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Author Topic: How new would you go?  (Read 973 times)

Offline Fantasiasoul

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How new would you go?
« on: April 09, 2018, 07:30:20 PM »
I have been playing an SSS NiteFly for nearly 20 years. I originally fell in love with the Fly but found my NiteFly in Guitar Center in Dallas for just $500 in mint condition (it still is!), so had to buy it. I still play it and still love it but after so many years I think it's time for me to own and play a Fly. There are lots of discussions here and elsewhere on the net about pre-refined and refined versions and I have watched countless videos to figure out what is out there. I'd like a Fly with a fuller sound and richer lower tones which is why I am looking at the Artist for its spruce body. My question is about how new should I go with my Fly. There are some great examples of Flys from 2012, but is their build quality as good as it used to be back in 2002 or even earlier? I am sure there will be a significant sound difference because the pickups and electronics, but I am asking here specifically about the build quality. Can anyone help? What would you choose?
2005 Fly Classic Cherry Red
1995 Nitefly NF3 (SSS) Black/White

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ParkerPlayer

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 01:09:05 PM »
Hello and welcome to the forum !
I have owned the following Fly models:
Classic, Deluxe, Artist and most recently the Supreme.  All except the Artist are pre-refined.
There are many small but noticeable differences between the pre-refined and refined models, some of which I believe make the refined model of lower quality.  For example, pretty much everyone agrees the switches and pots of the refined model are inferior to the pre-refined ones.  The trem rod bushing is another example: they changed it from metal to plastic, and now it cracks.   I'm not trying to bash the re-fined Flys, but the fact is, they were re-design for easier manufacture-ability and higher profit at the cost of lesser quality and lesser ease of use.  The bottom line is that both are well-made instruments, but the original Flys are what Ken Parker designed.  The refined Fly is not.  Every change from the original recipe takes it a bit further from the real deal (in my opinion).
Good luck with finding the perfect one.  It seems that Artists don't come up for sale nearly as often and the Classic or Deluxe, but if you are patient you'll find it.
-Luke
'95 Fly Deluxe, Majik Blue, Hard Tail
'96 Fly Classic, Transparent Red 
'98 Fly Classic, Transparent Red
'99 Fly Supreme, Honey
'09 Fly Artist, Custom Hard Tail

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ParkerPlayer

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 03:42:04 PM »
OK, one more comment then I'll let someone else chime in...
This is not specifically related to your question about build quality but still relevant.
First off, I commend you for choosing an Artist.  It's a fantastic instrument, and I think it kind of epitomizes the Fly design, being that it's made of Spruce, a very lightweight, resonant and structurally efficient material.  I believe that Ken Parker liked the Artist best of all the Flys, which stands to reason because his whole design philosophy revolves around this idea of using lightweight, resonant structures.
So if you are wanting a Fly Artist for these reasons, I would recommend getting a pre-refined.  Several of the modifications of the refined model make it a heavier guitar: the truss rod is larger, the knobs are heavier, and most significantly, the body is thicker (at least this is the case with mine). 
One last comment about the re-fined build quality.  At some point they started shipping these guitars in cheap, Chinese-made cases.   (here's a picture of one on Reverb: https://reverb.com/item/11077864-parker-fly-artist-3-tone-sunburst). I would describe this case as a kind of toy, not something you want to ship a $3000 guitar in.  So there's another example of cost-cutting measures in the refined Fly.  Fortunately you can buy a top notch Hiscox case, which I would recommend if you have the money.
good luck,
-Luke
'95 Fly Deluxe, Majik Blue, Hard Tail
'96 Fly Classic, Transparent Red 
'98 Fly Classic, Transparent Red
'99 Fly Supreme, Honey
'09 Fly Artist, Custom Hard Tail

Re: How new would you go?

