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 wound every single pickup himself and each pickup was a work of art.
The rest is a great American success story – Holmes pickups were so much in demand that he simply could not keep up with demand. So after many years of intense personal dedication to the art of hand winding pickups, about 15 years ago Tom commissioned a highly regarded pickup winder in Japan to take some of the work load.
Under Tom’s strict quality controls, the Japanese Tom Holmes pickup was born. They are constructed in exactly the same way as the USA models and use the same in-house parts including bobbins, base plates, and covers
They sound as articulate as the originals and their quality is closely monitored by Tom himself.
The models for sale here are -
J450. A humbucker wound with 5000 turns per bobbin using vintage wire and a specially sourced AlNiCo 2 magnet. DC resistance for the J450 is 7.64k ohms and is ideal for a neck position.
J453 Limited. A humbucker wound with 5300 turns per bobbin using vintage wire and a specially sourced AlNiCo 4 magnet. DC resistance for the J455 is 8.10k ohms and is ideal for a neck or bridge position.
The J450 and J453 both feature 4 conductor wiring, double cream bobbins, vintage and relic’d nickel polepieces and covers. All pickups are unpotted and feature Tom’s beautiful thin square edged covers.
Tom Holmes has retired from making pickups so there will be no more.
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 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 453.
These pickups were purchased new direct from Tom Holmes some years ago and have been used in one of the owner’s favourite guitars. They are in excellent condition in their original boxes and are waiting for installation in your preferred instrument.
…. and it WILL sound better.