|Electric Guitar - Parker P-38.
Parker P38 User Reviews... See what others have to say about the Parker P-38 Electric Guitar.
|Parker P-38 - Electric Guitar Review
There's no question that Parker Guitars have a well-earned reputation for being on the bleeding edge of electric guitar innovation. Thier use of carbon fiber and other high-tech materials blended with traditional tone woods to produce the now legendary Parker Fly has earned respect from even the hardest core traditionalist. So, when I first took a look at the Parker P-38, I wasn't sure how to feel about it. Unlike it's predessor, the P38 is an all wood, bolt-on neck guitar. (Also, unlike other Parker guitars, it doesn't carry a $3,000 price tag.) So, I detached my biases and just played the guitar for a while before taking it through it's paces.
Initial reaction: The P-38 is an amazingly well thought out guitar. Seated or standing, the lightweight body of this Parker guitar sits right where you want it. My pick hand positions itself naturally without any forearm discomfort. The neck is bolted to the body in a very unobtrusive way. The heel is contoured and the neck bolts recessed to provide effortless access to every fret. In short, there are very few guitars that are this comfortable to play.
Construction: As I stated earlier, this is a bolt-on neck guitar. That's a good thing. Don't ever let anyone convince you that a bolt-on neck sustains less than a set-neck or neck-through-body guitar. That's a subject for another article, but look around. An awefully large percentage of guitar legends play bolt-ons. The P38 has an exceptionally good fit and finish. All the parts fit together with no funky gaps between the neck and body. The pickups fit the holes, pickguard screws run straight and all routing and fretwork looks perfect. The only complaint I have is the choice of the floating tremolo. The Wilkinson trems they use are of absolute top quality so, that's not an issue but, I'd prefer a more vintage style bridge. I can live with the floating trem, though, and I think most players will prefer thier choice, not mine.
The Neck: The P-38 has a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. The truss rod is exposed at the body end and is adjusted by sticking anything that resembles a rod into one of the holes and turning it (ala MusicMan). I love this system. It looks good and doesn't require any specific type or size of tool to adjust. The P38 has a fairly slim neck (Some would say very slim. It depends on wat you are used to.) which is very comfortable to play. The string spacing is wide enough that any player with hands smaller than baseball mitts will feel very much at home. The fret radius is on the flattish side without being so flat that it has a rough feel. This flat radius allows the guitar to be set up with extremely low action without fretting out.
Pickups & Electronics: The Parker P38 features electronics that clearly set it apart from other guitars in this price range. At first glance, it looks like the now standard, 2 single coil, 1 humbucking pickup configuration. But, this guitar hides something very cool: the Fishman Piezo bridge system. What?? Yes, Fishman. Under each string, embedded into the saddle lies a Fishman transducer; an acoustic pickup that adds a dimension to electric guitars that I am sure will become nearly standard in the years to come. Imagine being able to instantly switch from electric to acoustic guitar or to blend the sound of a big, fat dreadnought with your electric guitar. That's what the Fishman system is all about. The two sounds can be sent to seperate amplifiers, to the same amplifier or to the PA and your electric guitar amplifier. You have total control over what sound goes where right on the guitar. The magnetic pickups are Parker Custom Alnico single coils and double coil that produce everything from vintage sparkle to hardcore grind. Like most aspects of the Parker P-38, the electronics package is what you'd expect from a far more expensive guitar.
Summary: There are a lot of guitars available in this price range. Many of them are very nice instruments but, you can usually find faults or places the manufacturer cut corners to keep the price down. That's just not the case here. The Parker P38 is a professional guitar. While those not familliar with the original Fly will consider the P-38's progressive styling somewhat radical, it is truly a move toward tradition for Parker Guitars. You can save about a hundred bucks by getting the "standard" without the Fishman, but don't. That Fishman system is nothing short of revolutionary. It's one of those cases where you likely won't realize it until you use it in the real world, but trust me. Get the Fishman electronics. The Parker P-38 truly is a guitarist's guitar.