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 04:37:31 PM »
At some point they started shipping these guitars in cheap, Chinese-made cases.   (here's a picture of one on Reverb: https://reverb.com/item/11077864-parker-fly-artist-3-tone-sunburst). I would describe this case as a kind of toy, not something you want to ship a $3000 guitar in.  So there's another example of cost-cutting measures in the refined Fly.  Fortunately you can buy a top notch Hiscox case, which I would recommend if you have the money.

The photo is of a Parker FHC2 case. I like mine; in fact I prefer it to the Hiscox I had (and sold). 

I also preferred to keep my Deluxe and sell the Artist I had. Just goes to show ya'!

Obviously, though, my choice is the pre-refined era.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 05:55:57 PM by sybersitizen »
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ChrisNB

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 05:46:46 PM »
Quote
The photo is of a Parker FHC2 case
Not so, this is the FHC2: http://www.webmail.shoppersgalaxy.com/instrumentpro/by-manufacturer/parker/acoustic-bass/parker-fhc2.html  It has the "ribs" around the corners and edges. These are excellent, but the other link posted by ParkerPlayer does indeed show a later ("Refined" era, I believe) case, which has a thin, floppy shell, and a feeble styrofoam inner.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 05:48:32 PM by ChrisNB »

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ChrisNB

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 06:04:12 PM »
ParkerPlayer, it seems we're much in agreement on the differences. One additional thought, comparing body woods from a practical perspective: I've noticed that with the softer body woods, the vibrato bridge bushings can work somewhat loose with time and use, i.e. the holes lose grip on the knurled metal. I have fixed this on a few guitars, but it doesn't seem to happen with Mahogany.
For me personally, the ideal 'Artist' would be the hardtail version.

Ken Parker's respect for Sitka Spruce is obviously linked to his formative, and now currently cutting edge, experience with archtops.

Re: How new would you go?

Offline Mr303

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 06:12:03 PM »
I’ve been lucky and have played a variety of Parker’s from Custom DF’s, PDF’s, PM’s, to both pre-and refined flys, except for one very custom DF, the pre-refined Flys play better than any other guitar.
Find a good pre-refined and you won’t regret it.

 I’ve never had a chance to play one of KP’s acoustics....so if someone would loan me theirs please PM me.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:13:58 PM by Mr303 »
'94 Fly hard tail
'97 Fly Deluxe
'08 PM20 Pro 3x3 headstock
PDF 105
PDF 70 modded
and a few others that are boat anchors.
‘43 Epi Blackstone
Godin 5th ave p90

Re: How new would you go?

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 06:24:23 PM »
Quote
The photo is of a Parker FHC2 case
Not so, this is the FHC2: http://www.webmail.shoppersgalaxy.com/instrumentpro/by-manufacturer/parker/acoustic-bass/parker-fhc2.html

That is absolutely not the FHC2 case. That seller has mislabeled the product.

Quote
It has the "ribs" around the corners and edges.

The one you're talking about (the one pictured on that site) is typically known around the forum as the SKB case.

Quote
These are excellent, but the other link posted by ParkerPlayer does indeed show a later ("Refined" era, I believe) case ...

The other link shows the FHC2 case, as I said. These are clearly identified in several Parker catalogs:



Quote
... which has a thin, floppy shell, and a feeble styrofoam inner.

I see nothing floppy or feeble about my FHC2 case whatsoever. It's every bit as strong as I want it to be. I found the Hiscox case to be unwieldy, prone to falling over all the time, and butt ugly; and the SKB case never appealed to me ... but so what? I didn't feel a need to elaborate on that until now. Everybody has opinions. The only ones that ultimately matter are our own.
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ChrisNB

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 06:30:15 PM »
OK, fair enough: I stand corrected regarding the model name. I've always thought of the one I was referring to as an 'SKB', too. Well, I've had the Hiscox, FHC2 and SKB, and found the FHC2 inferior...in my opinion. As you suggest, each to their own, but this forum, if anywhere, is the place to elaborate on such trivialities :)
Thanks for the pics and clarification.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 05:31:14 AM by ChrisNB »

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ParkerPlayer

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 10:55:16 PM »
...I've noticed that with the softer body woods, the vibrato bridge bushings can work somewhat loose with time and use, i.e. the holes lose grip on the knurled metal. I have fixed this on a few guitars, but it doesn't seem to happen with Mahogany.
For me personally, the ideal 'Artist' would be the hardtail version.

