Tom Hess (guitarist)

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Tom Hess
Rhapsody Tom Hess.jpg
Background information
OriginIllinois, United States
GenresPower metal, progressive metal, neoclassical metal, symphonic metal
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, guitar teacher
Years active1986–present
LabelsNuclear Blast, Magic Circle Music
Associated actsRhapsody of Fire, HolyHell, Hess

Tom Hess is a touring guitarist, recording artist and a former member of the band Rhapsody of Fire from 2010 until 2013.[1] Hess also toured Europe and US with the band HolyHell [2] and recorded the album "Apocalypse" which landed on the charts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[3][4]

In addition to his professional music career as a recording artist, Tom is also an online guitar teacher and a mentor to musicians, guitar teachers and rock bands around the world.


Hess began playing guitar on January 31, 1986 inspired by heavy metal bands such as Metallica, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. His musical style later evolved from hard rock and heavy metal to the neo-classical and progressive rock styles, influenced by artists such as: Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Andy Larocque, Jason Becker, Fryderyk Chopin, Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms and Claude Debussy.

Hess went on to receive two music degrees: one in music theory and another in music composition. In addition to his music school background, Hess also studied guitar with many guitar teachers, most notably with Lion Music recording artist George Bellas.[4]

Rhapsody Of Fire[edit]

On April 15, 2011 it was announced that guitarist Tom Hess has become a new official member of the epic metal band Rhapsody Of Fire.[1] His playing can be heard on the band's album From Chaos to Eternity. Hess recorded all the rhythm guitar parts and contributed several solos for the CD. Hess began touring with the band at the festivals that took place in the summer of 2011.[5]

Alex Staropoli, Rhapsody Of Fire’s keyboard player, released a statement saying: "I saw Tom Hess playing on stage several times and was always impressed by his great stage presence and his way of playing. When I heard the rhythm and solo guitars he recorded for Rhapsody Of Fire I was blown away, I could feel that strong presence in between every single note."

Rhapsody Of Fire's 2011 Release "From Chaos To Eternity" was listed in the top 100 album charts in many countries around the world, such as Japan, Italy, Switzerland, German, France and many others.[6][7]

Tom Hess and Rhapsody Of Fire 2011 Tour Dates
Date City/State Country Venue
June 11, 2011 Sölvesborg Sweden Sweden Rock Festival
July 15, 2011 Vizovice Czech Republic Masters Of Rock
August 4, 2011 Wacken Germany Wacken Open Air
August 6, 2011 Székesfehérvár Hungary Fezen Festival
August 12, 2011 Derby UK Bloodstock
Tom Hess and Rhapsody Of Fire 2012 Tour Dates
Date City/State Country Venue
April 1, 2012 Pamplona Spain Sala Totem
April 2, 2012 Madrid Spain Sala Cats
April 3, 2012 Barcelona Spain Salamandra
April 4, 2012 Bordeaux France Theatre Barbey
April 6, 2012 Mons Belgium PPM Festival
April 7, 2012 Pratteln Switzerland Z7
April 8, 2012 Paris France Bataclan
April 9, 2012 Aschaffenburg Germany Colos-Saal
April 11, 2012 Milano Italy Live Club
April 12, 2012 Bologna Italy Estragon
April 13, 2012 Roma Italy Orion
April 14, 2012 Treviso Italy New Age
April 15, 2012 Vienna Austria Szene
April 17, 2012 Zlin Czech Republic Master of Rock Cafe
April 18, 2012 Kraków Poland Kwadrat
April 19, 2012 Warsaw Poland Progresja
May 25, 2012 Philadelphia USA The Trocadero
May 26, 2012 Baltimore USA Soundstage
May 27, 2012 Worcester USA The Palladium
May 29, 2012 New York USA Gramercy Theatre
May 30, 2012 Montreal Canada Club Soda
May 31, 2012 Quebec Canada Imperial de Quebec
June 1, 2012 Toronto Canada Mod Club
June 3, 2012 Cleveland USA Peabody`s
June 4, 2012 Pittsburgh USA Altar Bar
June 5, 2012 Joliet USA Mojoes
June 6, 2012 St. Paul USA Station 4
June 8, 2012 Englewood USA Gothic Theater
June 10, 2012 Seattle USA El Corazon
June 11, 2012 Portland USA Hawthorne Theatre
June 12, 2012 San Francisco USA Slim's
June 14, 2012 San Diego USA House of Blues
June 15, 2012 Anaheim USA The Grove
June 16, 2012 Mexico City Mexico Vive Cuervo Salon
June 19, 2012 San Jose Costa Rica Peppers Club
Tom Hess and Rhapsody Of Fire 2012 South America Tour Dates
Date City/State Country Venue
June 21, 2012 Quito Ecuador Teatro 24 de Mayo
June 23, 2012 Concepcion Chile Ex-Sala 2
June 25, 2012 Antofagasta Chile Statix Rock & Soccer
June 26, 2012 Santiago Chile Teatro Caupolican
June 28, 2012 Buenos Aires Argentina Teatro Flores
June 30, 2012 Sao Paulo Brazil Carioca Club


  • Rhapsody Of Fire - From Chaos To Eternity (Release Date: June 17, 2011)
  • HolyHell - Apocalypse (2007)
  • HESS - Opus 2 (2004)
  • HESS - Opus 1 (2000)


