In praise of: Parker Fly

Lightyears ahead of its time.
Lightyears ahead of its time.

With the Parker Fly, it's not just the shape that's radical.

A pioneering collaboration between luthier Ken Parker and electronics expert Larry Fishman, it boasts a carbon/epoxy exoskeleton, which surrounds the wood core - with a strikingly minimalist headstock, it makes the Fly one light guitar.

Upon its unveiling in 1993, it was the first six-string to give players the ability to mix signals from magnetic and piezo pickups, offering an as-then unheard of wealth of tones.

The Fly's various models have encompassed just about every combination of woods, necks and vibrato/bridge units. Notable incarnations include the MIDI Fly, with built-in MIDI facilities to control remote synthesisers, and the nylon-strung Spanish Fly.

The cut-price P Series gave less minted players a slice of Fly in 2005, while 2009's DragonFly offered a more traditional look. Yet, despite finding its way into the hands of players as diverse as Adrian Belew, Joe Walsh and Matt Bellamy, the Fly continues to divide opinion - and that's exactly what makes its design so timeless.

Parker Fly timeline


Ken Parker and Larry Fishman launch the Parker Fly


Parker loads its flagship with extra tech and introduces the MIDI Fly


The affordable P Series makes its debut, opening up the Fly to a wider range of players


A redesigned and more traditional body appears on the DragonFly

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