John Mayer’s latest signature electric guitar – released with an unprecedented level of controversy.
John Mayer has had his fair share of signature models, and the latest guitar to bear his scribble, the PRS Silver Sky, is possibly the most controversial new guitar of any released in recent times. As news of its spec got out, the online guitar community was immediately up in arms, insulted by its resemblance to a Fender Stratocaster, and any player who dared to even point at a Silver Sky was open to the kind of abuse only the internet can impart. That said, it should have been of little surprise that Mayer, a long-time Strat fan who allegedly became ‘dissatisfied’ with what Fender were doing, would opt for something similar from another company.
There are several refinements to the classic Strat design that PRS have been poring over for several years, including three-a-side locking tuners and the f latter design of the five-way switch button. One truly inspirational idea is the subtle carve within the lower bout, or rather that it’s coloured in a slightly lighter shade of finish than that of the remainder of the body. This helps the contour to stand out in lower light and actually helps when playing the guitar when standing.
Other facets have been taken straight from Fenders of yore. And while the Silver Sky is hardly the first solid-body electric to be guilty of the supposed crime of brazenly borrowing from what’s gone before, it’s amusing to hear Paul
Reed Smith refer to the Stratocaster as “the other guitar” on the PRS website. The neck has been deliberately shaped to feel similar to Strats Mayer has played from 1963 and ’64, a concept aided by the distinctly Fendery 7.25-inch radius of the 22-fret fingerboard, and the trio of 635JM singlecoil pickups have been painstakingly designed to give the Silver Sky its complement of five vintageflavoured tones. A bone nut and flush-mounted bridge help keep the guitar in tune, and there’s no doubt that it is a sublime instrument that plays nicely and sounds great.
“The Silver Sky is my vision of what a reboot of the electric guitar should look and feel like,” Mayer pontificates, and at £2,299 it’s a whole lotta guitar.
However, with the price of an American 60s Fender Strat coming in at £1,639, the know-it-all online forums have wasted little time in pouring yet more vitriol on the PRS SilverSky, which really is a shame.