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Author Topic: Considering a used P-38... what should I know?  (Read 19758 times)

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:30:31 PM »
I'm a complete noob to Parker guitars.  I only know that I've loved the few that I've played over the years at guitar stores.

I found a local P-38 that plays very well but seems to have some electrical issues (corrosion?) and it seems a bit more complicated than the Ibanez electrics I'm used to.

I don't want to buy it simply because it plays well without knowing what I'm getting into, so what kind of stuff should I keep in mind when looking at it and negotiating on a price?

Thanks!
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 08:53:11 PM »
Let me clarify (sorry, I didn't see a way to edit my previous post).

Some of the electronics, like the pickup selector switch, looked a bit rusty.  Sometimes when I would change pickups the sound would cut out for a bit and I'd have to sweep the switch back and forth a few times before it came back in.

The saddles on the bridge also looked rusty.  Maybe "rusty" isn't the right word, but they didn't look new and shiny.

I did not know what all the knobs and switches did, but I just downloaded a manual (it's a 3 page .pdf file, I guess it's the manual?).  Apparently the small switch is a 3-way Piezo selector.  Some of the position of that switch reduced the volume by nearly 50%.  Is that normal?

What is the difference between "magnetic pickups" and "piezo pickups"?  This manual says that's what the switch controls.

All three pickups on it said "Parker" on them but I'm not sure what kind of pickups they are or if they're the stock pickups or what.

The action was great.  The feel was great.  I play mostly metal and I know Parkers aren't necessarily shredder's guitars but with fast and low action, they are very comfortable in my hands.

Anyway, I just want to have an idea with what I'm working with here, and I don't want to get into a situation where I buy something and then find out it needs work and it's going to be super expensive to repair it.
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ParkerP

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 07:35:34 PM »
Hi there!

Welcome to the forum.
Firstly let me say that, if the guitar price is good, then go for it.

The magnetic pickups switch will only get better and better after some use, but of course you can spray a little contact cleaner anyway.
Stock pickups are fairly good, nevertheless this is a guitar that will withstand any other, better pickups if you'll wish, anytime...

The piezo pickups are inside of the saddles which are rather matt than shiny, what you'll have to check is if there aren't any of them sounding significantly weaker than the rest of the set.
In the event that one needs replacement, they are available from Fishman, or sometimes in eBay at even lower prices.

The 3-way switch does allow you to chose from piezo (acoustic like sound), magnetic pickups, or a mix of both sounds in the mid position, the mix amount being defined by the knobs settings as explained in the instructions.
This guitar may have Mono or Stereo output, only depending on the type of jack you put in (Mono for the final mixed output or Stereo to process magnetic and piezo signals separately).

All the circuit depends on a 9V battery, which means that when its voltage is too low, sound output will become uncertain and bad, until the guitar will mute at all.
This is valid for the magnetic pickups when selected alone, too.

Last but not least, the first thing one should do in a forum, before placing a new topic containing this kind of questions, is to search a little about the subject.
Otherwise, what happens is one repeating endlessly what was already explained so many times, as I just did above...

Cheers, JPB
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 07:38:18 PM by ParkerP »

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 10:06:11 PM »
I went back to the store today to make an offer, but their sticker price was significantly higher than what I'm seeing them go for on eBay in the same condition.  I made them a few offers on the guitar, and as I was already buying some other stuff there I was hoping we could deal, but they were not interested.

As bummed as I was, I can't pay more for something than market value.  Maybe a little over market value to make up for not having to pay for shipping, but they weren't willing to budge at all.

I will check up on the guitar over time.  I don't think anyone else (who does their research first) will pay what they are asking for it, either.
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline sybersitizen

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2012, 12:57:11 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by ironfistx

I went back to the store today to make an offer, but their sticker price was significantly higher than what I'm seeing them go for on eBay in the same condition.

First, eBay is not the same as a brick-and-mortar store. Physical store owners have to pay for expenses like rent and utilities and insurance, so they can't sell things as cheaply and remain in business.

Second, few Parkers are ever seen in stores and not many people actually buy them that way. Even a new Parker can sit for years in a store waiting for somebody to finally come along and buy it.

So... by all means, go to eBay or a forum seller for the lowest price on a particular Parker that interests you, but with the understanding that you won't be able to handle and inspect the instrument first. That's exactly how many of us got our Parkers.

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 01:20:51 AM »
Oh, I know.  I would be hesitant to buy a guitar without playing it first, too.  I was willing to bend a little bit on the price but the store wouldn't budge at all.  We were about $100 apart, which for a used P-38 is actually a significant amount.

