Tom Holmes (THC), Jupiter Thunderbird bass, 1983, built for Bo Diddley


Tom Holmes (THC)
Jupiter Thunderbird
Light Pink
Tom Holmes
The Story Behind

Tom Holmes built custom hand-made guitars for Bo Diddley, Lenny Breau, Billy Gibbons, Albert King and many others. Even if he started first building guitars, he is today a legend for PAF-style hum-bucking pickups, which he builds in his shop in Joelton, TN. It is agreed that Tom's TH450 PAF repro's are the most authentic anywhere and that they are absolutely the closest thing available to those old 59 Les Paul pickups.

This is a rare Bo Diddley bass guitar which ended up in a pawn shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico in a neighborhood where Bo used to live. The story told by the pawn shop owner was that the instrument was pawned by a Bo Diddley family member when Bo was on the road. The pawn shop owner held it for Bo for over a year which was well past the period when it could be reacquired by the pawn ticket owner. After a year and a half pawn shop owner got fed up with waiting for Bo Diddley to come and pay the pawn ticket so it placed on display for sale to the general public. 

This unique instrument has a custom made solid body and headstock. It's a 4-string electric bass guitar made by Tom Holmes. The names of Bo Diddley along with the initials THC (which stand for Tom Holmes Custom) are on the headstock. 

The pick-up is similar to a Fender bass pick-up and was hand-wound by Tom Holmes himself. The bridge is gold-plated and made of solid brass by "BadAss". Tuners are gold plated Schaellers. The volume and tone knobs are also gold plated. The fingerboard is black ebony with beautiful block mother of pearl inlay. The custom bass pickup was entirely designed and built by Tom Holmes.

The Bo Diddley Bass Guitar History as partly obtained from Tom Holmes himself!

The bass guitar was made in the early 1980's probably 1983 or 1984.
 This particular bass guitar was part of a group of 10 different THC guitars that were custom made by Tom Holmes and delivered to Bo Diddley at about the same time.
 The group of 10 guitars were delivered to Bo Diddley as part of a Royalty Payment Agreement between Tom Holmes and Bo Diddley.
 There are only four known Bo Diddley Jupiter Thunderbird bass guitars. One is owned by Billy Gibbons, one is presently owned by TYS and the other two are God knows where.
 Billy Gibbons' Bo Diddley bass has a white body.
 The 3rd and 4th Bo Diddley Bass guitars made by Tom Holmes are Turquoise and Magenta. All four are identical except for color.
 The headstock was designed for Billy Gibbons by Tom Holmes.
 The body was designed by a one-time prison inmate and friend of Bo Diddley, whose name is unknown.

In the mid 80's a video was made in Memphis with Bo Diddley and some of his band-mates and friends. They all posed and played with the THC guitars in the video. There are two copies of the video. One was owned by Bo Diddley and the other is owned by Tom Holmes which he keeps in a safety deposit box.
 Tom Holmes recently issued the video on Youtube; so here is the odd video where Bo Diddley makes the promotion of Tom Holmes guitars and where you can see this bass guitar:


Intersting is to note that this bass has a the 'sister' guitar build by Tom Holmes for Bo Diddley, a pastel pink Jupiter Thunderbird guitar, and which is now part of the Hard Rock Cafe collection.

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