Tom Holmes THC

Tom Holmes built guitars for Bo Diddley, Lenny Breau, Billy Gibbons, Albert King and many others. For the last twenty years he has become a legend for jewel-like PAF-style humbucking

Tom Holmes built guitars for Bo Diddley, Lenny Breau, Billy Gibbons, Albert King and many others. 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.

This is a beauty he made for Nashville guitar store owner and picker Richard Cotten. The shape was Cotten’s design, which he took to Holmes as a cardboard cutout. The guitar was built around 1981 and is quite heavy (11.5 lbs.), as was the fashion of the day. It has a flame maple top on a mahogany body, with mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard. The pickups currently on the guitar are Holmes humbuckers with aged covers. The guitar appears on the cover of the LP Pickin’ Cotten by Lenny Breau and Richard Cotten.

On Black Midi's Cavalcade, Geordie Greep’s fretwork is an example of the 6-string as a capable component as much as a solo instrument, never completely stealing the show.

Popular music and mainstream tastes may be more fractured than ever, but the guitar continues to thrive.

As we soft launch into the new year, I’m not waiting for the requisite guitar obituary in the news. It’s not going to happen again anytime soon. Why? Because as far as the mainstream media is concerned, our beloved instrument is not only dead, it's irrelevant to the point of not even being an afterthought. When the New York Times published their most recent albums of the year list, there was barely a guitar-based recording to be found. Still, there is not only hope, but also cause for jubilation.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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