THE PRS SILVER SKY SE HAS ARRIVED
PRS has launched the more affordable Silver Sky SE. This model has most of the same attributes the US core model has. Some differences are:
• Retails at $849.00 vs. $2,549.00 • 8.5" fretboard radius as apposed to 7.25"
• Poplar wood body versus the Alder • Polyurethane finish in four unique colors to this model versus nitrocellulose and all the other colors.
• two point tremolo bridge versus the six screw mount in the original
• the 635JM S pickups (S for the SE model) apparently have a slight bite over the 635JM's found in the core model.
• The neck profile is that of the original Silver Sky before the modification on the 2020 Rosewood models.
• The body routing in the SE version is more like a Fender than the US core model. This is because the PRS US version of the pickups us a different bobbin shape than Fender. They rout the body specifically to fit these bobbins. You cannot put Fender Strat style pickups in the PRS unless you remove material from the body or the bobbin. The Silver Sky SE uses a bobbin similar to what we see in S-Style single coil guitars. So I believe you will be able to swap pickups in the import version much easier than the US model. The image to the right is the underside of the PRS Silver Sky (US core model).
The waiting list at most retailers has delivery in a couple of months so obviously this has been a successful launch. I must say at 849.00 we are totally interested in getting one and checking it out in person.
Since we do not have a SE in our possession yet I have read articles and watched videos to get a sense of this less expensive version of core model. We do have the maple fretboard Silver Sky and thoroughly enjoy it. You can check out our two part demos here and here.
In our research we came across this interview with Greg Koch and Paul Reed Smith at NAMM 2020. Greg was noodling on a Silver Sky and states: "This guitar sounds magnifico." Then he plays some more and asks, "why does it sound so damn good?" Paul goes into a storey about painstakingly trying to mimic the pickups from a 1963 Fender Stratocaster that John Mayer favors. He goes on to say no matter what he did he couldn't get the prototypes to sound or match the output of the vintage Fender pickups. He calls in engineers etc etc.. The bottom line is he put a lot of resources into the Silver Sky pickups. It seems to have paid off because they are now well regarded.
In this video on Tim Pierce Guitar, published March 2018, Tim Pierce and Aiden Scrivens A/B a 1965 Fender Stratocaster and a PRS Silver Sky. Tim basically determines that the Silver Sky gives delivers the tone and dynamics of the Fender but with better consistency across the strings and between the pickups at a fraction of the price.
Ok so why is all this important for the SE model? I think it is important because of this statement made to YouTuber and Musician Tom Butwin when he enquired to PRS about the pickups. It went like this:
Tom Butwin: What does the "S" indicate on the SE's pickups and how do they compare to the 635JMs in the core?
PRS: They are based on the Maryland-made pickups that we make here and use on the USA model, but they are made by the same folks in indonesia who make all our SE pickups. We add the "S" to pickups to designate that they are not made here in Maryland.
When developing the 635JM"S" pickups with our overseas manufacturing partner, we actually brought their materials in house and reverse engineered the 635JM's that make here. They are a version fo the same pickup, but we find they have a little more bite to them. There is no better or worse... it is a matter of taste. We are all extremely please with these pickups.
So this indicates that the pickups are pretty good. We cannot wait to determine that for ourselves but this info is encouraging about the value of these offshore manufactured S-Style guitars.
Please let us know what your thoughts are on both Silver Sky models.