Building a Jerry Donahue Telecaster

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Butch Snyder, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Building a Jerry Donahue Telecaster

    I have returned the Rio Grande Tallboy set that I bought. They were decent, but not all that wonderful, IMO. I decided that, in honor of one of my biggest influences and due to the fact that he has suffered a debilitating stroke, I'm building a Jerry Donahue Telecaster. I have been told that it's unlikely that he will ever play guitar again. What a tremendous loss.

    I will be using my 2006 Fender Baja Tele for this project. I am procuring an APTL-3JD/APS-1 combo. I have a Jerry Donahue Omniac wiring assembly that I ordered special from 920D Custom. They carry the Jerry donahue Telecaster wiring assembly; but I like the Omniac version better. It's the same as the other; except in Pos. 4, you get the neck pickup with a cap/resistor which makes it sound like a PAF. It's very nice.

    I will report back when my project is complete.
     
    jim777, SPUDCASTER, tintag27 and 2 others like this.
  2. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I love the Jerry D bridge pickup. Best wishes with the build.
     
  3. elmicko

    elmicko Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to have one of the Japanese Fender JD Telecasters and it was an awesome guitar. Good luck with the build, I think you'll love it.
     
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  4. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    It's been a couple of weeks since I started this thread. My Jerry Donahue Tele is complete. Here are a couple of pics.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A little back story - I went to Guitar Center Cincinnati on my lunch break and saw this guitar sitting on a stand. It's a 2006 Classic Player Baja in Desert Sand. Someone had really messed up the electronics, but it felt and played wonderful. I took it home and replaced everything under the control plate. The pickups were fine though. I kept it like that for several months, just a standard 50's type Tele; no 4-way switch or anything.

    Given my love for Jerry Donahue's playing and tone, I have always considered him a major influence on my playing and desire to play. When I heard he'd had a major stroke, I was dumbfounded. I decided to turn my Baja into a Jerry Donahue Telecaster and take up the gauntlet. I will never have Jerry Donahue's ability; but it is fun trying.

    I sent a note to 920D Custom Shop. I knew they offered a Jerry Donahue wiring assembly, modeled after his Telecaster. I asked them if they could make me a control assembly modeled after his Peavey Omniac, Fret King, or Vintage Reissue brand 58JD. All three have the same wiring scheme. I like that wiring better than his signature Tele wiring. The difference is the #4 and # 5 positions.

    On his signature Tele, the #4 and #5 switching is:
    #4 position - neck pickup w/tone control
    #5 position - neck pickup w/o tone control

    It's really bright, too bright for me.

    The Fret King, Peavey, and Vintage signature guitars have the #4 and #5 positions as follows:
    #4 position - neck pickup with capacitor/resistors to fatten the tone (sounds like a sweet PAF - REALLY!)
    #5 position - neck pickup normal (w/tone control)

    I had a set of Rio Grande Tallboys and I didn't like them. I contacted the store I bought them from and was able to exchange them for a Duncan APTL-3JD/APS-1 combo. The pickups arrived yesterday and I installed everything. The guitar sounds just like Jerry's guitars with that wiring scheme, and better than the Vintage 58JD because I'm using the actual Seymour Duncan pickups and not copies.

    I will post a video this afternoon showing the tones from the guitar.
     
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  5. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Doesn't look like the photos from the other post are good. Here they are:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Me too! I recorded most of my old band's CD ( 1999?) with the JD.
    Great ( comfy!) fat neck, and 5- PU combinations- very stealthy in presentation.
    ( needed $$, had to sell a few years later)
     
  7. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's

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    I have always loved the JD teles.

    Honestly, hard to get much more versatile than a tele with a strat neck pickup.

    Looks great! Any sound clips?
     
  8. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Great!

    On the original Fender Custom Shop model the front pickup was put a little bit more forward towards the bridge.
     
  9. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I did two videos from my son's phone. As soon as he uploads them, I'll post them.

    It's really not needed. His Fret King and Vintage V58JD aren't like that. The neck pickup is in standard position.
     
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  10. Mrbob135

    Mrbob135 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I also can't wait to hear clips...following!
     
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  11. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok, videos uploaded.


     
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  12. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm going to take my "JD" Tele to a band rehearsal tonight. See how it does. I started using a different gauge string set and I need to change the set on this guitar; maybe this weekend.
     
  13. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    This guitar does a whole lot more than Country that's for sure. I took it to a rehearsal and pos. #4 was really lush and soulful.
     
  14. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Friend of Leo's

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    Really nicely done.
     
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  15. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    Nice job, thanks for sharing
     
  16. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    That's one Tele that Fender should still be making today. You don't see too many Fender Jerry Donahue Teles on eBay. I suspect the owners want to hang on to them.

    I had 2 MIJs - one 3TS, one Crimson Red Transparent.

    Had a shot at a US Custom Shop Jerry Donhaue (in 3TS) that had purportedly been owned by Jerry himself. It played great but I turned it down for the lack of a COA. I'm still kicking myself for not jumping on it...
     
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