Are we about to see an evolutionary leap in the design of John Mayer’s much talked about PRS signature guitar, the Silver Sky? Mayer has been spotted onstage with Dead & Company playing a prototype Silver Sky that augments the controversial but brilliant S-style with a host of new specs.
It is not unusual to see Mayer using a prototype, and that said prototype has offered a trailer of electric guitars to come, but this is more than simply a variation on a theme and a fresh lick of paint to get the internet talking.
These appointments give the Silver Sky some of the same qualities that Jerry Garcia’s iconic Alligator Stratocaster has, with a brass nut, brass string retainer, and a retrofitted bridge that swaps out the Silver Sky’s vintage-style vibrato for what looks to be a PRS Patented Tremolo with fitted with brass intonation screws.
• PRS SE Silver Sky review
The exemplary build and a voice that offers an immersive trip through classic Strat-inspired guitar tones makes the SE Silver Sky a seductive and affordable version of one of the 21st century's most successful guitar designs.
What’s really interesting about this is that there are is no back plate, no tremolo springs; Mayer is using this as a hardtail. Again, this is very much in keeping with the whole ‘gator vibe.
Notably Mayer’s new Silver Sky also has an Alembic Blaster output jack, which is mounted to the front of the guitar. This is a buffer/boost, activated via a toggle switch, that can compensates for any treble roll-off when using long guitar cable runs.
It can be used as a straight boost, however, with an internal trim pot that allows you to set the Blaster for between 3 and 14dB of boost. In keeping with the brass theme, the Blaster’s mounting plate is made of solid brass. These Alembic Blaster jack units can be found on Garcia’s Alligator Strat.
In August 2022, Fender launched a Masterbuilt Custom Shop replica of the Alligator Strat, limited to 100 units worldwide. It was Graham Nash who gifted the original to Strat to Garcia, which took its name from the alligator sticker on the pickguard – one of the least invasive mods on guitar that had been Frankensteined over the years.
Back to Mayer’s Silver Sky prototype: Note the Advanced Research Division sticker underneath the bridge in these pics from the John Mayer Gear Instagram page – it’s a little harder to see than on his previous Silver Sky prototypes.
Other details include a Moc Sand finish that shows you the grain of the body underneath. It looks like an eggshell finish but it is hard to tell from the pictures.
Despite all this, it does seem unlikely that this would become a production model, no matter how many players might declare an interest in owning a hardtail version of the Silver Sky. You can watch Mayer put it through its paces in the video above, as Dead & Company play New Minglewood Blues at Cornell University, New York.