“A brand new guitar built on ideas spanning decades, with the very cutting edge of our current engineering and design philosophies”: PRS launches the triple humbucker-equipped, Strat-style SE NF3 model

Two of PRS's new SE NF3 models
(Image credit: PRS)

PRS has unveiled the SE NF3, a Strat-style electric guitar that can be seen as a sibling of sorts to the company's wildly popular John Mayer signature Silver Sky model.

With a lineage that dates back 35 years, to the PRS EG, the SE NF3 has the same, familiar outline of the Silver Sky, but updates the recipe in a number of departments, chief among them the new model's trio of Narrowfield DD ‘S’ humbucker-style pickups.

Standing in stark contrast to the Silver Sky's trio of single-coils, the humbuckers mark the first time the company's popular Narrowfield pickups have been featured in an SE line guitar. 

First introduced in 2008, the Narrowfield pickups have become player favorites for their ability to marry single-coil tones with full-bodied and hum-free humbucker characteristics, leading Myles Kennedy to load two into his signature Tele-style PRS.

The Narrowfield DD (short for Deep Dish) ‘S’ pickups, PRS says, feature taller bobbins “to fit more winds and extra metal pieces in between the magnets for a more focused, powerful tone.”

The SE NF3 | Demo | PRS Guitars - YouTube The SE NF3 | Demo | PRS Guitars - YouTube
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The differences don't end there, either, as the SE NF3 features only master volume and master tone knobs, in lieu of the typical three-knob Strat setup. The familiar five-way switch, however, remains. 

Elsewhere, the Indonesian-made model boasts a poplar body paired with a 22-fret, satin-finished bolt-on maple neck, with players given the choice between rosewood or maple fretboards boasting PRS's signature 25" scale length. A PRS six-point tremolo bridge and non-locking tuners appear on the hardware side of the spec sheet.

Paul Reed Smith Plays the New SE NF3 - YouTube Paul Reed Smith Plays the New SE NF3 - YouTube
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“We started the development of the NF3 ‘S’ pickup with the NF 53, so it's been an ongoing project for a while. What has amazed us all is the way we are furthering the art of ‘reverse engineering’ our own concepts and achieving success in tone inside of the SE Series,” PRS COO Jack Higginbotham says.

“Beyond the pickups, this guitar harkens back almost 35 years to our original EG, which I was deeply involved in. The neck and the neck body assembly were born of the SE Silver Sky originally and refined with the SE CE and Swamp Ash Special. So, in a way, it is a brand new guitar that is built on ideas spanning decades and reaching to the very cutting edge of our current engineering and design philosophies.”

Both the rosewood and maple models come in a choice of Gun Metal Gray, Ice Blue Metallic, Metallic Orange, and Pearl White finishes, and the guitar has already been listed for pre-order on Sweetwater for $799, $50 less than the SE Silver Sky.

Head to PRS to learn more. 

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.

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