That's interesting, have you ever heard of that problem with Maple?  I would think it being such a hard wood that it would not be an issue.
'95 Fly Deluxe, Majik Blue, Hard Tail
'96 Fly Classic, Transparent Red 
'98 Fly Classic, Transparent Red
'99 Fly Supreme, Honey
'09 Fly Artist, Custom Hard Tail

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ChrisNB

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 05:30:30 AM »
Quote
That's interesting, have you ever heard of that problem with Maple?  I would think it being such a hard wood that it would not be an issue.
I have not yet played or worked on a Supreme, but as you say, I would not expect the issue with Maple: typically very hard and dense.

I'm fairly sure that my newly acquired Sunburst MidiFly is Alder (but being based on the Nitefly design, timber is not specified in the serial number).
I wonder if anyone has seen an Alder FLY, possibly as a custom order?

Re: How new would you go?

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2018, 11:24:39 AM »
According to a forum member who has examined the leaning post issue, it typically has nothing to do with wood softness or compression:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7zMxEP10BlwYVA2WHVUcHA1Wlk/view

"Leaning posts are caused by a tolerance stack up between the bushing and the bridge post in combination with slight variations in body thickness. More specifically, the Inside Diameter of the bushing is a little too big relative to the Outside Diameter of the post. This was probably intentional, to allow for normal variations in coating thickness."
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: How new would you go?

Offline ChrisNB

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2018, 11:53:14 AM »
Quote
According to a forum member who has examined the leaning post issue, it typically has nothing to do with wood softness or compression
This is another issue, of which I’m aware: I also have a stock of the PTFE-coated rings, which were designed to cure it.
I was referring to the knurled studs moving vertically in their holes. The other parts that can loosen in softer woods are the threaded inserts for the pickup height screws, and the stereo switch collar.
All minor, repairable things, anyway!

Re: How new would you go?

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2018, 03:10:35 AM »
For the OP, I can't comment on the early Parkers, but I have a 2015 7-string, one of the last ever made, and the quality and playability beats any guitar I've ever seen. With two exceptions:
1 - The switches. Both have been replaced as they wear out and start "bleeding" sounds in the wrong position.
2 - The case. As identified above, the new cases are pretty cheap, not well-fitting. For a $5k guitar it's below par.

But I don't play the case, so I can live with it!
Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK

Re: How new would you go?

Offline Fantasiasoul

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Re: How new would you go?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2018, 10:13:15 AM »
Thank you to everyone for all these replies — amazing!

I thought I would be notified if anyone replied so assumed no one had replied (there must be an option in my forum account settings).

Whilst I am waiting for an elusive Artist to turn up on the market I have grabbed a 2005 Fly Classic in mint condition (only pick marks). I know it is not the pre-refined type you all seem to recommend, but the opportunity had to be seized: the guitar is a beauty. It also plays amazingly well - I cannot put it down. I used to love my Nitefly but in an instant, after 20 years, that love has gone. I cannot believe the difference between both models.

Regarding the new Fly, the build quality is faultless and I am very picky. The playability and sustain are unbelievable compared with everything I have ever played.
As for the electronics and sound, I cannot compare with a pre-refined Fly because I haven't got access to any!  I am not blown away by the range of sounds it can do — some reviews made me believe that it could do anything under the sun. I might need to play around with all the settings more. Do any of you have the same experience?

It's amazing to think that there was a time where you could go to a shop and compare models without spending any money!! How do you guys do to compare models without selling the car and cancelling the holidays?
2005 Fly Classic Cherry Red
1995 Nitefly NF3 (SSS) Black/White