How are the Jerry Donahue CIJ Telecasters?

jsegovia

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Can those of you who own or have owned Crafted in Japan Jerry Donahue Telecasters tell me how they compare to AVRI '52 Teles or to other production Teles? I'm considering buying one but I've read where those basswood bodies are known to break up over time and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to use the pickups and the five-way pickup switch to get all the Tele tones I'm looking for.

I imagine it has great twang since it's Jerry Donahue's design but is it also good for classic clean Tele tones, and does it sound good through an overdriven amp? It's I think a '98 and it looks to be in excellent condition judging by the pictures, but it's still almost a twenty-five year old guitar and I have no experience whatsoever with how basswood ages.

Also, they're asking $999 with a Fender gig bag, so I'd have to buy a hardshell case on top of that. Fair price for a '98 JD Tele?

Thanks!
 

teletail

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I bought one when they first came out. You can get every sound out of it that you can get out of a tele. As far as breaking up, unless you're going to use it for a hammer, I wouldn't worry. I'd check sold prices on eBay and Reverb to see what they are going for. One of the few I wish I hadn't gotten rid of.
 

Frisco 57

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I don't much about the two versions of a Jerry D. signature model Telecasters but this tele partscaster has a MIJ Jerry Donahue neck. It is by far, my favorite! I wish I had 5 more of those JD Necks. (my 2 cents)

Tele 010 (2).jpg
Tele 005.jpg
 

pbenn

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The JD switching is the key. You're gaining a Neck no tone/Neck tone preset possibility plus a HOOP quack, and losing nothing else. (First JD switching).
 

RWB

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I've had my JD Telecaster for just over 27 years, back when it was called Made in Japan instead of CIJ. I still love this guitar and have played quite a few gigs with it. There is nothing wrong with a basswood body.
 

That Cal Webway

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An interesting thing with the Fender CS JD,

the neck pickup is moved a little bit more towards the bridge then the mij one.

.
 

kinkstah

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I bought one when they first came out. You can get every sound out of it that you can get out of a tele. As far as breaking up, unless you're going to use it for a hammer, I wouldn't worry. I'd check sold prices on eBay and Reverb to see what they are going for. One of the few I wish I hadn't gotten rid of.
+1. I never owned a MIJ/CIJ JD Telecaster, but had opportunities to play that model on a few occasions: IME it's a reeeaaallly nice sounding guitar, and the build/finish quality was top notch too! I regret not having bought one, back when they were more readily available. And, as pointed out above by other posters, the neck is great.

 

max_twang

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I have two of them -- they were my main gigging guitars a while back.

The necks are nice -- kind of a soft vee. The thing that got me interested in them was their versatility. Strat pickup in the neck position, but the 5 way switch gets you the Strat out of phase quack, and the classic Tele bridge sound. You also get the neck with the tone control out of the circuit (not my favorite setting) and the neck and bridge together sound like a Tele with the two pickups in parallel.

The stock pickups are not bad. But, because I could, I swapped. One guitar got Fender original vintage '52s. The other got the pickups that came in the CS model -- Seymour Duncan neck and the SD Jerry Donahue bridge (nice pickup.) They all sounded similar to me -- better or worse is just a matter of individual preference. Very usable sounds, whether clean or distorted.

The basswood bodies are reputed to be "softer" vs. ash or alder (or whatever...) but I haven't found this to be a problem. I've certainly never heard of them breaking!

No idea of a fair price today. I got one of mine used at a Guitar Center in Westchester, NY probably about 15 years ago. I paid $750 with a hard Fender case (in not great condition -- slightly crooked when trying to close it, one sickly hinge). The other was a CL bargain :). Check Reverb for actual sales prices.

If the guitar you're considering doesn't work out, there are wiring diagrams available for the various incarnations of Jerry Donahue's guitars -- the JD, the Custom Shop model, as well as the Peavey Omniac. You'll need a 5 way superswitch and a few caps and resistors.
 

Paul G.

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I had one. Best neck I've ever played. The switching was nice, some extra tones there. The pickups were kind of blah -- if I kept it, I would have swapped them out for sure. Basswood isn't a problem, it'll dent easy if you use it for construction work, but if you're just playing the guitar, it'll hold up just fine. I don't think Basswood or Poplar guitars have as much presence or poke as Ash, Alder or Mahogany bodies, but they're ok.
 

bettyseldest

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I tried one a few years back. Really liked it. Afterwards I bid on a couple on eBay, I pulled out when the bids went north of£750. That was five years ago, I dread to think what they would go for now.
 

Allen Peterson

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RedTele.jpg

1986 MIJ (March 6) I believe it's basswood. I'm the original owner and have had no problems with the body breaking up. It doesn't seem overly soft to me. The basswood breaking up thing is probably a myth. The neck is the best I've ever played. I've changed the pickups to Vintage Lollars and replaced the switch. I still have the original pickups. The neck pickup went microphonic and I didn't want to re-pot it.
 

Flaneur

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Add me to the list, of folks who had a chance to buy one- but didn't. A great neck and juicy, hot-vintage pickups. Big mistake.....
 




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