Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 122

VG

GEAR

STRATOSPHERIC
The PRS Silver Sky

P

aul Reed Smith has for years experimented with Leo-inspired concepts,
and his newest guitar, conceived in collaboration with rocker John Mayer, lands
squarely in that traditional single-coil
solidbody arena. But while the Silver Sky
may resemble the venerable Fender archetype, it has Smith's design fingerprints all
over it.
Sure, some of its specs are "familiar"
- alder body, bolt-on maple neck, 22-fret
rosewood fingerboard, 25.5" scale, and 7.25"
fretboard radius. But beyond those basic
elements, it steps away from vintage Fender
with its new 635JM pickups, voiced to be
clear and chiming without brittle high-end,
and a five-way pickup selector that offers
noise-free settings in positions 2 and 4.
Controls include a master Volume at the
top of the array, a Tone knob for the middle
and neck pickups in the center, and a treble
roll-off at bottom.
The steel vibrato bridge has three springs
in the back and PRS' Gen III knife-edge
screws on the front plate. Interestingly,
though, it's set up as a "dive only" vibrato
- a request from Mayer himself, the philosophy being that direct contact between
the back of the bridge and the body helps
transmit tone and resonance better than
a floating vibrato. However, the unit can
be converted to float. Also notable is how
PRS flipped its trademark headstock to
accommodate Mayer's playing style. An
added benefit is the resultant consistency in
string lengths behind the nut, which helps
the guitar better stay in tune. The locking
tuners with silver buttons and a silver truss
cover go with the theme, and while some
will balk at the three-and-three headstock,
it's purely an aesthetic concern. In terms
of functionality, the headstock, pitch, and
locking tuners ensure the Silver Sky delivers
superior intonation and tuning.
The biggest innovation on the Silver Sky,
however, is somewhat unexpected; the heel.
Rather than a standard "block," it has a
curved heel under the 17th fret, which allows the player to grab all 22 with shocking
ease - it's more like an SG, Flying V, or PRS

Custom 22. One quickly realizes they
have far more upper-fret access than
with the typical Strat.
The Silver Sky can be had in four
colors - Onyx, Frost, Horizon (red),
and Tungsten (silver). The lower horn
scoop has a fun finish tweak in the
form of a slightly different tint than
the main body. The fingerboard
bears PRS' iconic bird inlays.
Our tester Silver Sky's neck was
set up with fast, low action and
perfectly dressed frets. The carve -
based on a pair of Mayer's favorite
Strats from the '60s - has a full D
shape and is very comfortable. The
guitar was tested with a combo tube
amp and overdrive pedal. Tonally,
it's big, clear, and airy when played
clean, and fat and resonant with
overdrive kicked on,
so it'll cover ever y t hing f rom
Buddy Holly and
Hank Marvin
to Jeff Beck and
Stevie Ray, no
problem.
Wit h PR S'
take on a classic
solidbody design,
Smith and Mayer
have added a few
tweaks and innovations that will grab
the attention of a lot
of players. There's
so much to dig
with this guitar,
but most are
sure to keep
going back
to that neck
heel a nd
amazing
upper-fret
reach, which
changes
everything. -

Pete Prown

VINTAGE GUITAR

122

July 2018

Price: $2,299
Info: www.
prsguitars.com


http://www.prsguitars.com http://www.prsguitars.com http://vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open

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