2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Show and tell! This is a place to showcase your Parker guitar! New members are encouraged to introduce themselves here.
Post Reply
mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:25 am

Scroll down for photos.

I’ve decided to jump the NGD gun by a few days, for the sake of an up-front bit on the buying and inspection of Flys:

These guitars being exclusive to the used market means that pitfalls are the name of the game. The combination of having no warranty on defects in the proprietary tech, effectively no replacement parts, no looking back for modifications, and a volatile market value undermining one’s sense of investment should rightfully cause concern for a current or prospective Fly owner. There are no two ways about it: The impetus is entirely on the buyer to know what they’re getting, what they’ve gotten, and what they can get.

If you lack firsthand knowledge and a community such as this one or the Facebook group(s) to vet listings with, you are taking unnecessary risks: I’ve observed and interacted with unfortunate buyers who have purchased prerefined Flys with malfunctioning or entirely nonfunctional piezos or controls, Flys with forward-leaning or otherwise unstable trems, refined Flys with poorly reglued frets and fretboards, Flys with partially-lifted frets or lifting fretboards that exhibit paint chipping as a symptom, prerefined Flys with ebony fretboards, Flys with broken or even missing springs, crude repair of broken spring damage (bondo, nail polish, uneven touch-up, etc.), broken piano strings (many owners remain unaware of the nature of their truss rod to this day), Flys with frozen pots, ill-fitting non-factory knobs, missing trem bushings and set screws, missing step-stop, missing spring tension wheel, etc.

An extreme example was a buyer who, having purchased an unfinished poplar Fly body and basswood neck on eBay following the Buffalo Grove factory closure, believed me to be trolling (and subsequently blocked me from sending further PMs) after I typed up an in-depth guide to completing the guitar that included a pizza oven. Last I’d heard, he had abandoned the project.

Note that these are all details that sellers themselves are often unaware of. Two Flys of mine were previously owned by self-described “Parker enthusiasts” who didn’t know how close they’d come to disaster: One Fly had spent years in “dive-only” mode with a set of 13-56 strings paired with a 9-spring. The strings sat on top of the nut slots cut for a 9-42 set, and bowed the neck significantly. These were all details I only discovered upon receiving the guitar: The seller hadn’t put the bar in since switching to heavier strings, and believed the guitar “doesn’t have a truss rod; due to being plastic.” The other guitar was a spaghetti factory of wiring modification far above the skill of a previous owner (who had spliced PTP wiring into the broken ribbon assembly while “grounding” every switch and circuit of the guitar to a single piece of electrical tape that was itself glued to a loose metal washer). The guitar had changed hands several times between players who could only tell that something was “off” about the circuitry.

Once the Fly you’ve purchased is unboxed and inspected for superficial damage not mentioned in the listing and inventoried for all items specified in the listing, you’ll want to perform the following steps (let me know which crucial details I’ve blanked on):

1. Plug in and ensure full functionality of circuits, elements and (notoriously iffy) switching - Put in a new battery if necessary
2. Check fretboard for any obvious humps, lifting frets, or chips along carbon joint
3. Check the nut for any chips and the saddles/elements for any corrosion or missing pieces
4. Remove back plate and inspect electronics assembly, then the spring for condition and appropriate gauge-pairing
5. Insert bar, ensure bushing and set-screw are intact and functional, then check trem for smooth movement, non-leaning of posts, and ability to be blocked
6. Make ugly noises

Note that there are many diagnostic troubleshooting steps I’m omitting (Truss issues, intonation, strings coming out of saddles with trem use, electronic artifacts such as popping, buzzing, intermittent power or sound, etc.). Hopefully those don’t come up in the review update.


That all being said, I just pounced on a listing that seemed fit for a project I had in mind: To feel better about not finding a Belew model, I figured I would just buy a USM-era “refined” Fly and add Graphtech Ghost saddles, Acoustaphonic/Hexpander boards, and (Possibly) a Sustainiac. The era of production is preferred because I wanted to avoid desecrating a prerefined Fly with a still-working ribbon assembly that doesn’t lend itself to modification beyond repairs. Though the 2011 truss rod redesign and cover aren’t my preference, they’re not a dealbreaker in the way the later 14” constant radius or ebony boards are.

