John Mayer and Paul Reed Smith have officially released the “PRS John Mayer Silver Sky” for public consumption. The new custom-model electric guitar is the result of an extensive collaboration process between the multiple Grammy-winning solo artist/Dead & Company guitarist and the renowned master luthier.
— prsguitars (@prsguitars) March 5, 2018
The gloss-finished, solid alder body guitar sports a 25.5″ scale maple neck with 22-fret, 7.25″ radius rosewood fretboard, and Mayer’s signature single-coil pickups. As the guitar’s product description on Musician’s Friend notes:
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 an idealized version of a vintage single-coil guitar. The attention that was paid to every detail sets this guitar apart.
Some of the more distinctive specifications include the headstock shape, tuners, neck and fretboard, bridge, and pickups and electronics. The headstock shape is based on PRS’s trademark design, but inverted to both accommodate Mayer’s playing style and also to keep a consistent length of string behind the nut, which makes staying in tune easier. The tuners are a traditional vintage-style, closed-back tuner, but with PRS’s locking design. The neck shape was modeled after 1963/1964 vintage instruments, and the fretboard has a 7.25” radius. The moment your hand grabs this neck, it just feels right.
Like the tuners, the steel tremolo takes a classic design and incorporates PRS’s trem arm and Gen III knife-edge screws. The bridge on the Silver Sky is setup flush to the body in the neutral position so that the tremolo bridge only goes down in pitch. By keeping the bridge in contact with the body, the guitar itself is acoustically louder, which improves the signal to noise ratio of the single-coil pickups. The 635JM single-coil pickups are very round and full, with a musical high end that is never “ice-picky” or brash.
Other high-quality specifications include a bone nut, a molded metal jack plate that is curved and makes plugging and unplugging a guitar cable hassle-free, retooled knobs, fretwire that is slightly smaller than what you’d find on most PRS electric guitars, and PRS’s double action truss rod (accessible from the front of the headstock for ease of use).
Of course, even those with a cursory knowledge of guitars will notice the PRS John Mayer Silver Sky’s resemblance to Fender‘s iconic Stratocaster. Mayer has played a Strat throughout most of his career, and in the early 2000s, he partnered with Fender to make his own John Mayer Signature Stratocaster Series, released in 2005.
As Reverb explains, The John Mayer Signature series became a mainstay of the Fender Artist series lineup. Many customers particularly praised the “Big Dipper” single-coil pickups that came standard with the Mayer model Strats, as they sold for a premium on their own.
However, Mayer had a falling-out with Fender in 2014 due to his perception that the quality of their products had declined. In a pair of tweets, he explained,
Heads up to anyone thinking about owning my signature Fender Stratocaster, they’re no longer being made and I’m no longer a Fender artist. … I love Fender guitars and will continue to play them, but the fact is that the company as it is today isn’t the same one I started with.
Mayer gave the world an early taste of his custom PRS build during his solo tour stop in Boston last spring. You can see/hear Mayer in action on his new PRS model below:
John Mayer – “Moving On and Getting Over” – 4/9/17
[Video: Matt Frazier]
The PRS John Mayer Silver Sky is available now in Onyx (black), Tungsten (silver), Horizon (red), and Frost (white) finishes. You can purchase one here.