Tom Hess's Guitars[edit]

Make Model Year Pickups Bridge Frets Color Strings
Carvin V220 1987 2 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickups Stop Tail Piece 24 Black GHS 10-46
Carvin V220 1988 2 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickups Stop Tail Piece 24 White GHS 10-46
Carvin V220 1985 1 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickup and 1 EMG 81 Stop Tail Piece 24 White GHS 10-46
Carvin V220 1984 2 stock Carvin Humbuckers Stop Tail Piece 24 Red GHS 10-46
Carvin V220* 1989 2 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickups and 1 Carvin Humbucker in the middle Floyd Rose Bridge 24 White GHS 10-46
Carvin V220T 1985 with Seymour Duncan Distortion and Invader bridge pickups Kahler Pro 24 Red GHS 10-46
Carvin X220C 1993 2 DiMarzio Humbucker pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Carvin X220C 1992 2 DiMarzio Humbucker pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Carvin X220C 1992 2 DiMarzio Humbucker pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Carvin X220C 1992 2 Carvin Humbucker pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Carvin DC400 1990s 2 Carvin stock Humbuckers Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Koa Natural GHS 10-46
Custom HESS Infinity 1 2004 2 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Custom HESS Infinity 1 2004 2 Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire bridge pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Ibanez 7621 7 String 2000s DiMarzio Evolution Humbucker pickups Standard 24 Black GHS 10-56
Yamaha RGZ 321P 1980s? DiMarzio Humbucker pickups and stock Yamaha single coil in middle position Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Black GHS 10-46
Yamaha RGZ 321P 1980s? stock Yamaha Humbucker pickups and stock Yamaha single coil in middle position Floyd Rose Bridge 24 Blue GHS 10-46
Gibson Flying V (Double) 1989 Seymour Duncan pickups Floyd Rose Bridge 24 White GHS 10-46
Gibson 1957 Re-Issues Korina 1981 Gibson Humbucker and Seymour Duncan Invader Stop Tail Piece 22 Cream GHS 10-46
Samson 1/2 size Flying V 1990s? 1 Humbucker Stop Tail Piece 22 White GHS 9-42
Music Man SingRay5 (Bass) 2010 Dual Humbucking with alnico pole pieces, Optional - Humbucking/Single coil with alnico pole pieces Standard 22 Tabacco Burst GHS 40-130
Washburn XB400 (Bass) 1996 stock active pickups Standard 24 Red GHS 40-105

On stage and in the studio, Hess plays mainly Carvin guitars, including V220 and X220 models with a stoptail bridge. Hess uses Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire Pick Ups in most of his studio and live performance guitars.

During clinics and instructional master classes, he also sometimes plays the Yamaha RGZ 321P with a Floyd Rose bridge.[8]

Online Guitar Teaching, Music Career Mentoring And Guitar Teacher Training[edit]

On top of his career as a recording artist and touring musician, Hess also teaches musicians from all over the world how to improve their guitar playing skills, develop their music careers and build their own guitar teaching businesses. Many of Hess's guitar students have become full-time professional musicians[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] and music teachers who tour the world, release records and run their own music schools.[16][17]

Hess also contributes guitar lessons, columns and articles to guitar websites around the world, including:, and[18][19][20]

Tom Hess has also taught guitar at the National Guitar Workshop and started an electric guitar program at Harper College in Illinois, USA.[21]

In 2008, Hess's company Tom Hess Music Corporation has partnered with Luca Turilli from Rhapsody Of Fire to release a course for neoclassical guitar players, based upon Turilli's style of guitar playing.[22]


HESS Band[edit]

In 1994, Tom Hess formed the progressive rock band "HESS" along with his brother Scott Hess. To date, the band has released 2 full-length albums: "Opus 1" (April 20, 2000) and "Opus 2" (January 4, 2004).[23] Both albums have sold in more than 26 countries around the world, and remain among the top sellers in the Neo-Classical and Progressive categories at the instrumental guitar music distributor[24][25]

Current lineup of the HESS band:

  • Tom Hess - Guitars and Composition
  • Mike Walsh - Guitars
  • Scott Hess - Drums
  • Mark Carozza - Bass

HolyHell Years (2004-2008)[edit]

In 2004, Hess joined a power metal band HolyHell.[26] The band went on tour in 2005, before releasing its first album. Tom Hess and HolyHell played alongside bands such as Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell), Motorhead, Nightwish, Epica, Testament, Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire performing for crowds of up to 30,000 people.[4] Some of the band's notable performances included the Earthshaker's Festival in Germany and Masters of Rock Festival in the Czech Republic where the band performed the cover of "The Phantom Of The Opera".

In 2007, the band's first album Apocalypse was released [27] and HolyHell went on tour the second time.

In 2008, Hess left HolyHell to focus on other aspects of his music career.

In addition to touring the world, mentoring musicians online and recording music, Hess also performs instructional guitar clinic tours.[28]



  1. ^ a b Tom Hess Joins Rhapsody Of Fire -
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  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2012-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  8. ^ Tom Hess' Guitars -
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  18. ^ Ultimate Guitar -
  19. ^ Cyberfret -
  20. ^ Music Careers -
  21. ^ Shred Academy -
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  26. ^ Archived 2012-07-27 at
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