John Mayer explains why there will never be a sunburst PRS Silver Sky

Earlier this year, we saw the debut of new Midnight Rose and Polar Blue colors for John Mayer’s PRS Silver Sky electric guitar, as well as a super-cool – and super-limited – Nebula “flip-flop” finish.

But one thing we’ll never see, apparently, is a sunburst Silver Sky.

In a new interview, PRS founder Paul Reed Smith asks Mayer if he would ever consider collaborating on a Tobacco Sunburst Silver Sky, to which Mayer answers, “No. I don’t want a Tobacco Sunburst Silver Sky.”

PRS SIlver SKy

(Image credit: Marc Quigley/PRS Guitars)

As for why, he continues, “I’ve said it before, but what I like to do is go, ‘Okay, what are the things that a company is beholden to because that’s the way they’ve always done it?’ ‘What are the things I can take from it and go, well, here are the things I love about the guitar and I want to move it forward?’

“And there’s nothing else in the world that is sunburst anymore. You would see a chest of drawers that were sunburst. You’d see an old Zenith standalone standup radio that was sunburst.

“So I look at it and I go, if I want to go futuristic – not futuristic, but modern – well, where else is there a sunburst thing? And you could also say the same thing for tortoiseshell, but you do see tortoiseshell sunglasses, glasses, you still see combs. There are tortoiseshell things.”

As for where he might take the Silver Sky in the future, Mayer hints towards a few classics from history, as well as taking influence from modern-day designs.

“I love the surf colors,” he says. “I love Sonic Blue. Surf Green. Coral Pink. Shoreline Gold. I love those. And you know, when we were digging into Silver Sky, part of it for me was like, ‘What’s coming with it into the future and what’s not?’ And what are things that people will keep doing because, well, that’s the way we’ve done it?

“What about the laptop I’m on now – Space Grey?” he continues. “I can relate to that more than I relate to something that’s sunburst. What about Tesla colors?”

Elsewhere in the interview, Mayer dives into the “different demeanors” of humbucker players vs. single-coil players.

“Because they were into different bands, which were from different cultures and they had different attitudes, they’re almost like different behaviors,” he muses. “Have you ever noticed this? Isn’t that wild?”

Smith concurs. “It’s really hard to get a single-coil solo pickup to sound extraordinary if there’s too many people in the band. The band’s gotta leave you a lot of room.”

“Hence Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble [and] the Jimi Hendrix Experience,” Mayer responds.

For more of the gospel according to John, check out the full PRS "Long Distance" interview above.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.