When John Mayer and PRS finally unveiled the former’s signature axe, the Silver Sky, reactions were mixed. It’s a Strat by another name, said many. Well, in a new video, the bluesman demonstrates why that isn’t quite the case.
In the video originally live-streamed on Instagram, Mayer describes the inspiration for the Silver Sky, explains how it differs from a typical Stratocaster and elaborates upon his relationship with Fender. You’ll want to settle down to take in the entire 40-minute (not a typo!) clip.
According to the guitarist, the Silver Sky aims to be a ‘reboot’ of not just a Strat, but electric guitars in general. “It’s sort of a higher-definition Strat to me,” Mayer says. “I wanted to go in and take out a lot of those frequencies that you sort of have to work to roll off. They’re not there now; they’re just gone. So they’re tuned a different way.”
The Silver Sky’s tone circuitry is hugely responsible for that. Most Strats, Mayer says, have a tone knob that really only yields three settings: wide open, rolled off and “unusably dark.” But on the Silver Sky, the tone control is way more nuanced, “almost like studio gear,” he added. On ten, there’s an extra treble kick; on nine, you lose just a little high-end.
“On my old Strat, I would turn the tone knob down to five,” Mayer says. “Because from five to ten, [there was] a frequency in there I wasn’t a fan of. I wanted [five] to be the starting range, because there’s so much extra high-end harmonic stuff I didn’t really like.”
And Mayer even panders to his guitar-playing fans. When demonstrating the neck-middle pickup combination, he uses one of his most iconic tunes that many players consider the epitome of that pickup selection: “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.”
Watch the full clip here, or skip ahead to 8:31 to hear “Slow Dancing”:
For more information on the Silver Sky, check out prsguitars.com.