The SE Silver Sky – An affordable John Mayer model by PRS Guitars￼
Thiery Laverdure | January 28, 2022
It feels like it was just yesterday when PRS Guitars first announced the Silver Sky, a guitar crafted in close collaboration with Grammy Award-winning musician John Mayer. After developing the guitar for several years, Paul Reed Smith announced the new model on March 5th, 2018. Right away, the guitar made waves across the internet as a hot topic amongst John’s fans.
Sure, you’d expect the guitar to be popularized by his celebrity status, but many fans, myself included, were kind of shocked to see John embrace a guitar from a brand other than Fender. For most of his career, John primarily played Fender guitars for their vintage sound and feel. However, somewhere along the way I believe John wanted something fresh so he joined forces with his long-time friend Paul Reed Smith. Together they set out to build a guitar that captured their favorite elements of the 1963 and 1964 instruments. They accomplished this by blending the warmth and sonic character of vintage guitars with modern references in aesthetics and features typically not found on traditional vintage guitars.
Hear it from John himself:
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
The PRS SE Line
PRS guitars have been in the game for a while and for good reason. Smith founded the company in 1985, and today they are recognized as one of the most well-known guitar manufacturers in the world. While I’m sure the company has lasted over the years partly due to their reputation as a premier manufacturer building high-quality and custom guitars, I believe their willingness to offer products at multiple price points has bolstered their success. This kind of move not only allows greater audiences to experience their products, but it also ensures their legacy can be carried on.
The guitars in SE range, while more affordable, play and feel well beyond their value.
What’s different about the SE and American Silver Sky?
The main difference between the SE model and the American model is going to be cost. The greater the cost to manufacture the guitar, the greater the cost to you the buyer. When you look at the different models you’ll notice that they share the same shape, contour, and layout. The things that are most different are going to be the quality of the materials when it comes to wood selection, paint, electronics, and hardware. Some of these items will impact the tone of the guitar but areas like paint and finish are simply for looks. The American version retails for about $2,549, and you can find varying editions that have different finishes ranging from $3,000 -$10,000. The SE model on the other hand retails for about $849.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs to view some of the major differences:
|SE Silver Sky||Silver Sky|
|Bridge||2-Point Steel Tremolo||PRS Steel Tremolo|
|Nut||PRS (Synthetic Bone)||Bone|
|Color Body/Fretboard Options||4||13|
Depending on what these differences add up to, you may find yourself buying the more expensive guitar, but I think many musicians would be well pleased with the value that the SE Silver Sky offers.
Should you buy the SE Silver Sky?
Wondering if you should buy this guitar? If you’re asking me, the answer to that question will always be yes. You can never have too many guitars 😅.
On a more practical level, here are 8 reasons why the SE Silver Sky would be a good addition to your collection:
- You’re a fan of John Mayer and want a guitar that was built to his specifications. Buying this guitar is a great way to obtain a John Mayer type of tone.
- You’re looking for a modern guitar that has vintage tonal qualities.
- You want a guitar that is made with exceptional quality but won’t break the bank.
- You really love the colors that are only available on the SE Silver SKY: Dragonfruit, Ever Green, Moon White, or Stone Blue.
- You love the 635JM neck shape but don’t want to spend north of $2K for the American model.
- You want a guitar with beautiful sounding 635JM Pickups that sound great in all 5 positions.
- While this guitar would fare well with many different styles of playing it will stand out exceptionally when playing rock, blues, and funk.
- You’re learning to play guitar for the first time and want a guitar that will make the experience enjoyable. Trust me, the feeling of a guitar can determine the outcome of your learning journey.
If you have this guitar we’d love for you to share your thoughts with our community. Please leave a comment below!
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