A car that looks good in the showroom
is one thing. The car that can do that and
handle well on the road gets my vote. But
before I put it through an amp, I put it
through my standard unplugged test. To be
honest, I was expecting a mousy tone with
such a light instrument, but I was pleasantly surprised. The unplugged tone was
clear and thick—always a good sign before
an amp is added.
Though the PB12 won’t necessarily get
you an upright sound, the nuance with
the piezo is a nice touch for the most
discerning of studio players.
Giving the bass some time through both
an Eden CXC-300 combo and a Gallien-Krueger MB800 head powering an Ampeg
B- 18 cab, I started things out by soloing all
three pickups. The neck’s P-style pickup did
exactly what it’s supposed to do, pumping
out a tight, fat tone that did the bass justice
right away. Using only the neck pickup, I
A/B’d the PB12 with a ’ 78 Fender P bass
(which weighed almost twice as much).
The Parker only lacked a little bit of the P’s
mass, which, of course, is to be expected
with the weight difference. Otherwise, the
classic tone from the MaxxFly was not that
far off—close enough to probably sway
The bridge pickup sort of baffled me.
I had fully expected to hear my best Flea
licks rage out of the Music Man-style EMG
MM, but with no such luck. Rolling the
EQ all the way up did help the tone some-
what, but with the EQ set flat, the sound
was a bit thinner than I would like. That
said, don’t let the lack of stand-alone power
from the MM pickup throw you: I got to
the most useful tones with both pickups
cranked, but rolling off the neck pickup
just a touch also got me closer to the big,
Music Man-esque sound I was pining for.
With our economy showing signs of life, I
can understand why Parker would roll out
an instrument with such a hefty price tag.
But just like a Jaguar or Mercedes, it was
not built for everyone. This MaxxFly PB12
has captured all that Parker is famous for,
from its in-house-designed bridge all the
way up to the signature headstock. The
forward design of the bass is intriguing and
downright fun to play. This willowy, body-hugging bass will not give you fits during a
marathon gig, and the tonal range is wide
enough to please just about everyone. The
MaxxFly really is a blend of modern and
vintage, making it quite a useful instrument. But for the money, you had better be
sure this bass is for you.
RATINGS Pros: Stylish, modern, and refined aesthetics. Nice array of available tones. Parker Guitars MaxxFly PB12, $5,999 street, parkerguitars.com