Tom Petty Spreads Full Moon Fever With Six- And Twelve-String Signature Editions
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004
HD-40 Tom Petty
HD12-40 Tom Petty
Whether making music with the Heartbreakers, the Traveling Wilburys or on his own, Tom Pett y defines straight-ahead, no excuses rock and roll. Integrity and commitment shine in his music, as brilliant on disc as in concert. After nearly 30 years of non-stop success, Tom Petty shows no signs of slowing down: his songwriting and playing retain a timeless power few can match.
Acoustic guitars are everywhere in Petty’s music. In his “Full Moon Fever” solo album, in albums with the Heartbreakers and during a portion of many of his concerts, both 6-strings and 12-strings are front and center. Petty also does much of his songwriting on acoustics; so when Tom Pett y agreed to let C. F. Martin build a signature instrument bearing his name, the biggest challenge was whether (based on the many ways he uses acoustics) the choices might prove a bit overwhelming.
In fact, Petty knew exactly what he wanted, and it wasn’t one guitar, but two: a matched pair, 6-string and 12-string. He also had the specifications for each: The HD-40 and HD12-40 Tom Petty Signature Editions are those guitars.
The Tom Petty Signature Editions are eyecatching instruments with beautiful pearl inlays throughout. Each of these Dreadnoughts features an ivoroid-bound ebony fingerboard with spectacular “Full Moon Fever” position markers inlaid in black mother of pearl, silver awabi pearl and brilliant blue paua pearl. The fingerboard inlays follow the phases of the moon: new moon at the 1st fret, quarter moon with small star at the 3rd fret, half moon with small star at the 5th fret, three-quarter moon with small star at the 7th fret, full moon with small star at the 9th fret, three stars at the 12th fret and single stars at the 15th and 17th frets. Tom Petty’s signature is inlaid in pale gold agoya pearl between the 19th and 20th frets.
Framed with ivoroid binding and mitered black/white line inlays, the polished black ebony headplate provides the “canvas” for a select abalone pearl rendition of Martin’s “alternative torch” inlay, a rare pattern that originated with one of the first Martin 00-45s in 1902. The Style 45 rosette showcases a center ring inlay of blue paua pearl, and abalone pearl dots on the ebony bridge pins and endpin contribute a touch of extra flash.
Superb solid tonewoods add to the beauty of these guitars. The Italian alpine spruce top, prized for rich, powerful tone, is matched to carefully scalloped Sitka spruce braces. The back and sides are crafted from handsome East Indian rosewood. The low profile neck is carved from genuine mahogany and boasts a satin finish, diamond volute, square tapered headstock with the antique Martin pressure stamp on the back and gold Schaller™ mini tuners with ebony buttons. Both the HD-40TP and HD12-40TP Tom Petty Signature Editions are equipped with factory installed Fishman Gold Plus Natural II electronics to enable their owners to play both unplugged and amplified.
Tom Petty’s passion for rock and roll was kindled young when he met the King, Elvis Presley, during a film shoot in Petty’s native Florida in 1961. He played in a band that evolved through several names and members to become Mudcrutch, which eventually settled in Los Angeles. After one single and brief critical acclaim, the band folded, but Petty enlisted former members Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, plus Florida musicians Ron Blair and Stan Lynch into a new band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, to fulfill Mudcrutch’s record contract.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ self-titled debut album, released in 1976, sold slowly until a concert tour of the United Kingdom kicked record sales into high gear on both sides of the Atlantic. The single “Breakdown” became a top 40. The group’s second album, “You’re Gonna Get It!” produced hit singles “Listen to Her Heart” and “I Need to Know,” and its third, “Damn the Torpedoes,” went triple-platinum.
Nine more albums with the Heartbreakers, two solo albums, two albums as a member of the Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, one Grammy Award and a clutch of hit singles - “Refugee,” Don’t Do Me Like That,” “The Waiting,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Falling” and “Jammin’ Me,” to name a few – have cemented Petty’s place as one of rock and roll’s best and most durable performers. His career has not been without its rough spots, yet Tom Petty has thrived, and his recent work – the 2002 album “The Last DJ,” the 2003 summer tour with the Heartbreakers and the 2003 “Concert for George” DVD and album (where he, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and others – mostly playing Martins on the acoustic numbers - honored friend and bandmate George Harrison) – shows him in top form: creative, passionate and relevant.
Delivered in a vintage Geib™ style hardshell case with tweed exterior, each HD-40 and HD12-40 Tom Petty Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Tom Petty and Martin Chairman C.F. Martin IV, and is numbered in sequence with the total number of instruments in that model’s edition. C. F. Martin dealers will take orders for the HD-40TP and HD12-40TP Tom Petty Signature Editions for a limited time; at the end of the order period, the number of guitars in each edition and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the C.F. Martin web site.