LUNAR ICE… THE LATEST SILVER SKY
For 2021, Lunar Ice is the latest and second ever Limited Edition Silver Sky from PRS. Only 1,000 of these beauties were made available. In 2020 PRS released 500 Nebula finished Silver Sky guitars. It looks beautiful too but there is something about the lighter finish combined with the maple fret board that puts this one over the top.
We recently published a couple of demos on this awesome S-style guitar. Check them out HERE and the less talkie one HERE. The first vid is the Silver Sky played through a VOX AC10 C1 in a home environment. The second demo is in a studio environment using a 1972 Fender Super Reverb and a few pedals including the Japanese Classic Sustainer by Mt’Lab. More on that stomp box in another exclusive.
Here are the Silver Sky specs directly from the PRS website:
Frets 22 Bridge PRS Steel Tremolo
Scale 25.5" Tuners Vintage-Style, Locking
Neck Maple Hardware Nickel
Fretboard Maple Cap
Inlay Small Birds
Bridge 635JM One Volume and Two Tone Controls
Middle 635JM with a 5-Way Blade Switch
You Say Wha?
The fretboard radius? Oh yeah, the controversial 7.25” that most vintage Fender electric guitars have. I personally think that PRS and Mayer issuing the Silver Sky with this radius will improve the market for vintage and reissue Fender guitars with 7.25” radius fretboards. It feels great and comes out of the factory set up really well. No complaints. Kinda shows people what can be done there with that.
Silver Sky Frets
The fret wire? No idea. I lurked around a bit on the internet I found a couple of helpful leads. One guy (Qstick333) in a gearpage.net forum titled “Silver Sky Frets” in early 2020 mentioned he got an email response from PRS stating the fret wire is “close to 6230”. Dunlop 6230 is a vintage-sized wire used on early Fender models. They measure .043” tall and .078” wide. PRS kinda indicate that the frets are custom size and alloy. I would guess they are slightly taller than true vintage Fender frets. I don’t know… maybe I should pull a few out and measure them and report about it. Maybe not. They feel good but I do prefer the big frets on some of those Fender Custom Shop 50’s reissue Strats and Teles.
The Silver Sky neck is three pieces. The headstock is attached to the neck with a scarf joint. The fret board is a maple cap. For those that don’t know, a maple cap is a separate piece of maple that is the fingerboard or fret board. This is glued onto the neck.
Some history helps describe this. Until 1959 Fender used one piece maple necks. They carved the entire neck shape from one piece; front and back. The nitro finish on the fretboard was deteriorating quickly enough that Leo Fender looked for alternatives. He settled on a rosewood slab glued onto the maple neck. After a couple of years this "slab" became veneer. A lot of early decisions were cost related vs. tone related. In the late 60’s, with the introduction of more durable Polyurethane finishes being used, they began to offer maple fretboards again. This time the application was similar to the rosewood: glued on. This is why you do not typically see a skunk stripe on the back of rosewood or maple cap necks. The factory lays in the truss rod before applying the fretboard.
What's the Big Idea?
PRS and Mayer worked to modernize a Stratocaster. The inspiration for the Silver Sky is a sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster John Mayer purchased in 2004. It became one of his favorite guitars by 2012 hence became a go to for live performances.
The initial Silver Sky models released in 2018 came with a rosewood fretboard on a maple neck. The Profile of the neck was based on his favorite vintage strats including the 1964 sunburst strat mentioned earlier. The Maple fretboard versions were released in early 2020. I think at that time they updated the rosewood necks to be slightly larger (and with slightly larger frets) and used the original profile on the new ones with the maple boards. The neck on the Lunar Ice therefore should be the same profile as the original Silver Sky's of 2018. It's very comfortable and tapers slightly towards the nut.
The Body is alder like you would find on a 60's strat. The cut is very similar to a strat with the exception of an additional carve on the front of the lower bout giving slightly better access to the higher register frets. The finishes have changed over the years. I understand some are poly and some are nitro over poly.
The bridge is a tremolo style with bent steel saddles. The look very high quality. The tremolo arm pushes in versus screws in and has a set screw to ensure a snug fit with limited wiggle.
The pickups sound wonderful and are the result of trying to create an aged mid 60's single coil. The idea is that the vintage pickups lose a bit of their high end over time and soften a bit. That's what PRS was going for here with John's input.
The Silver Sky is a very well made and great sounding Strat knock-off. We love it clean and we love how it crunches. I'd recommend the experience to any Strat nut. It's a great guitar with its own slightly original take on the most copied electric guitar in history. Fender Strats are still simply amazing to hear, play and look at, but this is a nice departure.