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Author Topic: Dragonfly DF624  (Read 1834 times)

Offline StevieT

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Dragonfly DF624
« on: April 05, 2015, 06:35:26 AM »
Hi! New to the forum from sunny (!) UK.
I got a Root Beer Dragonfly S/H off Flea Bay a while ago. Already own an original Fly Deluxe from 2000 and absolutely adore it - the Dragonfly is supposed to be a second guitar on the stage.
Parker's are quite difficult to get hold of here as there's no UK shop selling them new.
As a guitar, the Dragonfly feels and plays beautifully - very similar to the Fly, in fact, but with a really nice 'woody' feel to it.
For my playing, the Parker neck profile is just perfect.
However, electrically it's not so good! When I first got it I had the jack socket changed, as it was very noisy. This works fine now (although I have to use different cabling to the Fly- it doesn't like the XLR fitting I put on the piezo end of my original cable so I can go straight to PA with that channel, maybe an earthing issue?) but to be honest it's much more effective going mono, which is a bit of a disappointment.
My normal stage (ie corner of the pub!) rig is a Boss GT100 running into a TC Electronics RH750 Bass amp and RS210 cab, which packs a huge punch and has incredible clarity. I don't know of anyone else using this set-up. Not in the UK anyway. Nobody daft enough, perhaps..
The thing is, when I swap between different patches on the GT100 the Dragonfly doesn't seem to respond in the same way as the Fly, and it's hard to predict what it's going to do next.
For example, I have several pairs of adjacent patches with a clean and overdriven sound. If, with the Fly, switching to overdrive boosts the overall volume as well (which it usually needs to) sometimes, with the Dragonfly, it just drops away.
I know some of Boss' presets are hugely over the top and need backing off, which I've largely done, and that some are voiced specifically for H/B, S/C or either. I've started with patches that are designed for either for that reason and, at home or in the cans, they all seem fine.
However, at stage volume and in the mix with the band, the Dragonfly just doesn't 'do it'. If I pick it up during a gig the band all politely ask me to put it down again (sigh!)
I don't think it's as simple as the difference between H/B and S/C as I sometimes us my Fender US Strat and that's fine -no adjustments necessary.
My next job is to duplicate the selection of patches I made to another place on the GT100, adjusting their balance individually, to see if that works.
Of course, I'm still looking for a reason!
As everything else seems to do exactly what it's supposed to do, my attention has been drawn to the pickups. The configuration, tap and switching all seem standard but the pickup covers are blank. All the Seymour Duncans I've seen have the logo on the front, including on here in the catalogue section and on Seymour Duncan's website.
This instrument was only made in 2010, so is it possible a former owner has swapped them out for something else? I can't really tell looking inside, it all seems normal.
They seem quite well balanced between themselves, with a good increase in power as you kick in the H/B with the coil tap, but it just doesn't sound very good compared to the others and I wasn't looking for a Squier Tele!
Before I a) relist it on Flea Bay or b) spend more cash on a set of Seymour Duncans I might not need, any ideas, please?

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline jester700

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2015, 08:44:45 PM »
The pups should definitely be branded; all my Parkers are. But it's odd that you say they react to switching the way you'd expect but NOT through your stage rig? I mean, even the cheapest generic pickups should act "normally" as you mention.

And odder yet - clicking on an overdrive patch should increase gain for ANYTHING you put through it. I can't imagine a scenario where the volume would drop off. Are you sure this isn't an intermittent problem that you just only noticed through your stage setup? I mean, maybe the wiring is dodgy and it's cutting out sporadically?
 

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline StevieT

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 05:37:15 AM »
Hi Jester, thanks for your reply.
I'm pretty sure the stage rig is OK - it works fine with my Fly Deluxe and Strat (twice this weekend already!)
I spent a while tweaking my presets on the GT100 and got some great sounds (generally by backing off distortions, compression, delays etc rather than increasing them!) which sounded great.
Still sounds far inferior with the Dragonfly, though...
I didn't mention before that I couldn't use my original Y-lead, with the XLR on the piezo side, even before I had the jack socket changed, so I'm sure that hasn't caused the problem. The Tech here: www.caguitarworks.co.uk checked all the circuitry and said he couldn't see any other abnormalities. I had been using a new lead, that I bought from him, the same as the one Parker issue with the instruments now I think, and while there are no nasty noises the issues remain.
I can't see how anything else can be at fault other than the guitar, that's my problem, because I think I've ruled out the rest of the 'chain'.
I bought the GT100 to replace a GT10 for this reason (it was getting a bit beaten up anyway!) and it's taken me a couple of months to get as far as joining the forum and asking the question!
I know the single coils and HB's are supposed to be different! but this is the first time I've come across a disparity this big.
Yes, you're right about the overdrive settings. With the GT100 there are several factory presets which contain a clean & overdriven sound within the same patch (ie adding the OD to the same sound) and it even happens with those. It makes the set up unpredictable and I end up just not using the guitar on stage.
At home I use a fantastic little 1w Blackstar valve practice amp and I always reach for the Dragonfly first because it feels so great to play, and it sounds a lot better through that without any FX or anything, but then there's no switching between sounds with that so you can't really hear a problem.
I think my line of reasoning is leading me to either:
a) spend £250 on pickups that might be the same  :-\ or
b) sell it on Flea Bay and get myself that DF824 I wanted to buy in the first place.... :P
What do you reckon?

