"It's been a dream of mine for years to design a guitar that includes some of my favorite vintage specifications but with a modern spirit and aesthetic. After two years of study and refinement, the Silver Sky is my vision of what a reboot of the electric guitar should look and feel like." – John Mayer
ONLY THE GOOD
The PRS Silver Sky is the result of a close collaboration between Grammy Award-winning musician John Mayer and Paul Reed Smith. More than two and half years in the making, the Silver Sky is a vintage-inspired instrument that is at once familiar but also newly PRS through and through. This model was based off of Mayer and Smith’s favorite elements from 1963 and 1964 vintage instruments, resulting in creation of an ideal version of the vintage single-coil guitar. The critical attention that was paid to every detail of build truly sets this guitar apart.
DETAIL THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
1. Body Shape: The body shape design began with the PRS DC3 model and was tweaked repeatedly until both Mayer and Paul were happy with the overall shape.
2. Pickguard: The pickguard design was developed from that body shape and was tweaked several times before it was “right."
3. Neck: We measured the necks on both 1963 and 1964 vintage instruments that John and Paul had. PRS took what they liked from all of them, used PRS''s neck design technology, and made what they feel is the best vintage-feeling neck they could.
a. The neck is a 22-fret bolt-on maple neck with a slab East Indian rosewood fretboard and small birds
b. Scale length = 25.5"
c. Fretboard radius = 7.25"
d. Frets = PRS Acoustic frets, which are slightly larger than vintage frets but slightly smaller (in height and width) than what is found on most PRS electrics.
e. Neck Shape = 635JM carve
Nut Width 1 21/32"
Neck Width at the Body 2 7/32"
Neck Depth at the Nut 53/64"
4. Nut: The Silver Sky features a bone nut. Everything on an instrument that touches the strings has the ability to enhance or detract from the strings' vibration. We spec'd a bone nut on this instrument to promote sustain and response, set in using hide glue.
5. Tuners: The tuners are a traditional vintage-style, closed-back tuner, but with all the PRS “tweaks" used on their proprietary tuners. These have PRS buttons, brass washers, and locking mechanism. Sometimes vintage tuners don't work very well – they have trouble staying in tune and the design to hold the tension was not consistent (therefore the sustain suffered). PRS tweaks address these issues.
6. Headstock Shape: The headstock design came about because with Mayer's style of playing, he needed some extra clearance on the underside just past the nut. What he discovered was by flipping the PRS trademark shape, he got that clearance and an exclusive look for his signature model. The added benefit of this design is that it maintains a good length of string behind the nut, which helps the guitar stay in tune.
7. Truss Rod: This model features the PRS double action truss rod, but the adjustments can be
made at the front of the headstock, which experience has shown makes for easier access.
8. Trademark Scoop: Mayer's signature model features the trademark PRS lower-horn scoop.
Exclusive to Mayer's model, the scoop on these initial colors also has a contrasting tone:
a. Tungsten (silver) = scoop is slightly darker
b. Onyx (black) = scoop is Tungsten
c. Frost (white) = scoop is pearlescent
d. Horizon (red) = scoop is slightly darker
9. Pickups and Electronics: PRS has a long history of naming pickups after the year that inspired their tone. For these, like the neck shape, it was a mix of 1963 and 1964, so the 635 (“six thirty-five") name came from thinking of that as 1963 ½. The 635JM pickups were designed to sound like vintage pickups but use everything PRS has learned to make them the best they could be.
a. The sometimes “ice-picky" sound that vintage single coils can have has been addressed beautifully, so these pickups maintain a musical high end.
b. The signal-to-noise ratio is higher. The in-between sounds on this instrument are noise canceling; the individual single-coil sounds are not. The higher the signal to noise ratio is, the more differential there is between the actual volume of the guitar pickups and the normal single-coil pickup hum and noise.
c. There is consistency from pickup to pickup and guitar to guitar due to our construction methods that takes the guessing game out of finding a magic instrument. This is in part because the electronics have been “precision valued."
d. The tone controls are a bit of a different set up…The center knob controls the bass and middle pickups together. The rear tone control is for the treble pickup.
10. Bridge: The bridge is a steel tremolo that has been completely retooled. Much like the tuners, it is a classic design, incorporating a lot of what PRS has learned over the years.
a. The arm is PRS's design, so it is unthreaded and features a small set screw that allows the player to customize the feel of the arm and find a comfortable playing position. It also does not break off in the bridge like some older tremolo designs.
b. PRS uses Gen III knife-edge screws on the front of the plate that help ensure the bridge returns to pitch.
c. At John Mayer's request, the Silver Sky tremolo bridges are setup differently than PRS normally sets up tremolo guitars. PRS's standard set-up allows for the tremolo to go up in pitch a little bit and down in pitch a lot. This instrument is set-up so that the back edge of the tremolo plate rests on the body in the neutral position and the tremolo bridge only goes down in pitch. The reason for this type of tremoloset-up is so that the bridge plate is in contact with the body in the at-rest position. This helps with how loud the guitar is acoustically and improves the signal to noise ratio of the single coil pickups.
11. Jack Plate: No detail is too small. The jack plate on the Silver Sky has been redesigned to be a molded metal plate that is curved so the guitar cable is easy to plug and unplug.
12. Strap Buttons: “Don't fix it if it ain't broke." The Silver Sky's strap buttons are PRS's standard strap buttons, which were based on a used headstock string tree from an old bass guitar model.