A prototype PRS Silver Sky once owned and tested by Carlos Santana has gone up for sale on Reverb

A prototype PRS Silver Sky guitar (right) and Carlos Santana
(Image credit: Elena Di Vincenzo/Archivio Elena di Vincenzo/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images / Reverb)

A PRS Silver Sky John Mayer signature guitar that once belonged to Carlos Santana has gone up for sale on Reverb, but there’s a twist: this specific Silver Sky is dubbed “the birth, the mother, and blueprint of all the others that were built."

What makes this Silver Sky so important? Well, this particular Silver Sky is a prototype electric guitar, created when Mayer’s modernistic Stratocaster reimagining was still in development. 

According to the listing – which is verified by Paul Reed Smith himself – the early prototype guitar was distributed to Santana via the brand’s Artist Relations team sometime in the year before the guitar’s official release in 2018 in order to get his personal feedback on the prospective model.

The Silver Sky in question has also been affectionately named the “Magic” model owing to the “Magic” inscription that can be found on the inside of the pickguard. Apparently, during the Silver Sky development phase, only one or two prototypes received “Magic” status, and were the ones that would set the foundation for all other Silver Skys to come after it.

Not only that, the concept of the “Magic guitar” has been previously discussed by Mayer himself over the past few years. Specifically, Mayer told Guitar World back in 2018 that he hoped to eliminate the concept of the one-off “magic” guitar, hoping instead that his signature model would be magic every single time.

“I wanted to make a guitar that did away with the concept of ‘the magic guitar,'” Mayer said. “You know, the idea that you could play 10 different guitars of the same model, but only one would be magic. 

“I want all Silver Sky guitars to be great. I want them all to be magic,” he continued. “I don’t suspect I will ever really have a Number One Silver Sky, because all of them will be good. I wanted to eliminate that idea that one has magic wood and the other doesn’t. 

“The thinking was to build a well-designed instrument that would be consistent, no matter which one you played.”

Because of this, the spec sheet is identical to the Silver Sky we know today. That means there’s an alder body, a maple neck with a unique, John Mayer profile, and a 7.25” radius Indian rosewood fretboard, with the latter flashing small Bird inlays and 22 frets.

To our eyes, the maple neck here looks to be slightly more figured, but apart from that, it’s a standard Onyx Silver Sky, which also flashes 635JM single-coils, nickel hardware and, of course, the reverse PRS headstock.

The Reverb listing has also helpfully posted an email exchange the seller had with the PRS team, meaning the Silver Sky’s provenance as a Carlos Santana-owned tester model – and its like-for-like spec sheet – is confirmed.

The exchange also notes that the guitar never made it to the hands of Mayer, and was instead sent exclusively to Santana for his seal of approval. According to the listing, Paul Reed Smith had also said this particular model should be in the PRS Archive, and shouldn’t have made it out into the wild.

Owing to its pre-release provenance and the nature of its previous ownership, the “Magic” Silver Sky commands a fairly premium price tag. Specifically, it’s currently listed for $82,926, making it likely one of the most expensive Silver Skys on the market at the moment.

To find out more, head over to Reverb.

It's not the first time our attention has been grabbed by an especially unique example of Mayer's Silver Sky this year. Last month, Journey's Neal Schon showcased his own radical take on the template, which boasts a bridge humbucker and Floyd Rose tremolo.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.