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Jerry Donahue - Master of the 'caster

Published 8 years ago on January 18, 2013

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

 

Sometime Hellecaster, sometime Fairport Convention guitarist Jerry Donahue is one of the world's greatest masters of the Telecaster. So why isn't he playing one now?

Lee Hodgson

Sometime Hellecaster, sometime Fairport Convention guitarist Jerry Donahue is one of the world's greatest masters of the Telecaster. So why isn't he playing one now? Lee Hodgson brings us a definitive interview.

I recall how, back in the early '90s at a sound check for a Guitar Institute masterclass with the Hellecasters, Jerry Donahue needed one of the loudspeakers in his Matchless combo disconnecting and I, being off duty and handy with a soldering iron, became his technician for, ooh, about five minutes! I'd heard about Jerry's no compromise approach to tone so perhaps it should have come as no surprise that he preferred the sound of just one speaker from the pair (if my memory serves me correctly it was a specially modified Celestion Greenback that Jerry particularly liked to the exclusion of the other, different model contained within the combo - Matchless didn't use identical speakers). Mr Donahue's obsession with achieving a gutsy, balanced tone is now legendary. Indeed, as Jerry set up for the GI interview, sitting early on in the signal chain of Jerry's modest pedal board I saw the result of one of his early collaborations with a manufacturer, the (Award) Session JD10 pre-amp, sadly no longer in production, which gives a wide range of classy tones, from silky to grinding, with wonderful sustain (it's not a compressor as such, although it does give that typical nnng


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