Fly Pickups (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Other)

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vjmanzo
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Fly Pickups (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Other)

Post by vjmanzo » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:55 am

The original Parker Flys produced in 1993 shipped with magnetic pickups based on the existing DiMarzio Air Norton (neck position), and ToneZone (bridge position); the Fly versions of these pickups were the same as the stock Dimarzio versions and simply had a different way of mounting to the Fly (through two of the pole pieces; see the manual for more info). These pickups, which are colloquially referred to as "Gen 1" pickups, are easily identifiable by the small, thin block lettering on the pickups themselves (shown below):
Fly_Pickup_Variants.jpg
Around 2001, the "Gen 2" DiMarzio" pickups (PHWP1BKL neck & PHWP2BKL bridge) were developed for the Fly and are identifiable by the larger lettering on the pickups themselves in one of two varieties (shown above). The Gen 2 pickups have a stronger output signal than the Gen 1 pickups.

The Fly Mojo (2003) was the first Fly to be outfitted with Seymour Duncan pickups (Jazz in neck and JB in bridge) though, prior to this, a handful of guitar shops, such as Ed Roman Guitars, offered services to route the pickup cavity of Fly guitars to accommodate non-OEM pickups. Around 2012, all Fly models were available with Seymour Duncan pickups (see "A Summary of Fly changes..." for more info).

One common complaint about Gen 1 pickups and Fly pickups in general are that they are "too cold" or "too hi-fi". Players who are unhappy with their stock pickups should experiment with adjusting the pickup height prior to replacing their pickups as your favorite and familiar pickups will invariably sound different in a Fly given its unique design.

Adjusting pickup height is easy to do: just loosen to hex-head screws in the pickup using the T-Wrench 3/32" Hex Adjustment Tool that came with your Fly. Loosening the screws will allow the pickup to move freely vertically if you pull it up or push it down. Experiment with the height that sounds best to you. Once you find a tone you like by moving the pickup closer or further from the strings, you just re-tighten the hex-head screws.

From the Fly manual: Each DiMarzio humbucking pickup is secured to the body by two hex-head screws. On the coil, closer to the bridge, the mounting screw is the screw under the B string. On the coil, closer to the neck, the mounting screw is the screw under the A string. Turn the screws clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. To adjust pickup height, unscrew both pickup mounting screws. Raise or lower your pickup to the desired position with your fingers. Retighten both pickup mounting screws flush with top of pickup. Do not over tighten.
On a Fly equipped with Seymour Duncan pickups, the screws to loosen are under the E strings.

The Fly pickups have a thin, soft foam cushion underneath the pickup, which can be removed if you feel that you need to lower the pickups even further.
Dimarzio_Gen2_pickups.jpg
Replacing pickups:
DiMarzio Pickups — Dimarzio will wind nearly any pickups in their lineup in a baseplate format that can be installed in a Fly

Seymour Duncan Pickups (for Fly Mojos and most post-2013 Flys) — Seymour Duncan humbuckers will fit any Fly with existing routing for Seymour Duncan pickups, which includes all Fly Mojos and most Flys made after 2013; you will need to carefully remove the mounting tabs from the side. A “trembucker”-spaced pickup must be used in the bridge position.
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

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Re: Fly Pickups (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Other)

Post by mmmguitar » Wed May 27, 2020 5:49 am

I never see this bit of trivia mentioned: The Gen 1 neck pickup, despite being based on an Air Norton, isn't actually "aired" in the same way Dimarzio airs their pickups. So you can add non-conductive spacers around the magnets to decrease inductance in the event that, say, lowering the pickups the maximum amount and removing the foam spacers in the rout is still too much output for one's tastes.

I mention this because I tried it before auditioning lower output F-spaced, double-hex Dimarzios in - and even aired those in the course of my tinkerings.

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Re: Fly Pickups (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Other)

Post by mmmguitar » Sat May 30, 2020 1:52 pm

I vaguely recall a thread on the old board about drilling holes in the pickup routs so that standard-length humbucker screws and/or polepieces could fit in the guitar once the baseplate was trimmed to fit. I believe it pertained to the now-obsolete Carvin H22 pickups, which had 22 (!) screws sticking out the baseplate. What I don't recall is if the bits in the poster's drill press were marked to 1/8" depth, or if they were even sufficient (As I recall, isn't there only about 1/4" of wood between the bottom of the neck rout and the CF?).

Don't worry - I'm not itching to mangle a Fly (and have swapped the same baseplates and hex screws between quite a few Dimarzio pickups to avoid doing so). But I am curious to know others' thoughts and experiences in forsaking their Gen 1s or 2s. For what it's worth, my two Flys currently have a Gravity Storm set (too much output for my tastes) and PAF Joe/PAF Pro-Lite (still not where I'd like it to be).

I understand that auditioning pickups is all part of the fun in tone-chasing, but it irks me that the Roland COSM pickup models I run each guitar's 13 pin-out into sound better to me than the "real" pickups.

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Re: Fly Pickups (Gen 1, Gen 2, and Other)

Post by vjmanzo » Sat May 30, 2020 2:59 pm

I have the Sustainiac driver (in my neck pickup cavity) secured with a single piece of 3M heavy-duty double-sided tape, and in order to get it to sit at the right height, my tech had to route about 5-6mm of wood. You do have some material to work with to accommodate pole pieces, but not much!

For what it’s worth: I am happy with the Gen 1 pick ups, and I do like the Gen 2 pickups as well, even though they’re a little bit hotter. My tastes have changed through the years, so, I was once content with the JB bridge pick up in my Mojo, and now I feel it’s a little too harsh; when we did the 12-string Fly Mojo mod a couple years back, I opted to swap the stock JB pickup out for the Hazz bridge (so, SD Jazz neck and bridge), and I really like that! The Jazz pickup on a Fly in the is really, in my opinion, a great warm sound.

I’m always curious to hear what others have Come up with regarding pickup experimentation. I really like Lace pickups, and I seem to recall that @billy installed one of this for someone in the neck position and just barely got away with it being secured to not a lot of wood!
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

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