For any made to feel squeamish by the proposed mods: I’ve installed all these in other Flys, and am an unapologetic tinkerer, in general. That said, anyone wishing to save the guitar from me by making an offer I can’t refuse is free to try ;) . In updates to the thread, I’ll solicit wiring/control layout suggestions. Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking I’ll go with a dual-gang master volume for magnetic/synth, push-pull tone for either single coil-simulation or engaging the Sustainiac, and possibly adding a mini-toggle for engaging the Sustainiac octave-up mode if I can’t find a tone pot with the Belew functionality (push-pull with end detent for engaging it). The piezo switching and volume I’ll likely leave stock.

The omission of the mag/mix/synth toggle and program up/down buttons is deliberate: I have them on my other Flys, and feel the point of this project is to have a “clean” control layout emulating the Belew (which also lacks that switching). I may even go with a Freeway switch to engage the Sustainiac modes; just to leave room for more push-pull shenanigans.

Note to self: 3D-print blade switch bezels wide-enough to cover the hole for the Gibson-style 3 ways on Flys.

Now just watch a Belew come up for sale the day after I buy this one! I’ll bump with a proper review of the Supreme once it arrives, and be sure to include the messages exchanged about the condition and history of the guitar in the event that they end up proving especially pertinent. Until then, here are the listing photos:


Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

rsdio
Newbie
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 3:19 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by rsdio » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:48 am

I'm going to follow your progress as closely as I can!

I've got a plan to do what you're describing - at least after I've given myself some time with the pre-refined. Like you, I'm not going to monkey with my pre-refined.

I have the impression that the refined Fly models are "thicker" and will take the Sustainiac more easily. If anybody has comments about that, I'd love to read 'em. I'm probably only thinking this because the Adrian Belew Signature is a refined Fly, and it obviously holds the Sustainiac without cutting through the thin back.

If I can help in any way with the electronics, please let me know. Feel free to PM or write here.

Brian
Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Supreme '98

User avatar
vjmanzo
Site Admin
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:35 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by vjmanzo » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:53 am

Great tips and suggestions here, @mmmguitar! Thanks for summarizing these things; very helpful! Hopefully, this community can help direct people to the value of reading the manual, which really does a great job of explaining what’s going on with a Fly, and how to care for it.

I agree that you’re rolling the dice every time you buy a used Fly, even from people who claim to know Flys. Education is key for all of us in understanding these instruments, and a new Fly-owner might not have the sensibilities to Google the manual, so they treat the Fly like every other guitar they’ve ever owned...and then their frets fall off in six months because they used GHS Fast Fret on the fretboard!

I’m very intrigued by this project and I hope you’ll keep us updated!!!

As @rsdio mentioned, some Refined Flys do have a little more meat on them around the neck pickup, but it’s hard to predict which models, but, certainly, the Flys that had Seymour Duncan pickups (like the Mojo and much-later Flys) had a bit more. It’s not much more though, but, regardless, even on a pre-refined Fly, you do have enough material to mount the Sustainiac driver, but it depends on how you decide to mount it. Alan Hoover, the Sustainiac inventor, bolts through the neck joint; I’ve mentioned that I have a Sustainiac held in place by 3M heavy-duty double-sided tape. That’s a key component.

Very excited for this!
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:44 pm

Thanks, guys. As I’ve mentioned in another thread, my past experience with Alan Hoover was enough to put me off Sustainiacs for almost ten years, now. If I end up putting one in the Supreme, I would be doing all the mods myself and likely use the double-sided 3M method VJ mentioned.

There’s actually a new sustainer pickup builder based in Indonesia whom I was considering working with because he’ll fabricate them to fit in Flys and they have a small circuit footprint. Unfortunately, his current design is driver-only; with no option to function as an active pickup the way Hoover’s design and the Fernandes, Jackson, etc. variations do. I can see the value for someone who never uses the neck pickup, but it would leave the Supreme feeling like a three-legged dog to me. It would be simple to mount a humcancelling single next to the driver coil, but this wouldn’t be practical in a Fly rout. So any Sustainiac project will likely be further down the line, once my 10+ other guitar projects are either seen to or further ignored.

