One glance at this black beauty will confirm that the P-42 is an easy guitar to classify; this is an unashamed, out-and-out rocker with the minimum of frills.
Features and construction
The body shape is of Parker's instantly recognisable Fly series of guitars, but here it is constructed from mahogany and finished in what the company describes as 'metallic black'. As is common on Parker guitars, the body has a significant taper, with the width decreasing from 41mm at the body's lower edge, to 21mm at the top.
Features-wise, a pair of Parker Stinger alnico humbuckers supply the grunt, and a three-way toggle, master volume and tone pots providing the subsequent control. It's clear that Parker has aimed to keep the livery as dark as is practical, and alongside the brace of black hardware is an ebony fingerboard that, on our example at least, is streaked with brown - a pleasing characteristic of certain grades of the tonewood.
The P-42 has a one-piece maple neck with a matt polyurethane finish and black polycarbonate nut, finished with the classic Parker headstock. The neck is 42mm wide at the nut, and while the specification states a D shape profile, it's not the fattest we've encountered. The 22 medium-jumbo frets are well finished, but may be slightly too proud for some tastes.
The two Stinger humbuckers certainly live up to their name, with the potential to really pack an abrasive punch on demand. As you wind up the amp gain the high end becomes proportionately more apparent, and for modern skull-crushing styles, it's spot on. The small cubic volume of the mahogany body wood actually works in the guitar's favour in these particular styles, and high-speed riffing and solos cut like Mack's sharpest knife. Slightly more subdued overdrive styles - AC/DC, Rolling Stones and the like - are rather less impressive because there isn't as much meat as we would have liked. The middle and neck positions fare much better all round as the mix of the aforementioned treble helps to reduce any chance of tones mushing up together.
Cleanly, all three pickup selections are undeniably upfront, which will suit as many genres as it will discourage - a no-score draw if you will. However, we consequently discovered that using the coil-split and switching to the toggle's middle position gave us the best starting point.
There's no doubt that the P-42 is a great guitar to play rock on, and its weight - or rather lack of it - will suit the showmen amongst you very well indeed.
It’s an excellent guitar for out and-out rock.
In the tonal department, it’s a little one-dimensional.
If you like your guitars to rock like a fist in the face, then this is a serious option. Tonally, it's a little uninspiring away from high-octane rock, but there are some decent cleans tones to be found with use of the master coil-split. And we like the price too.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.
Coil-Tap Master Tone Master Volume
Metallic Grey/Metallic Black
Country of Origin
No of Strings
No. of Frets
2 x Parker Stinger Alnico Humbuckers
Scale Length (Inches)