Some of my band members and I are forming a covers band and I'm after a guitar for that role that's somewhat versatile and easy on the back for 3 hour gigs.
There are Parker Fly Deluxes that regularly go for about $1000 in Japan and I'm kinda tempted to get one. There's this one presently available for around that price and I like it as its a hard tail one.
The piezo and twin humbuckers seem ideal for doing the covers side of things. The light weight is also a big plus.
Now for the nitty gritty. What are they like as far as neck profiles? How easy is it to replace the pickups as I need something a bit more rock oriented? I've seen a few for sale where the frets have lifted in one or two places, how easy is it to reseat them given the fretboard material? Are there any issues or possible flaws to be on the lookout for?
I've been intrigued by them for a while now and I'm thinking the covers band is as good as any excuse to try one.
- Neck profile is VERY thin. Thinner than any guitar I've owned (including OG Wizard). My 1st gen ('93) is considerably thinner than my 2nd gen ('03) but both are still thin in both overall thickness and lack of shoulders that I don't think there's another guitar I can think of to compare it to.
- Pickups are difficult, though not impossible to replace. They ship with a TZ/AN or 'darker' TZ/AN combo... some later models had Seymour Duncans (JB and something else, I think?) but that appears to be an older model, based on the control layout. The obvious thing is that your replacements will need to have the tabs removed, the less obvious is that the baseplate needs to be the same 'roundness' as the bobbins to fit, and the pole spacing needs to match up with the original (or anchors re-drilled); I believe they're just 'F-spaced' normal p'up spacing... along with that, obviously that means you'll need "adjustable poles" on both the top and bottom rows (because that's what holds the pickups to the body). According to the manuals, you can custom order SDs and Dimarzios tweaked to fit the Parker route, but I haven't seen confirmation of that in recent years. YMMV
- Lifted frets are a big problem or a little problem depending on the situations. They do not have fret tangs, they're simply glued onto the fretboard using what's basically the same epoxy that's used to fasten a rear-view mirror to your wind shield. Some people have first year Parkers where the frets have never fallen off, some have had several of them fall off. If it doesn't spook you out too much, if they lift or come off, they can be glued back on with either epoxy or super-glue without much trouble. If you lose one, you're in rought shape but I've heard you can get replacements from Parker (US Music Corp.) directly, but I'm not entirely sure how the current lack of US production effects this ability.
- As far as flaw to look at, both of mine had finish cracks from fast hardening finish that cures very brittle and can crack in temperature/humidity changes. It hasn't effected their stability but it happens so it's worth mentioning. Also, occasionally, the bridge "leans" forward because the soft material that the body is made of can become elliptical around the bridge studs. Some guitars get it, most don't. From what I've heard, the bridge is still fairly stable but obviously it'd adversely effect the action, so you'd have to lower the action to compensate, or 'fill and drill' to fix it.
I think I hit all of the points.
EDIT: Oh, and the piezo system. Old one has ribbon cables, new ones have PTP. If an old one goes back, you're mostly SOL because they no longer make that board so you'll have to mcguyver in a replacement (which isn't too too bad, or that expensive actually). Newer system is easier to debug because of the PTP, and I believe replacement PCBs are available from Parker but I don't know what the price or availability is like.