Thomas Guitars Gallery

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Tim Olsen, tacoma(at)

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Buzz Wilder sent these photos of his way-cool C-model. Note the white undercoating, then the gold burst. I think this is a Harvey-made whammy. These are the "bubble" pickguards. The plexiglas was heated in an oven and layed over a mold to form the bubbles. The pickups are just loose coils of wire and bar magnets wrapped in masking tape stuffed under the bubbles. Note also the fancy pickguard shape. It's a kind of Grand-Ol-Opry kind of snazz. And the little raised secondary pickguard says that this is a fingerstyle guitar. The white body lets you see the complex beveling plan of the top. Looking at this you can see the Moserite inspiration. Thanks Buzz! What a great example of Harvey's eccentric genius.
Kevin Miller offers this information: "My Harvey Thomas is the one in Tony Bacon's Ultimate Guitar Book. It came from Paul Day. The body (wait for this) is carved front and back, actually one solid piece of wood, hollowed out and seamed together in the side like a Micro Frets.

The arching is carved in. Incredible! It is the only known one to exist!"

This one features the regular German hardware. The fret markers are made by routing a rectangular hole, dropping in some drum pearl, and filling it with fiberglass resin. Serial number is LC3011.

On the fretboard photo you can see that Thomas guitars always had the same fret job: frets ground down very low, and rounded right over the edge. These guitars were not designed for string bending.
Check this out! Maybe you saw it on ebay. This must be an early one. When I first went to Harvey's shop in 1965, the oldest instruments looked like this, gold with a heavy black burst. Also note that the back is beveled as well as the front, and the tuning gears are mounted on a curving line. I think this is a Harvey-made aluminum whammy. The raised control box is so cool. It's made of layers of cut-out plexi set in a deep rout.
Looks like a Gibson Tune-o-Matic bridge. And there's the secondary raised pickguard. It's a finger rest, really, for that Chet-style work. Harvey did not dig rock. You can also see the truss rod adjustment above the neck pickup. Most of the ones I saw were just a piece of threaded round stock with two crossing slots cut with a hack saw. They would be adjusted with a straight screwdriver. I can't tell for sure on this photo, but this might be the other kind of bubble pickup cover, where the pickguard has a rectangular hole routed, and a bubble-shaped piece of plexi is inserted from the back side.

Hey, look at this! It is another of those full-hollow guitars! Scott Freilich sez: "I was searching around for info on this great Harvey Thomas creation and stumbled on your articles about the man and his work. This one has a label that says it was made in 1968 and was priced at $3750!! It has a serial # of 001000 and is called a La Paz Classic Special Custom.

I bought it at a guitar show in Toronto from a touring musician who found it in Vancouver. I'll probably do an article on it for my "Oddballs" column in 20th century guitar. The pickups and bridge are Framus, the gears are Gibson/Kluson double ring keystone, and the knobs are Guyatone. The back is 1" thick mahogany, and the remainder of the instrument is mahogany."
Wilf Ord from the UK says:
"I have been a big fan of Harvey Thomas' guitars, particularly the Crosses, since I first saw the pictures of Ian Hunter playing one on the front of the British music papers when I was a kid in the late 60s/early 70s. These photos of a Maltese Falcon were sent to me by a guy in the states three or four years ago. He no longer owns it, and he didn't have any details about it."


Wilf has a cool web site that gives the story of how Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople found his Maltese Falcon. Click the photo of Ian to go there.

Here's a C-model bass. Bob White of the Seattle area says:
"The pickguard, La Baye pickup, and bridge cover are all crome. The serial # is C1050. I don't know its DOB."

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