Gibson has revealed the SJ-200 Wildflower Tom Petty signature acoustic guitar – a Custom Shop instrument inspired by the guitar that played a key role during prolific creative period for the late rock n' roll icon that inspired this model's name.
Only 100 Wildflower SJ-200s will be produced at $9,999 – so yes, it's another one of those Gibson runs that's only for the collectors and well-healed players. But Gibson state it's the 'first' run so there could be more down the line for this signature model that was close to late musician's heart. In the video above, longtime Tom Petty producer George Drakoulias and his guitar tech and friend Alan 'Bugs' Weidel talk about the genesis of the model, including recalling Petty coming up with its headstock flower inlay sitting in the back of a tour bus.
Petty used an SJ-200 while writing and recording his Wildflowers and the super jumbo's expansive sound was a character he described as the "big jangle".
The Custom Shop model features a AAA Sitka spruce top, 'highly figured' quilted maple back and sides with a flamed maple neck.
It features gold Grover Imperial Tuners, an LR Baggs VTC under-saddle pick up with soundhole-mounted volume and tone controls. The Wildflower logo in Mother-of-Pearl features on the headstock, with Petty lyrics “You belong among the Wildflowers” decal on the back of the headstock and his signature engraved on the double pickguard.
“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 Petty's daughter Adriana Petty.
"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.”
Its release coincides with the release of Wildflowers & All The Rest on 16 April – the collection of all 25 songs from the Wildflowers sessions released they were originally envisioned by Petty and produced by him with Rick Rubin and longtime Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell.
The new documentary Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free focuses on this Wildflowers recording era and the touring the followed. It's filmed by Petty’s filmographer Martyn Atkins and directed by Mary Wharton, who is interviewed below by the ReelBlend podcast. For more info visit tompetty.com/film.