Gibson pay tribute to Tom Petty with new SJ-200 Wildflower acoustic guitar
24.03.2021

Gibson pay tribute to Tom Petty with new SJ-200 Wildflower acoustic guitar

Words by Will Brewster

Based on a specially commissioned guitar from the 1990s.

Gibson have announced a special limited edition SJ-200 acoustic modelled upon a specially commissioned model for American singer-songwriter Tom Petty.

Summary

  • The Gibson Tom Petty SJ-200 Wildflower is based on Petty’s own Super Jumbo acoustic used around his coveted Wildflowers era.
  • Limited to 100 pieces worldwide, the guitar is constructed from bespoke tonewoods such as AAA Sitka spruce and flamed maple.
  • The SJ-200 also features flashy mother-of-pearl inlays and comes with a custom case.

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Based on the iconic Super Jumbo body, Gibson constructed the original guitar for Tom Petty back in 1996 amid his prolific Wildflowers era, with the Gibson Acoustic Custom Shop working on a replica model for release over the span of several decades.

Sticking true to the design of the original, the Tom Petty SJ-200 Wildflower features an Antique Natural finish, with a lavish AAA Sitka spruce top, quilted maple back and sides and flamed maple neck resulting in a stunning tonal combination.

The guitar also boasts a mother-of-pearl bridge, a set of gold Grover Imperial Tuners and a distinctive double pickguard as per Petty’s own request, while a LR Baggs VTC under-saddle pickup with soundhole mounted tone and volume controls makes for a no-fuss solution for onstage performances.

Other features include a Mother-of-Pearl Wildflower logo on the guitar’s headstock, as well as a ‘you Belong Among The Wildflowers’ lyric decal on the back of the headstock and Petty’s own signature emblazoned on the dual pickguard. It also comes in a custom Wildflower case for safe-keeping, and is limited to a scant 100 pieces worldwide.

The launch of the guitar coincides with the impending April 16 release of the Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Version) boxset, which compiles 16 studio recordings of alternate takes, deep cuts and jams from the Rick Rubin-helmed Wildflowers sessions.

Petty’s daughter Adria Petty reflected on the release of the bespoke instrument in a statement shared today, reminiscing on the amount of effort and care put into the design of the Tom Petty SJ-200 Acoustic.

“It is so incredible to see the SJ-200 design our Dad worked on so long ago, lovingly brought to fruition with his long-time guitar tech and friend Alan Weidel and the craftsmen and women at Gibson guitars,” said Adria.

“There has been much effort made to make certain this guitar lives up to Tom’s musical standards and the specs he wanted for a best-in-class instrument. Alan Weidel has put this instrument through its paces as he has with all Tom Petty signature guitar models.

“Tom played the SJ-200 while writing and recording Wildflowers and to us it is an honour and a privilege to have Gibson launch this instrument to celebrate his musical masterpiece. That way others can make what my Dad called “the big jangle” a reference to that gorgeous, big, SJ-200 acoustic sound he loved.

“We hope fans and members of the music community alike enjoy this beautiful instrument as much as we do. It is a beautiful tribute to him.”

Find out more about the Tom Petty Wildflower SJ-200 here. For domestic enquires, get in touch with Australis Music.