If he had the case I would've paid the amount he was asking.
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline Paul Marossy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 08:08:38 AM »
I wouldn't let $100 stop me from buying a guitar that I really wanted. It's like buying used cars. The dealer always charges more than a private party, for various reasons. But I would much rather buy something I can test drive first before I buy as opposed to buying something off of eBay which might have unknown or undisclosed problems.

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« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 08:09:39 AM by Paul Marossy »

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline billy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 09:12:05 AM »
Agree.  Especially if you consider shipping from an ebay deal.  Another $50 and the dealer might budge.  But don't run right back in or he'll know he's got you![}:)]
Billy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline Paul Marossy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 10:25:46 AM »
Good point about the shipping costs for a guitar when buying on ebay. That can easily cost $50.

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 10:56:49 AM »
Maybe I'll offer them what they're asking (out the door, no tax) if they throw in a gig bag.

I should wait a few days, right?  I'm not too familiar with haggling on the buyer side.

Why do used P-38s go for comparatively cheap?  This guitar plays better than some $800-1,000 guitars I tried.  Are they really like diamonds in the rough or is there something I don't know about?

Oh, here's my price data.  Tell me if this seems accurate:

On eBay:

- a used P-38 for $325 + $30 shipping, with original gig bag and tremolo bar, 0 bids
- a used P-38 for $450 + $36 shipping, with original gig bag and tremolo bar, 0 bids
- a used P-38 currently at $280 + $35 shipping, with gig bag and tremolo bar, and upgraded straplocks
- a used P-38 currently at $286 + $25 shipping, no info given about gig bag but the picture shows a tremolo bar
- a used P-38 sold for $315 + $30 shipping, no info given about gig bag, picture does not show tremolo bar, upgraded Seymour Duncan pickups
- a used P-38 sold for $172 + $40 shipping, no gig bag or tremolo, mentioned electronics problems and a crack in the neck finish
- a used P-38 sold for $227 + $35 shipping, no gig bag but tremolo is included.  Piezo pickup doesn't work on low E string, crack in the body that runs from one of the bridge pins to the bridge picup cavity

On Forums:

- I saw a new one that someone had bought but never played sell with its hardshell case for $370 (I'm considering this to be an exceptional value rather than a market standard, however)
- I saw one go for $220 ($289)
- I saw one go for $270 that had the pickups changed to the same ones used in American built Parker Fly models, so the Piezo functionality was gone

From this data I concluded that the store's asking price of $350 + tax, with no case or gig bag but with the whammy bar, a bit of buzz on the low E and A strings and electronics that cut out sometimes when I turned the volume knob, was too much.

What do you guys think?



 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline Paul Marossy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 11:14:08 AM »
I'm not in the market for a P-38, but if I were...

If it's in good shape with no problems, I'd probably go for it if they threw in a gig bag with the deal. The minor electronics problem wouldn't worry me because I can do all that stuff myself, but if I couldn't, it might also be a consideration.

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2012, 11:37:43 AM »
I'm not that good with electronics, and aren't the P-38s more complicated than a normal guitar due to the magnetic and piezo pickups?

Or maybe I'll buy it (if they throw in a gig bag) and have one of their techs fix it for me at no extra charge.

I just don't want to get it and then find out oh hey, it's gonna be another $100 to fix the electronics, or hey, you need this part but they don't make them anymore or something like that.
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline Paul Marossy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2012, 11:40:36 AM »
It's slightly more complex than your average guitar. The Fishman PowerChip is readily available, so that's not something to worry about too much.

What do you mean by the electronics cutting out? Is it the pickup switch? If so, that's a very easy fix.

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline ironfistx

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2012, 12:16:36 PM »
When I turn the volume knob sometimes the sound cuts out.  Sometimes when the volume knob is turned all the way up to the max the sound cuts out and I have to turn it back a couple degrees to get the sound to come back in.  Sometimes I have to press down on it to get the sound to come back.

Sometimes when it is in "blend" mode, the sound gets quieter (presumably because the magnetic half of the pickups are dropping out, same as above).

While I'm thinking about it, the metal circles in the middle of the pickups (there are 6 of them, one for each string, I don't know what they're called), some are higher than the others.  What I mean is some are flush with the top of the plastic casing and others stick up a few mm.  That seems to be the case on most of the P-38s I've seen pictures of, however, so I assume it's by design?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 12:18:37 PM by ironfistx »
 

Considering a used P-38... what should I know?

Offline Paul Marossy

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Considering a used P-38... what should I know?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2012, 12:42:39 PM »
Sounds like it's just a bad volume pot on the magnetic pickups.

The height of the pickup pole pieces on the single coils are probably staggered to even out the response on each string, like on the original Strat pickups. On the humbucker, they should all be individually adjustable with either an allen wrench or a standard screwdriver.

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