Tom Holmes (THC), DC-3, 1977


Tom Holmes (THC)
The Story Behind


About the Maker:

Tom Holmes built guitars for Bo Diddley, Lenny Breau, Billy Gibbons, Albert King and many others under his brand name THC. For the last twenty years he has become a legend for jewel-like PAF-style humbucking pickups, which he builds in his shop in Joelton, TN. But he started first to build guitars.

Tom used to be George Gruhn's top repairman in the mid to late 70's, and the first THC guitars were seen in George's shop.Gruhn Guitars is the world's most famous vintage instrument store and has brought George Gruhn worldwide recognition as an author of definitive books on vintage guitars, an innovative instrument and string designer, and a primary source for insight into the guitar market -- past, present and future. Tom made both a double cutaway and the "Rock n Roll" model. Several notables bought the Rock n roll model (per Tom): Jeff Beck, Howard Lessee of Heart (he was seen using it to play Mistral Wind on the BeBe Le Strange tour), Barry Geaudreaux of Boston and Ted Nugent's rythm guitarist. Billy Gibbons has some 16 THC of various models and had Tom build a flying v for Albert King's 65th birthday. 

His fascination with PAF has led him to create the most authentic reproduction available for this type of pickups. They are hand made and wound and as his guitars are works of art.

About the Guitar:

This is a Tom Holmes Custom DC-3 (Double Cutaway Triple Coil) electric guitar being Number 21 of only 24 double cuts made by Tom.

The guitar has a special pickup configuration tuned for rock.  Dual coil Tom Holmes PAF in the neck and Triple Coil Tom Holmes PAF at the bridge.  There is a coil tap switch for added versatility.  In addition, a volume control for each pickup and a tone control. A Bad Ass Wraparound Bridge and Grover Tuners complete the guitar.  It weighs around 11 lbs (to enhance the sustain as was the custom at the time.). it has a  25" scale length and a 1.75" nut width.

This guitar had several owners and therefore a long story. According to the last owner Mark Doran, this guitar was tried by Billy Gibbons and was rejected because it was to heavy. Tom sold this guitar to Preston Music Center, Louisville KY in February 1978. After it was initially sold it was acquired in 1980 by Steve Eddy of "Dead End Road" a rock band in the early 80's. Mark bought the guitar in 1985 from Steve, and has owned it since that time. 

He toured with this guitar from 1985-1990. He was the guitar player in two bands during that time." ICOK" and " August West ". ICOK was an opening act for Al Stewart in the mid 80's (the guitar case still has the bands name on it). When Marc was later August West they opened for Bo Diddley. At a show at the University of Pennsylvania 1988 " Spring Fling". Bo Diddley played this guitar back stage before the group went on. He toured with a couple of Tom Holmes guitars and wanted to try Marc's out. He commented about the weight of the guitar, but liked the action and sound.

Mark Doran is still actibve touring around as singer/songwriter.


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