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  • Writer's pictureRyan

PRS Silver Sky | Building John Mayer's Tone (UPDATE 5/9/18)

I found some great information online about wiring and under-the-hood of the Silver Sky. I have to admit, I'm intrigued and it kept me up last night thinking about either building a wiring harness like the Silver Sky, or putting myself on the list :-)

Update: I noticed that I forgot to connect leg 3 on the volume pot -> Ground.

Update 5/9/18: Member tpadula from the John Mayer Tapatalk forums posted gut shots from his PRS Silver Sky built 4/13/18 and it appears to have a different resistor on the volume pot. His came with a 3.2MOhm and the Thomann video with a build date of 12-19-17 was 2.7MOhm. It begs the questions of when and why the changes? Could the influential YouTube reviews about the sound/pickups be invalid because of this change?

Also.... Interestingly, the pickup resistance differs (and averages 6.52kOhms) between the pickups on his.




hmm.. Anway.. Back to my original post below VVVV

PRS John Mayer Silver Sky Wiring Diagram

Here is my crued wiring diagram of a "V1" Silver Sky that was delivered to a dealer on this YouTube page. It's interesting that there is a fixed resistor dumping some signal to ground. It's more effective when the volume is low but I'm curious how much of a tonal difference 2.7m Ohm would have like this. I'm theorizing it's to cut down on some of the high frequencies and fine tune the output when the volume is at 10. John mentioned a few times that he likes the tone he gets when rolling off volume and tone and then compensating with pedals/amps. I have to agree this warms up the guitar a bit without over the top treble. It could also be an impedance thing although I'm not quite sure how that would make a difference tonally.

There is a lot that goes into what makes "tone" from a pickup and not just a measurement of resistance per pickup. As tempting as it is to go and buy the Klein '65 pickups that are all 6.4k like the Silver Sky is allegedly, there is more to it such as inductance and magnet strength. I also agree with PRS engineers about their lack of shielding in the body cavity. I do believe adding shielding is a double edge sword. It will decrease interference, but also shifts the magnetic strength map around in crazy ways. The way PRS did it, is like the 60's strats and the open body approach is interesting and likely a design que from the historic Stratocasters.

Here's some very specific information about the specs of the guitar from the official PRS forums.

  • Name: Silver Sky

  • Colors: Onyx, Tungsten, Horizon, Frost

  • Body: Alder (2 or 3 pieces)

  • Polyester base coat, Acrylic urethane top coat. (Standard for PRS)

  • Body shape inspired by DC3 and tradition

  • Scoop/finger carve: different color than rest of guitar body

  • Neck: Maple (scarf joint)

  • Nitrocellulose Finish

  • Fretboard: Indian Rosewood (Slab board)

  • Scale length: 25.5”

  • Nut: Bone, Width: 1 21/32”, width at body: 2 7/32”, Depth at nut: 53/64”

  • Radius: 7.25”

  • String Gauge: 10-46

  • Fret Wire: Tall/Narrow. Similar to Dunlop 6230

  • Neck shape: “JM” Carve. Between C & D. (Flat back - wide shoulders)

  • Inlays: Small Birds (synthetic)

  • Headstock: Upside down PRS, with kick-out on treble side for better access.

  • Pickups: PRS 635 JM proprietary Single Coil.

  • Output: 6.4k

  • Middle pickup reverse polarity for hum cancelling

  • All three pickups same specs

  • Switching: 5 Way (traditional-style)

  • Volume (Master), Tone (Neck/Middle), Tone (Bridge pickup)

  • Pots: 300k volume, 250K Tone

  • Bridge: All Steel. PRS Gen III-style plate, bent steel saddles

  • Gen III Knife Edge Screws

  • Same size screws as Gen III: height adjustment, intonation, trem arm screw.

  • Tuners: PRS Vintage-Style Locking w/ nickel cap screws

  • Pick Guard: White/Black/White

  • Truss Rod: PRS Dual action

  • Jack: Molded Zinc, Nickel plated.

  • Extra talking Points:

  • Paul guaranteed John that every guitar we make will sound as good as the guitars we built for John.

  • String Spacing is slightly wider than typical PRS spacing, but narrower than F spacing

  • First 500 ship in case with metal plate screwed to lid (lottery). All other will ship in gig bag.

  • No finish inside pickup routes so that the wood can breathe over time.

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