Considering most of these mods are already in my black ‘96 deluxe, I may use it as a guinea pig/prototype for control placement and other brainstorms that I’ll post here for feedback.

I just happened to see a Fly Bluesbucker pickup on eBay after I purchased the Supreme; so that and (likely) a PAF Joe will be going into the guitar as the first mod, with a review of and comparison to the Gen2 pickups. If the PAF Joe doesn’t mesh for whatever reason, I have an Al Di Meola bridge pickup in a Strandberg that I’ve been curious to try in a Fly. Considering the Gen 1 neck pickup is a bit too tubular in the bridge position for my tastes, I fear the PAF Joe will be, as well. But there’s only one way to know!

mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:14 pm

Well, the first thread update is that I received a 21 lb small, square box that could not possibly contain the guitar. I contacted the seller and Reverb - Let’s see where things go from here.

User avatar
vjmanzo
Site Admin
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:35 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by vjmanzo » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:40 pm

@mmmguitar, are you saying you got ripped off?!
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:39 pm

Thankfully, everything was resolved. The short version is that UPS put the guitar's label on the wrong box, then found the guitar later in the day and rushed it to me.

Here's the rambling review:

Cosmetically, the Fly is 10/10. It's some of the best figuring I've seen on a Trans Honey Supreme (which my wife criticized as resembling "foamy piss").
Unfortunately, the generic, OEM import electronics of latter-year Flys live up to the anticipation their poor reputation informs:

1. Faulty mag/mix/piezo switch causes piezo signal to be heard when mag volume is at 0 unless piezo volume is also at 0.
2. Fault in magnetic selector switch causes humbuckers to intermittently cut out.
3. Magnetic volume and tone pots crackle, push-pull causes pickups to cut out intermittently.

Imagine the disappointment of latter-year Fly owners who were confronted with these cost-cutting measures on instruments costing between three and five thousand dollars! I'm currently of the mind that these component issues were present when the guitar left the factory; as I'm confident that I'm the first person to remove the cavity cover after the serial number was sharpie'd on the inside of it: The innards were in pristine condition (the pots hadn't even rotated loose from their factory orientation). It's a bit shameful to know that Parker case-queens such as this one are still liable to exhibit electronic problems if they're from a particular era.

Fortunately, I have plenty of spare pots, switches, and DeoxIt leftover from past projects - And I bought this for modding, anyway.

Please discount the honeymoon phase speaking when I say that this nonetheless may be the best Fly I've owned. The neck, as expected of a post-'08 Fly, is as chunky as I recall my '08 Mojo being. The all-maple body also contributes to being the heavier of the three Flys I currently own. It seems to have a 14" constant radius, but I'll confirm once I locate my feeler gauges during the impending string change. What makes this Fly a standout is that, unlike other Flys I've owned, this one doesn't feel like it needs more than a string change and basic setup to get to where I want the playability to be.

In prior years, the radius and weight would have been potential dealbreakers for me. However - Sacrilege as it may be to say: The Fly is not my go-to guitar. Strandbergs have superseded Parkers as the featherweight guitars in my collection, and (so far) no guitar has been able to contend with the playability of my Vigier Shawn Lane. This has been a positive change: Rather than obsess over finding or making a Fly that's "perfect", my priorities have shifted to having Flys that are simply a joy to play. This is the main reason I'm considering a Sustainiac install after previously being soured on the brand.

Being as pickups are the first mod, I want to include my thoughts on the Gen 2s in the Supreme:

It's funny how familiar pickups can surprise you just by being mated with the right guitar on the right day. The stock neck pickup, which I've previously been unimpressed with (at the time, it seemed like Dimarzio took in the complaints to do with the Gen 1s and just further emphasized those qualities in v2), manages to sound like the ideal stock neck pickup: Its volume and voicing balances perfectly with the bridge when playing lead, and through a clean amp and the tone rolled off to 7 or 8 it has the prescribed jazz tone. In this instance, it mainly reminds me of modern Les Paul neck pickups.

The bridge humbucker is exactly as I remember: A mud bomb until you tweak your amp for it. As with the JB in a Mojo, I find the split tone more useful than the series one. I've always had this baseless impression that Steve Blucher wound the Gen 2 bridge humbucker to sound the way people who've played Ibanezes with Tone Zones expected the Gen 1 to sound in a Fly.

