Parker Fly

Parker Fly

Guitar Gavel Lick Of The Week with Stevie K

The “up down lick”, sometimes you’re up and down. And it comes from down in your guts.

Stevie K gives us a series of bends in the Am box, squawkin’ that mean tele-shaped machine. Thank you Steve for your time, treasure, and talent!

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it."

Parker Guitars

Parker began selling the Fly model in 1993, two years after the company was formed by Ken Parker and Larry Fishman. The Larry Fishman of Fishman pickups.

The two met in 1984 and after years of swapping ideas about building a better guitar they finally decided to do something about it. 

The Fly’s most distinct feature is the thickness of the neck, basically it has the thinnest neck heel you can find.  Full access to all 24 frets with a uniform neck thickness was the main “pain point” Ken and Larry were trying to solve.

In order to create such a thin neck, after the neck is glued into the body, they wrap carbon fiber around the back of the body and epoxy it on.  It’s like an exoskeleton that makes for an extremely strong body which also allows for the body to be very thin. The fretboard is also carbon fiber and extremely thin so the stainless steel frets are glued in. The combination of the carbon fiber shell and carbon fiber fretboard made for a super-strong neck. Original Fly models did not have a truss rod, but one was added later to appease concerned skeptics that were reluctant to buy one.

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The odd looking horns are designed to create as much balance as possible. Wood selection for the body varied, but they are all wood including the neck. 

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Among the various controls, including a piezo pickup for acoustic sounds, there is a tension adjuster for the tremolo and a switch on the back of the guitar that locks the tremolo to make it a hardtail, floating, or dive only. Notice what looks like a slider-switch below the tremolo, that is actually a tuning wheel that adjusts the tension of the vibrato.

Ken left the business in 2004 after selling to U.S. Music Corp. JAM Industries bought U.S. Music in 2009. There were a number of changes to the Fly during the last ten years of production and the brand was shuttered in 2015.

Parker Guitars were all made in the USA during Ken’s tenure. The original factory was in Wilmington, MA and moved to a Chicago suburb after being sold to U.S. Music. The Ken Parker years of guitars are referred to as “pre-refined” after that they are referred to as “refined”. The pre-refined years are more sought after and a used Deluxe model in great condition from the 1990s sell for approximately $3,000-$3,500.

1993 Parker Fly Deluxe specs: Master volume, Magnetic volume and tone control, Fishman Piezo with volume and tone control, Pickup selector, Piezo pickup selector, DiMarzio humbuckers, Mono/stereo button. Weight is only 4.5 lbs!

For more in depth information on the Fly check out

1 comment

You know about the “one that got away”. Well this was the one I wish I had when I had the chance. The design was so out there and it seemed like the possibilities could be endless. Maybe I might be lucky and find one someday.

Thank you for this.

JP Pierre Moatti

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