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After two years of exhaustive R&D, March 2018 saw one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets become the most talked-about guitar in recent history. Depending on whom you believe, John Mayer and Paul Reed Smith’s Silver Sky is either ‘the future of a classic design’ or just another Strat copy with the ‘wrong’ headstock. Across the pages that follow, Chris Vinnicombe plays the guitar at the centre of an online storm and speaks to the man who brought John Mayer’s vision to life…


In just 45 minutes the manufacturer’s website receives almost a year’s worth of traffic and buckles under the strain. Social media fizzes with love and hate, enthusiasm and disdain in equal measure. Sales outstrip initial projections to such a vast extent that employees will have to work around the clock to fulfil orders. It sounds like the combination of a new iPhone launch and a major election campaign but in reality, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the announcement of a brand new electric guitar, right here in 2018.

But guitar heroes are dead in the water, right? Primitive instruments of wood and wire are consigned to history as glossy pop and R&B dominates the airwaves and programmed beats blast out of mobile telephones against the backdrop of the strobing clatter of subway cars. Right?

If that’s the case, John Mayer didn’t get the memo. And neither did his millions of online followers.


Let’s rewind the tape for a moment or two and remind ourselves how we got here. Since the release of his debut LP Room For Squares in 2001, John Mayer has sold 10s of millions of albums, won seven Grammy Awards and received an incredible 19 nominations. His musical journey has seen him excel as an acoustic singer-songwriter and demonstrate breathtaking ability as a blues-rock guitarist, participating in a variety of genre-hopping collaborations along the way. For a man who only turned 40 in 2017 he’s packed an awful lot in – and that’s before you consider the forays into writing, stand up comedy, horology and plenty more besides.

The Connecticut-born Montana resident has been a dyed-in-the-wool Strat player for many years and his first signature Stratocaster was released in 2005. However, October 2014 saw Mayer’s relationship with Fender hit the rocks. “Heads up to anyone thinking about owning my signature Fender Stratocaster”, he tweeted. “They’re no longer being made and I’m no longer a Fender artist.”

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About Guitar Magazine

What do we think about the most talked-about guitar of the year? Find out in our May 2018 issue, on sale now. Inside, we sit down with Paul Reed Smith to talk out about the two-year design process that gave birth to the Silver Sky and we put John Mayer’s new PRS signature model through its paces in an in-depth 10-page review. The magazine also comes bundled with a FREE Joy Of FX magazine for every reader that includes reviews of Fender’s new-for-2018 stompbox line, new EarthQuaker Devices pedals, an interview with Way Huge pedal guru Jeorge Tripps and more. Back in the main mag, we get up close and personal with Eric Clapton’s £25,000 writing and recording acoustic, check out The Temperance Movement’s live gear, interview Steve Morse and review even more hot new guitars, amps and effects from Eastman, Blackstar, JHS Pedals, Lowden and plenty more besides. We also salute the genius of Freddie Tavares and you can enter our competition to WIN a drop-dead gorgeous Lake Placid Blue Fender American Original ‘60s Telecaster worth £1,659. The May 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale in print and digital formats now. Essential reading for guitar addicts.