Parker PDF Radial Review
This Parker PDF Radial is an amazing little guitar in so many ways.
They really did totally rethink nearly every aspect of the electric guitar - it's totally apparent in even this 'budget' model.
(And I personally love the vibe of a bolt on maple neck, nickel frets, ebony fingerboard, and mahogany/maple body anyway!)
Aside from the remarkable lightness, and compactness of the body, the thing that really blows me away is the way it almost lovingly hugs your form.
The upper horn curves subtly inward, and the strap button is on the inside, instead of the tip - this pulls the guitar gently, but snugly into your chest.
The body is highly carved, and either tapers, or just fades away in strategic places - 'ergonomic' is an understatement in this case!
I've battled with my Strat for years to find an ideal way for it to hang; even trying anchoring the strap to the neck bolts instead of the horn - never felt right.
What a revelation to strap this thing on, and both the left and right hands fall exactly where they need to be, with no sensation of fighting the instrument.
The fretting hand has unfettered, and completely linear access, from the lowest fret to the highest.
The picking hand meets the strings in just the right way - pulling off fast, intricate lines is easier on this guitar than any other I've ever tried, especially while standing.
It's like it becomes an extension of your body - you know it's there, but only in the right places - makes all my other electrics seem like clunkers in comparison.
(These things are what the Godins - think LGXT, which I own - WISH they were - Sorry Bob!)
Absolutely the leanest, most unobtrusive, even-playing neck I've ever felt, and very low, clean action - almost embarrassing how easy this thing plays.
Every note resonates and sustains - the radial neck joint really does pass noticeably more string resonance throughout the guitar - it's a very 'lively' instrument
The tremolo feels buttery, but still full of bright, "Fender'y" sustain, and holds pitch really well - even in "free-floating" mode.
No sense of mass, mechanical friction, or design compromise when using it - beats the G&L trem - no small feat.
The volume knob has a nice stiff feel to it, while the tone knob turns freely - lots of thought put into every detail.
(And a VERY nice piece of 3D looking flame Maple on the top - glad I went for the Honeyburst!)
The pickups are are a bit of a compromise compared to a typical Fender style pickup array, though lots of great, usable tones can be dialed in.
A dual humbucker guitar is always a pretty different beast, and you'll never quite nail the super-chimey, focused tones you can get out of a traditional Fender type axe.
The Duncan designed pickups are indeed very musical and balanced however, and true to the claims; there is plenty of available top end detail.
The fact that the scale length is a solid 25&1/2" contributes greatly to the punch and authority of the tone in general.
And, unlike many coil-tapped humbucker axes, the tapped sounds are actually complimentary and usable - even the hum is fairly negligible.
Very easy to push this thing into creamy, dynamic, harmonically rich overdrive just by using the volume knob and a bit of grit in the amp.
(If they come out with a three pickup version of these import PDF guitars I will be first in line to get one!)
Folks have varying attitudes and opinions about the recent wave of high quality, low cost guitars coming out of Asia.
(I recently bought a Chinese made classical that sells for around the same as these Parkers, and it's an amazingly feature-rich, great sounding guitar.)
My personal feeling is that, as a working musician, if I can get instruments of this quality for prices like this, I don't care if they're made on the moon.
Kudos to Parker for having not only the pioneering design vision, but also the manufacturing and marketing savvy to pull this off - this guitar is the real deal!