Parker DF624 Radial Neck Joint Series Electric Guitar
Parker Guitars, parkerguitars.com
The Radial Neck Joint Series guitars are built for technically gifted and tonally creative players who want to get all of their sounds from one guitar.
Ken Parker ignited a passion for technologically advanced instruments and tonal experimentation when he introduced the Lamborghini-sleek Parker Fly in 1993. Its carbon-fiber exoskeleton and neck established new standards for resonance, while the custom-designed, piezo-equipped tremolo let electric guitar players select and blend acoustic and electric tones in exciting ways.
Recently, Parker designed the comparatively affordable Radial Neck Joint Series, using traditional tone woods and a revolutionary bolt-on neck pocket. One look at the DF624 and you can see that it’s still a true Parker, weighing in at a mere five pounds and boasting the custom-cast tremolo bridge, a full complement of piezo and magnetic electronics, and Parker’s uniquely slick playability.
The DF624’s alder body is clearly descended from the Fly, with an ultra-thin profile and sculpted carves and cut-outs that project sound waves more efficiently than bodies with roughly uniform thicknesses.
Key to the guitar’s design is Parker’s ingenious radial neck joint. The neck maintains its curved profile down its entire length and rests in a concave body slot that has the exact same curvature as the back of the neck. This precise joint prevents any lateral slipping and bonds a larger area of neck wood to the body than is possible with a typical joint, resulting in increased volume, sustain and vibration. The maple neck’s profile feels impossibly thin, but it gave me superior control and finger speed. The maple is topped with hard and stable ebony, and fitted with stainless-steel frets.
Parker’s Fishman piezo-equipped, cast-aluminum bridge is absolutely silky smooth in operation and has easy-to-access hex wrench adjustments for setting the bridge height, locking the tremolo bar (or letting it swing freely), and setting the amount of pull-up or dive-only travel. At the headstock, whammy action is kept in tune by Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners.
Seymour Duncan’s TB-14 humbucker and two SSL-6 single-coils handle the magnetic pickup work and balance well with the Fishman piezos. Controls include a five-way switch for the Duncans, master volume and tone for the magnetic pickups, piezo volume, a three-way toggle for piezo/magnetic/piezo-magnetic operation, and a coil-splitting push/pull tone pot for the Duncan humbucker.
The sheer number of permutations of magnetic and piezo combinations make the DF624 extremely versatile. On their own, the piezos tap the instrument’s natural resonance for some realistic although sometimes bright steel-string acoustic tones. The Duncans are particularly clear and relatively warm and rich with just about any style of music or level of gain, but combining the magnetics and piezos let me create scintillating jazz-fusion and funky-crisp metal sounds. Overall, the DF624 tends toward the bright side of the tonal spectrum, making up for the lack of depth with layers of stinging high harmonics and acoustic overtones.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Parker’s USA-made DF624 and other Radial Neck Joint Series guitars are built for technically gifted and tonally creative players who want to get all of their sounds from one guitar. They’re loaded with all the tools you need to craft a dizzying array of piezo-acoustic, magnetic-electric and wild blends of tonal power.
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