she came from the factory with) - These were good slightly bright sounding strings. I then tried Ernie Ball, which is my main electric guitar string and they sounded fine. Through Taylor guitars recommending Elixir strings, I note that Tom Anderson does too, I put in Elixirs electrics and the differences are enormous - there is so much more depth to the sound, the notes ring very clear, the strings bend OK and they last a long long time. Everybody keeps asking - Have you just put new strings on as that guitar sounds so sparkling clear?
Would you drive your Ferrari with retreads?

Stringkiller's Conclusion.

Well done Mr Parker and the Parker Fly team, you exceeded yourselves by building a great all round guitar with the advantage of having different sounds - electric and acoustic and the stability of your new construction methods and materials gives a player a very lightweight guitar with a great palette of sounds. This guitar is pleasure to play all night long, and from the feedback we get great to listen to ;-)

I can see that when a really innovative new product comes along many guitarists, who I'm sure would consider themselves open-minded people, just can't handle it. Try it (maybe a couple of times spaced out over a period of time) and use your ears while playing and I think you might find yourself a great main guitar or very different one to most of the Fenders and Gibsons in your collection. Also if you are having to take an Electric and an Electroacoustic to gigs and rehearsals you'll find this guitar very practical to get the sounds you want, all from one package into various amplifiers or at least a sound system and a guitar amp.

Web sites featuring Stringkiller's Parker Fly

Manufacturer links

Parker Guitars
Parker Fly Manual On-Line
Alternative Seymour Duncan pickups
Article from Guitar Player Magazine
March 1997 Issue

Miss Parker - Stringkiller's Parker Fly guitar picture site

Other interesting links

Welcome to Scott's PA system Tutorial.

To contact Dr Pickup
Telephone 01 47 08 12 12

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