Born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1958, he built his first guitar aged 15, later he built a fretless guitar with three pickups which became his main instrument while studying jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in 1983. Tim and his wife Kumiko then moved to her native Japan.
Tim Donahue with Vigier
In 1984/5 he built two fretless harp guitars, one later becoming fretted.
In 1986 Tim’s fretless guitar design was manufactured as the “Selva Tim Donahue Model” by Japan’s Ishibashi Instruments. This was accompanied by Tim’s fretless guitar tutorial book. (published in full on unfretted.com)
Tim Donahue, seen here with the sculptured fretless axe that he built in 1984.
Tim now concentrates on his harp guitar and the two man band Eclipse, featuring Tim and drummer Akira Yamazaki.
After some time trying to find a manufacturer who would adhere to Tim’s exacting requirements for the harp guitar in 2010 he teamed up with the ASKA/DEVISER Corp. based in Japan’s Nagano Mountains and a limited number of instruments are made every year.
The Fifth Season (1986, 2006)
Still Dreaming (1994,vinyl)
Mark’s Mountain (1995 soundtrack CD)
Voices in the Wind (1996) vocals: Paul Rodgers
Into the Light (2000)
Fretless Guitar Masters (comp. 2001) – two tracks: Ambiguity, Dropzone.
Madmen & Sinners (2004) vocals: James LaBrie
Village of the Unfretted (comp. 2005) – Liftoff.
Some more pictures…
Tim at the Kokobunji Jazz Festival
Tim’s 2005 tour of Japanback to Fretless guitarists