My guitar collection - G&L


Jerry Donahue is one of the best-loved Tele-style guitar slingers around and another founding member of The Hellecasters. Starting in the late eighties, Fender had a Jerry Donahue signature Telecaster (as well as a Strat), all of them built in Japan. This model is G&L‘s attempt to build a Tele Signature model with all of the typical Jerry Donahue specs. A swamp ash body in Blueburst or Three-tone Sunburst finish, 3-saddle(!) traditional Tele-bridge, Seymour Duncan Jerry Donahue Lead Tele (APTL-3JD) bridge pickup combined with a CLF-100 pickup, and hard-rock maple neck with a satin finish and increased roll on the edges of the 7½” radius fingerboard. With it comes a complex wiring harness including a 5-position Super Switch wired in Jerry’s preferred manner providing many tonal options: 1-neck, 2-neck with parallel 0.0022μF capacitor for deeper tone, 3-neck & bridge, 4-neck and bridge out-of-phase, and 5-bridge. Looks pretty much like a Jerry Donahue signature model to me!

But something went horribly wrong. G&L got beaten out by Peavey who announced the Jerry Donahue Signature Omniac Guitar in early-2005. Hence, you will never see an explicit reference to Jerry or his name in any of the literature released by G&L while everybody still fully knows what “JD” in the model designation stands for. It would come as no surprise that, according to Hellecaster/Telecaster specialist Mac Whiteside, an estimated 12 of these guitars were built between 2004 and 2007 when production stopped. My guitar is one of the few in Three-tone Sunburst finish. (When talking to Mac, he started with “So you have the Sunburst?”, almost making me believe this is the only original Sunburst). Only in 2012, G&L would release another ASAT production model with an Alnico (bridge) pickup: the ASAT Classic Alnico. The ASAT JD-5 webpage was finally taken down in December 2013, but still accessible via this archived snapshot from 2008.



The story behind this guitar


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Oh what a summer/early-autumn it was in 2009. The economy had been tanking for more than a year. And you could notice. Not only did prices come down, but also the inventory was wide and diverse. Many very interesting pieces were offered on eBay or at other places. This was the fifth of a septet of guitars that I was able to score. And it was the first time that I was confronted with being outbid (twice) but still winning the auction because in both cases the bids were retracted!? The 5-position Super Switch needed some cleaning. The 1-position initially seemed to be dead when the guitar arrived. But by moving the switch slightly back it works beautifully with a great, snappy bridge pickup. The neck pickup has a warm vibe and the other 3 position give you a nice palette of tones. Too bad this guitar could not stay in production. Like the ASAT JD-5, the Omniac is no longer in production either. In 2010, Jerry started a collaboration with JHS (UK) resulting in a number of Signature models: first the Fret-King Black Label Series JD guitar, which I believe is identical to the Fret-King ‘JDD’ Jerry Donahue/Seymour Duncan model, followed by the Vintage V58 ‘Jerry Donahue Signature’ in 2016 which unfortunately became his last Signature model due to the severe stroke he suffered that year. But enjoy Jerry doing his magic during better days in this video. Finally, judging from the “Vintage Guitar Price Guide”, the JD-5 is the Jerry Donahue model, demanding e.g. about 3 times the price of the Peavey model!

The story behind this guitar



none, marked ‘ASAT JD-5’

2004 (month and date illegible due to sanding and shim)

D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)