The original Silver Sky was designed in conjunction with John Mayer to elevate a familiar guitar aesthetic with PRS Guitars' world-renowned innovation. That collaboration is now making its way into the SE line with the goal of delivering a more affordable version of the Silver Sky—with all the same PRS quality! The SE Silver Sky features a lightweight poplar body loaded with a trio of 635JM "S" pickups to deliver all the glassy highs and round bottom end that you'd expect out of a classic three single-coil configuration. Nick Jennison gives us the rundown.
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited PRS release since the original Silver Sky in 2018, the SE Silver Sky has had the internet rumour mill humming for years now. Given how good the original is, the prospect of a more affordable version is very appealing - if it's any good, that is.
Built-in Indonesia by Cor-Tek under PRS's watchful eye, the SE line of guitars never disappoints, but they often come with some design compromises to keep the price reasonable - flat tops in lieu of violin carves, different hardware, different construction methods etc. What makes the SE Silver Sky unique in this regard is how similar it is to its big brother. The body style, headstock, neck carve… even cosmetic elements like the switch cap, knobs, jack plate and tuner buttons are the same as the core model.
There are some key differences, however. The neck comes in a satin finish rather than a nitro gloss, and the fretboard radius is slightly flatter at 8.5" rather than 7.25". The frets are also a little taller compared to my 2018 model. The nut is synthetic bone rather than the bone nut found on the core model, and the body is poplar rather than alder. What's interesting is that none of these changes seem to be "cost-cutting" efforts to use standard SE parts, materials and tools, since none of these specs or materials appear on any of the other SE line of guitars. Regardless, the overall effect is a Silver Sky that's a little less "specialised" than the core model.
Tones come courtesy of three 635JM "S" pickups, which are east Asian made versions of the pickups found on the core model, and in a side-by-side comparison with the originals, they stack up impressively well. The covers may not look quite as handsome as the core models, but the sounds are killer. If you're unfamiliar with the Silver Sky sound, it's bigger and fatter than your typical Strat, with a fuller low end and slightly more rolled off high end, but there's still plenty of that 60s single-coil character.
Playability-wise, the SE Silver Sky comes set up with a fairly "manly" action, but it was trivially easy to bring this down to my preferred 1mm action height, without a buzz or choke anywhere on the fretboard. If anything, the flatter fretboard and taller frets make the SE model even easier to play than the core version!
To my mind, the SE Silver Sky is the Silver Sky for everyone - it's a little less specialised, significantly more affordable, and still exceptional in its tone, playability and quality.
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