A final note is that splitting to the inside coils of each humbucker is a pet-peeve of mine. I understand that some prefer it, but the fact that I don't makes them feel useful only as an emergency. This is why the first mod will be replacing the pickups and putting in a passive RC bass-cut for the bridge humbucker. Exploratory surgery will include replacing the capacitor on the volume pot with a proper RC high pass filter and replacing any components that can't be cleaned.

I know this won't get interesting until I start putting more toys in under the hood. We'll see how long this renovation drags out for.

User avatar
vjmanzo
Site Admin
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:35 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by vjmanzo » Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:53 pm

@mmmguitar, I think you’re currently in the lead for “funniest post” on this forum :lol: And I’ve now started a new punk band called “Foamy Piss” :P

Very exciting that you’ve acquired your favorite Fly!!! Interesting assessment of the pickups, and sorry to hear about the switches being as cheap as expected; I hate that. So, if I’m hearing you correctly, you feel like the Gen 2 bridge pickup is too muddy?

I think 2011 was about when they switched to the fixed 14” radius, and, wow: very interesting to hear that it has the chunky neck! I like thin-neck Flys, but I know some folks that would be all over that!
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:53 am

vjmanzo wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:53 pm
you feel like the Gen 2 bridge pickup is too muddy?
That's just me. I tend to prefer fairly low-output pickups (with high resonant peaks); and it's been my understanding that the Gen 2 pickups were formulated to compensate for complaints concerning the "thin" sound of Flys. Many have proven that Fly pickups of every generation can sound great - I'm just not one of them.

I play all kinds of neck shapes, but prefer the chunkier ones. Any time I shook Allan Holdsworth's hand, it was a bit of an identity crisis to know we had the same size hands, yet he played like he had ten fretting fingers! But we did at least share a preference for meatier necks and cask-conditioned beers.

User avatar
vjmanzo
Site Admin
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:35 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by vjmanzo » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:07 am

Gotcha—I also prefer low-output pickups.

Very interesting about Holdsworth—I saw him perform twice, and, man: what a monster player! In some regard, it’s a bit of a mystery what “feels” right to a given guitarist.
Fly Mojo '05, Fly Deluxe '07 w/Sustainiac, Fly Mojo '08 w/Sustainiac, Fly Concert '97, Fly Classic '03, Fly Deluxe '97, Fly Artist '10, Fly Deluxe Redwood '93, Fly Bass FB-4 '03, NiteFly NFV3 '97, Fly Mojo 12-string ‘11, Fly Concert ' 98, Fly Maple Custom '01, Fly Nylon '99, Fly Stealth '00 info

mmmguitar
Forum Veteran
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:25 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by mmmguitar » Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:20 pm

Case in point: Holdsworth tried a Ken-era Fly in (I believe) the 90s, and it scared him off stainless frets for 20 years. He claimed he could hear the strings "clicking" against the frets with every note. Then again, he was notoriously picky (He turned his nose up at the Vigier Shawn Lane once he was informed it had a 24.8" scale).

It wasn't until (Probably Jeff) Kiesel built him some headless prototypes to retain him as an endorser that he realized he "liked" stainless and EVO gold frets, and said as much in the video announcing the production models. No idea if it led him to reconsider the Fly. I doubt he ever would have gotten past the thin neck or it having a headstock.

User avatar
jb63
Forum Veteran
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:03 pm
Location: SLC

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by jb63 » Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:22 pm

mmmguitar wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:53 am

But we did at least share a preference for meatier necks and cask-conditioned beers.
HA! Yes, Alan loved a giant thick neck! His carvin models, pre-headless, feel like they are all neck. He also loved giant frets, so I'd imagine a Nitefly might have been his choice over a fly. I miss Alan so much, but there always seems to be a new video or interview to read from when he was alive.
just plain lost

hapsong
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:07 am

Re: 2011 Trans Honey Supreme

Post by hapsong » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:10 pm

and yes - I own a Carvin Holdsworth "Fat Boy" - the neck is huge! so much so that the guitar is unbalanced and tilts to the floor neck side if you're not holding it ..
2004 Fly Mojo Natural, 2008 Fly Artist Butterscotch, www.gregmatses.com

Post Reply