Thoughts on updates to the Silver Sky

andy474x

Knows the Drill
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
5,002
Location
West Michigan
Local shop got some new SS models in recently, and I used one to demo a couple pedals.

Backstory is, I purchased a ‘19
SS w/rosewood board from them over the summer. My initial impression of the SS when they first came out and I got my hands on them was that the neck finish was kind of uneven, the frets were very small and short, and for whatever reason I just wasn’t connecting with the tone. Maybe it was the amps I used that day. But I gave it another try this year and the neck finish on mine was much better, the frets, although still small, didn’t give me any problems while playing, and I liked the tone a lot playing into a ‘68 Custom Princeton. So, that was that.

So, the two guitars I saw most closely yesterday were a ‘20 with a maple board, and ‘21 with a rosewood board. I’ve heard the frets and pickups were changed in the last couple years, I played the ‘21 and could easily see and feel much wider and taller frets, and slightly brighter, glassier pickups. The maple board ‘20 had the same size frets as mine, but I didn’t plug it in to try the pickups.

Even when I bought mine, I wasn’t totally sold on the small frets, but I discovered that not only could I play on them just fine, but note to note transitions came out smoother and more fluid, almost like the smaller fret is a smaller, less discrete and less binary separation between notes. I still like the feel of big frets the most, but there’s definitely something about how the small frets make me play that I like. I think I also prefer the older pickups, just because they sound a little meatier, although I should add that both sound thicker in the midrange than most pickups/guitars of this style.

Also, the neck finish on the ‘21 was impeccable. Leaning slightly a toward a satin texture rather than straight up gloss, and extremely even. That, about the ‘21, I definitely preferred, although my ‘19 is in no way bad. With all these differences, there’s not a bad guitar to be had, just slightly different from each other

These are my Silver Sky ramblings. Just sharing in case people browsing in the future are wondering about the differences.
 
I may need to seek out a '21 with a maple board........

I've been salivating for one since they first offered the maple. I couldn't get along with the lacquer on the the back of the neck, no way I was taking Scotch brite to it. I haven't played a maple neck yet...I'm afraid I couldn't resist. Must.be.strong.
 
I've been salivating for one since they first offered the maple. I couldn't get along with the lacquer on the the back of the neck, no way I was taking Scotch brite to it. I haven't played a maple neck yet...I'm afraid I couldn't resist. Must.be.strong.

DGT, DGT, DGTeeeeeeeeee!!

I may need to seek out a '21 with a maple board........

Bwahahaha
 
That’s the thing I’m not sure about, I know the spec is different on the maple vs rosewood, and I don’t know if the small frets are still standard on the maple.

I have a 2021 maple board and it has the updated frets. I do still slightly prefer my 2019 rosewood with the smaller frets, but everyone has their own preferences!
 
Any way to know when changes were made? I have a rare 2020 red model before they got discontinued. It’s January model so i doubt it has the nitro finish. Since it’s horizon red do I assume it’s all the original specs?
 
p.s. And, after reading this, another thought occurred to me. Perhaps my frets are not the small ones on the originals. This is a newer guitar and it has smaller frets than I'm used too, but not objectionably so, and in fact I already had similar thoughts to Andy's above about sliding from fret to fret on them actually being really smooth feeling... it makes sense. Bending may be a slight tradeoff, but sliding up and down frets is very smooth feeling.
 
Any way to know when changes were made? I have a rare 2020 red model before they got discontinued. It’s January model so i doubt it has the nitro finish. Since it’s horizon red do I assume it’s all the original specs?

I would think so.
 
I have the 2021 Maple Moc Sand satin and 2021 rosewood midnight rose. I would love to compare against earlier model. the rosewood has a neck similar to my american original 60's strat. the maple is a little thinner and more comfortable for my smallish hands for thumbover playing. frets are between vintage and med jumbo
 
I also prefer the old specs. Feels easier to play and hands down the best s-style pickups I've ever heard, amazing clarity and really nails that Mayer tone to the T. The new specs to me feels like a compromise to satisfy some early critics.
 
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