Ignore the haters, believe the hype, the Silver Sky is my new favorite guitar.
I have wanted to try this guitar since it was announced so I cannot thank Jeanne from PRS enough for loaning me this for review!
Overview & Final Score: 9.8
Yeah, so before anyone accuses this of being a paid ad I received zero dollars and zero guitars from PRS for doing this, I just freakin love this guitar.
John Mayer’s signature PRS Silver Sky was a divisive guitar when it first hit the open market, as many claimed it was just a high end Fender Strat with a PRS headstock. Since then, pretty much everyone who has picked one up has fallen in love with the guitar and PRS even released new finishes and neck options at Winter NAMM 2020 to great fanfare.
The 2020 Silver Sky I was sent contains the new Maple fretboard atop a Maple neck, joined to an Alder body. 22 frets with bird inlays grace the 7.25″ radius fretboard on this 25.5″ scale length beauty. While I was told I was originally getting an Orion finish, it seems I have been playing a “Golden Mesa” model that has completely captured my heart. PRS’s tightly guarded 635JM pickups that are only found on the Silver Sky power this SSS configured electric. The key differences between these pickups and classic Strat pickups? They are noiseless (something I saw first hand) and have some of the brightness and treble suppressed as John Mayer himself shared that he wanted to “take out a lot of those frequencies that you sort of have to work to roll off”.
The rest of the wiring and controls are pretty much standard Strat layout, with the volume – tone – tone and 5-way selector switch we all know and love. A steel tremolo bridge that only works when pushed down, is paired with locking, vintage-style tuners and a bone nut for supreme tuning stability.
The pickups are so subtly different from a vintage or high end American-made Strat, making it easy to morph the Silver Sky’s tones into both familiar and new directions. Chords, arpeggios, single notes, they all ring out very clear from the Silver Sky. It is just as articulate, if not more articulate, than the Fender Ultra Strat I reviewed last December. Up until this, that was the best guitar I’ve reviewed.
The neck setting is smooth as butter and obviously, I pulled a ton of John Mayer’s amazing lead tones out of it and the 4th position. However, the Silver Sky is not limited to just being John Mayer’s guitar, something that the popularity and sales record clearly displays.
Pretty much any premium Strat tone was achievable through my rig with this guitar. I went from John Frusciante to The Edge to Jimi Hendrix with ease. In many ways, the Silver Sky is just an upgraded, modern take on the Strat. This is not unlike the Ultra Series, but while the Ultra Series focused on showcasing S1 switching, neck heel contours, and fancy finishes, the Silver Sky feels like a more genuine next step for the Stratocaster.
Layers of drive and distortion produced rich, harmonic sounds that felt more vintage than modern. Of course, these single coil pickups are more percussive and chimey than thick and sustaining, like you would get with humbuckers on a heavier, slab guitar like a Les Paul. The Silver Sky is a superb sounding Strat guitar, through and through.
When it comes to playability, the neck of the PRS 2020 Silver Sky did not disappoint one bit. The 22 frets are just as they should be in this price point: smooth, fret buzz free, and immaculately landscaped. The locking tuners, bone nut, and bridge had this guitar in tune from the minute I unzipped the gig bag. No exaggeration, when I crack it open after it arrived it was 99% perfectly tune, the G string just needed the slightest turn. Needless to say, it hasn’t gone out of tune yet. The neck also feels like it has ever so slightly rolled edges, making power chords feel a bit more comfortable. This also allows for players to reach their thumb around the low E string easier for that Jimi Hendrix (and John Mayer) style of playing.
Finish & Construction: 10
There wasn’t a screw out of place or a scratch on the guitar once I unboxed it. And thank god, because every time I open up one of these really expensive guitars I get nervous that today is going to be the day I get sent a dud. But PRS’s QA/QC seems to be reliable, it really is just a lightweight and well built guitar. The pickups are truly noiseless, the tuning stability is phenomenal, the finish is beautiful and feels strong without having that thick layering that can be heavy or poorly sprayed on. The “Golden Mesa” finish is gorgeous, though I definitely would have gone for a green or blue color had I purchased this guitar and had a choice. I see no reason to be concerned, the Silver Sky feels and sounds stage ready and built to last.
You didn’t think I’d give it a perfect 10 did you? No matter the quality, I’m always going to be hesitant about rating a $2000+ brand new guitar as a perfect value. Even the Fender Ultra Strat costs less than this, and is about 95% the guitar this is. That being said, this guitar does have the feel, sound, and soul that I would expect from a pre-CBS Fender. It’s an excellent value and no one should be disappointed when they receive and plug in their Silver Sky. I think the Silver Sky will be the best value as your main guitar, you should be purchasing this to be a heavily used and loved studio, live, or bedroom instrument as it is built to chase that one, perfect electric guitar design.
Good for: Blues, Classic Rock, Pop, Studio Musicians, Gigging Musicians, Stratocaster Fans
Per usual, expect a UG review of this about a week or so after this article and hit Instagram to hear a few sounds from the PRS Silver Sky!