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline lucgravely

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 08:02:57 AM »
The electronics aren't going to be different on the DF824.  My first guess would be the preamp. Since all Parker guitars with piezo run the passive pickups thru the preamp, this would be the first place I looked. the DF preamp would be different than your Fly as they have changed over the years.

Questions to ask;
1) Does the Fly have the original preamp?
2) What is it?
3) Does the DF have the original preamp?
4) Which is it?
5) Have either preamp been bypassed?
6) Do you use the piezo?
7) If yes do you blend the piezo with the mags any?
8) Maybe try a buffer or buffered pedal to "decouple" your guitars from the effects processor. This shouldn't technically work since your GT is buffered and if you are stock wired your guitar has a buffered output as well... but maybe worth a shot.
Luc Gravely
Parker Fly Mojo Singlecut
Parker NiteFly NV1
Mesa/Boogie Mark I
1966 Fender BandMaster
A few pedals...

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline StevieT

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 08:30:56 AM »
Hi Luc, thanks for your reply.
I know the Fly is all original 'cause I've owned it from new (Made Jan 2000). It's a Ken Parker model, with the older style flat tape wiring and the only person who has taken the back off is me - to change the trem spring and replace a battery connector in 2001 (pulled it off oops!), The only other issue it's ever had is a new nut (twice in 15 years not bad eh?)
Gigged it twice a week ever since!
The Dragonfly I haven't actually seen inside yet as the Tech did the work for me in my absence but he states he trained under Ken Parker and is the only guy in the UK who does. Also he happens to be only 20 miles up the road. He assured me everything was standard and wired normally so I took his word for it. Everything seems to be wired through the preamp because the whole thing dies with the battery and comes alive with a new one.
I use the piezo a lot on the Fly - running to the PA with no FX usually, though I did try a little chorus on it once - so it doesn't get blended as such really except practicing. I wanted a second guitar that can do exactly what the Fly does so I can do a quick stage swap if I need to but it's been disappointing so far.
I've just been playing it through the little Blackstar - swapping with the Fly, both on back pickup, same amp setting, and it's honestly really, really hard to tell between them at home volume. I'm still confused!
To be honest I don't want to spend £2k on an 824 if I don't need to but I can't justify an instrument that's just an ornament right now - it needs to earn it's keep!

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline lucgravely

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 01:33:19 PM »
I really think it must be the difference in preamps reacting to your GT100. The quickest thing to try would be to have the mags bypass the preamp and see if that helps at all.  Since you don't seem to have issue at home it could be that. Are you splitting you signal at home as well? Can you take your stage rig home and test it 1:1 as if on stage with piezo running direct to something?
Luc Gravely
Parker Fly Mojo Singlecut
Parker NiteFly NV1
Mesa/Boogie Mark I
1966 Fender BandMaster
A few pedals...

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline StevieT

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 05:38:48 PM »
Thanks for that!
Seems like a sensible argument and I'll take it down the road and try bypassing the preamp.
I can set the stage rig up almost anywhere it's very small http://www.tcelectronic.com/rh750/
I certainly need at least to first try and duplicate my chosen patches on the GT100 and then tailor them specifically to the DF.
That's the next job!
I'll keep you informed! Thanks for your help

Re: Dragonfly DF624

Offline lucgravely

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Re: Dragonfly DF624
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2015, 03:09:10 PM »
And I know it defies logic, but try a buffered pedal inbtween your guitars and GT100. It shouldn't matter, but seeing as how you already have a weird issue, it's work a shot. A KLON or BOSS pedal would work fine.
Luc Gravely
Parker Fly Mojo Singlecut
Parker NiteFly NV1
Mesa/Boogie Mark I
1966 Fender BandMaster
A few pedals...