I hope you enjoy my designs of hand-made, one of a kind art/concept guitars made mostly from found materials. Each instrument is intended to produce great tone, be highly functional and, of course, look cool.
My vision is to utilize found wood products, aged copper as well as other metals, fabric and leather to create a unique visual esthetic. I prefer using "natural" materials rather then synthetics for the most part. Usually the only plastic found on my guitars is on the pickup covers. I have read that plastic covers allow for better tone. I am however currently working on a bass with a clear acrylic body that lights up. We'll see how that works out.
My necks are made from scratch and are finished with tongue oil rather than lacquer. This makes for a smooth fast playing surface. (I heard Eddie Van Halen likes non-lacquered necks. Is he fast enough for you?) As a yearly maintenance program I recommend re-applying tongue oil to the neck surface to keep it sealed. My hand made necks are slightly deeper than most (7/8" at the nut) because necks with greater density are easier to keep straight. I use metals like copper or brass for my inlay dots.
These guitars are hand painted and incorporate my original computer graphic art as well. (I use water based paints and lacquers on my bodies. I guess that constitute plastic as well.) No two are alike. Each one is the only one of its kind in the world with its own distinctive and original look and sound.
Remember when you bought a brand new Les Paul and were so happy to own a shiny new Gibson? Then do you remember how depressed you were when you put the first ding in it? Donahue Guitar Arts guitars never attempt to capture that shiny new appearance. They are made with dings and imperfections already there on purpose so you won't have to deal with that eventual bout of depression.
Think of it this way: If you buy a Van Gogh are you concerned about whether it is "new" or "mint" or how "perfect" it looks? Such considerations are irrelevant with a my guitars. Any so called "imperfections" prove that it was made by hand from scratch by a human and it will never be duplicated.
I build these guitars from a visual artist's perspective. Most builders will throw away a piece of wood if they make a "mistake". In my garage there are no mistakes. In fine arts we are taught to not be afraid to ruin a painting. In fact, "good" art has been made and ruined several time over. This is called a "dialogue with the canvas". By allowing for detours from any preconceived plan, the resulting dialogue allows the work to take on a life of its own emulating the organic beauty found in nature.
You can be equally comfortable bringing your Donahue Guitar Arts instrument to a gig or hanging it on your wall as art. Each guitar/art work is equipped with top quality hardware and electronics from the most reputable manufacturers achieving excellent sound and functionality. Names like LSR, Sperzel, Shaller, Kluson, Seymour Duncan, Lace, Bartolini, Wilkinson, Hipshot, Dimarzio, Gotoh, Bigsby and other quality brands can be found on my instruments.
I often will match unique pickup combinations together to produce tone that can never be duplicated. DGA1 for example features a 70's vintage Gibson P-90 with a hand-wound Seymour Duncan bridge humbucker. This kind of customization can't be found on mass manufactured guitars.
My background is in guitar "playing" as well as graphic design and visual arts. Therefore I incorporate hardware, components, electronics, etc. from manufacturers I have come to trust as a player of over twenty five years.
Mark Vetsch, a master luthier who has worked on my personal guitar collection for over twenty five years is my consultant and performs the final assembly and set-up. Each custom hand made instrument sounds and plays great and looks cool too. In addition, since Donahue Guitar Arts uses found materials in its construction process, you will be able to own a hand made instrument at a surprisingly affordable price point.
Bookmark this site. As you revisit www.donahueguitar.com you will begin to see photos of my finished pieces with prices and availability. I'll also keep you up to date with any special events of interest. I have thus far held one showcase of my work at the Spring 2006 Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis. Look on the home page of this site for information about future guitar art shows as they arise. Thank you for visiting.