Real Name: Keith Lahti
Country/Location: Floe, WV
Time to update.
2012 - OK, enter a guitar that just kills my Niteflys: I recently got a guitar that (I NEVER thought I would say this about anything) renders most of most of my guitars obsolete. All my wonderful babies have just been wiped out!
It's a Ken Parker era Parker Fly Deluxe. I have played for 45 years and have been very pleased, tickled and even somewhat awed by the nice guitars I have owned. But this one just blows me away, completely upsets the boat; 4 1/2 pounds of pure resonance and focus, speed and playability beyond my imagination, focus of tone I didn't think possible yet with more harmonics than ever, sustain that kills any LP I have had, cleans tones with no "mush" on the low strings, a whammy that is way more responsive than my best Strats or PRS, absolute tuning stability, and OD tones up there in Santanaland or EVHville. On & on.
A whole NEW paradigm.
I realize now that the Niteflys are only part of the way there as far as what Ken Parker really did for (and to) the electric guitar.
Still have the gear below but have 2 new electrics- a 2nd Parker Nitefly SSS that I put Joe Barden S Deluxe pickups in. This may be a a "game ender". The Bardens in this guitar sing with the tone I have heard in my head all my life. Absolute Strat tone but maybe bigger. They just sing with all that woody flutiness, chime with the best of 'em, quack like ducks- the whole deal. I plug in all my other guitars & think, wow, that sounds & plays great. Then I plug in the Nitefly with the Bardens & it blows them all out of the water! Strange thing is, I got so excited I bought another set of Bardens to put in a Strat & they are not the same there. They are harsher & brighter without the killer "sing" they have in the Parker. There is battery (active) in the Nitefly that is supposed to only affect the piezo there, but there is something in the Nitefly circuit that works magic with the Bardens.
The other "new one" is a PRS SE C24. I put a Duncan Alnico Pro in the neck & Custom-Custom pup in the bridge (stock were OK but these are way richer). I love Alnico 2! I put them in Duncan Triple Shot pickup rings to get either coil single, or both parallel or series, in each pup (total of 20some tones, many actually quite useful). This is a FINE feeling & playing guitar, my go-to of all my humbucker guitars.
Another fav is a Parker Nitefly Swamp Ash SSS with Lace pups (Hot Gold neck, Hot Silver mid & Burgundy bridge- a great, versatile combo- Even the Laces sound way richer throuygh a Nitefly circuit than in my Strats). It is a super Strat type guitar with Parker innovations & the best feeling trem of all. It has a really fast, friendly feel with carbon fiber skin on the neck, carbon fiber fingerbord, compound radius & stainless frets. I love Strats, another fav is a 2004 American Deluxe SSS Strat in ash with RW board & aged cherry burst finish. I am a notoriuous guitar modder & this one needs nothing. A great sounding (SCN's are really fine with proper EQ), very verstile and killer feeling guitar! Also have a fine 2004 Deulxe HSS with maple board. Other "babies" include a project Strat (1997 American Standard naural ash w/ rosewood board, LSR nut, Fender locking tuners, Deaf Eddie Fatocaster switch, Duncan APS2 neck & mid PU's & Duncan Twangbanger bridge- pickups patterned after my CIJ Jerry Donahue Strat), an Eastpointe Reverend Slingshot Custom with Hipshot whammy & a 2003 Jeff Beck Signature Strat. Recently added a wicked Custom Shop Tele Jr. from the 90's. Have about 30 other guitars incl PRS, Ric, Gibson, Supro, Dobro, Hamer, Carvin, etc. but keep coming back to Strats and the Parker (got my first Strat new in '74 - still have it). I have to add one- recently got a NOS Washburn HB 35 (335 type with flamed maple top & back) that is fabulous. It is not as comfy as my beloved Strats & has no whammy but it plays GREAT & sings like no other guitar I own- hard to put it down!
Amps; have 2 vintage Fenders (Pro Rev & Vibrolux Rev), a BJ, A Boogie MK II + asst.. Main home amp is a Reverend Goblin with 12AT7 in V 1. Main gigging amp is a Reverend Kingsnake with JJ tubes including a 12AT7 in V 1. I have lots of analog pedals in a powered pedalbord but I use my Boss GT-8 (with Harmonic Converger in the loop) instead- everything goes thru that into the front end of a tube amp. I use NONE of the presets (fizzy, fuzzy, buzzy imitation metal junk mostly).
A new thing (2010) for me is an AxeFx - go to the net for details. Suffice to say it a SUPER processor/modeller that very quickly is giving me the best tube amp tones & effects I have ever laid hands/ears on. I am just getting started tweaking presets & the depth of programming possible is staggering. I am currently playing it through my studio monitors for the most uncolored sounds. I expect it will replace all my beloved tube amps & effects soon for live use. I need to get a MIDI floor controller, expression pedal & full range monitor for it & will not even take an amp to gigs. It is THAT GOOD!
Added for 2008, too much stuff but a standout is a National Radiotone Bendaway (wood body resonator with cutaway). It has "the Magic" with a capital M! Volume, dynamics, overtones, sustain, etc. etc. Fingerpicks & a heavy homemade brass slide for this one.
Added in 2009 a Beard Goldtone solid mahogany with cutaway spider bridge resonator. Also VERY fine. Love the sweetness & sustain of a spider bridge & this one sounds great with the handmade ceramic slides I make on the potter's wheel.
Also added a Super Champ XD amp- great fun & gigable with Ragin Cajun speaker. Guitar in one hand & amp in the other with no pedals is great for blues jams!
And for 2012, with all the above amp/processor gear, what I find myself playing almost exclusively at home, is a Fender Mustang III I have got in Nov. 2011. It is such an easy way to get great tones, and at any volume. I love it! I'm so used to my GT-8/Reverend amp setup I'm not quite gigging with the Mustang yet, but a little more programming & it will be my gigger.
Comments: I lost half of my left middle finger to a jointer about 1998. Tried to switch hands on guitar but could not do it. Played lap Dobro & lap steels for a few years- couldn't stand not fingering & bending strings so put a slide on the half middle finger, tuned all guitars to open E & relearned how to play with 3 fingers & a slide. Love tone & go to great lengths to get it right (for me). With my age & hand I will never be a shredder so I concentrate on notes & sounds that really compliment the song at hand. I have always been an accompanist first & love to write parts that surprise the listener but really go with the song. Love a good old blues jam too. Currently play all original music with "Holy Cow!" in WV.
Recently passed the 21 year mark without a drink or drug. Without judging anyone else in any way, this is a very good thing for me, my life & my music!
How I found the FDP: Google
Dec 4th, 2004
Contributing Membership Expires:
Photo: '95 Paker Fly Deluxe
Photo: '95 Parker Fly Deluxe back
Photo: Warmoth "Van" body front