SOLD - Tom Holmes H450/H455 Pickups Set - USA
Pickup currently unavailable
Tom Holmes is an American luthier with a great pedigree. He has made guitars & pickups for Albert King, Billy Gibbons, Bo Diddley, Lenny Breau & many more celebrities & aficionados.
Tom built the initial Hamer USA guitars for Paul Hamer in the early ‘80s. The original USA built Hamers are great instruments, and are still sought after by collectors today.
In the late 80s Tom was commissioned by Gibson to design and build a new humbucker based on the original PAF specs. He came up with the Gibson ’57 which has been a mainstay of the Gibson reissue line for many years.
Having completed his Gibson contract, he decided to launch his own brand of pickups and the Tom Holmes H450 / H455 set was born.
Tom hand winds every single pickup himself and each pickup is a work of art. He makes the base plates, the bobbins, and the sharp edged covers that replicate the early PAFs. The only thing that Tom buys in are his magnets which are typically Alnico 2, and the plain enamel wire as used in the original PAFs.
The H450 has 5000 turns per coil and has a DC resistance of around 7.2k – 7.5K. The H455 has 5500 turns delivering a slightly higher output with a DC resistance of typically 8.1k to 8.3k ohms. The H455 is usually used in the bridge position. The H450 / H455 pickups complement each other perfectly.
The appearance & sound of these pickups is absolutely the closest thing available to those old 59 Les Paul pickups that some people will pay up to $5,000 for. Having perfected the PAF sound, everyone agrees that Tom’s TH450 / H455 PAF repros are the most authentic anywhere. The late Gary Moore loved Tom Holmes pickups and used them in his Les Paul Reissues.
Some time ago at PREMIER GUITARS we had the opportunity of comparing two almost identical 1959 Gibson 345s in fabulous original condition. The only difference between the two was that one featured its original PAF pickups, and the other had a Tom
Holmes TH450 / H455 set installed, as the original PAFs had been stripped out years ago.
We invited a number of respected pro players to compare both guitars in a blind test. The general consensus was that the TH pickups were given a big thumbs up. Most of our testers preferred the complex, harmonically rich harmonics and spanky punch delivered by the 450 and 455.
These pickups are extremely hard to get. A new set of Tom Holmes humbuckers are impossible to get because Tom has retired to go fishing. Second hand units are regularly sold for over USD$1000 a set.
The Holmes pickups for sale here are lightly potted, have double black bobbins under the antiqued nickel covers and have 4 conductor wiring, so they can be set up for single coil switching if desired. And the single coil option is very usable with a great sound all of its own.
These pickups were purchased new direct from Tom Holmes in 1998, and were used in one of the owner’s favourite guitars, removing them just before he moved it on some time ago. They are in excellent condition, in their original boxes, and are waiting for installation in your favourite instrument .…. and it WILL sound better.