Tim Donahue’s Growing Electric Harp Guitar World

Lest I find myself in a blogging rut of Dyer-style harp guitar-playing virtuosos, here’s a 180° turn: an update on my friend, Electric Harp Guitar inventor and virtuoso Tim Donahue of Japan.

I’ve been thrilled to have him play his fretted EHG on two of the Harp Guitar Music compilations (Harp Guitar Dreams and the new Christmas Present), but I was especially excited to see that he has just added links on his site to two newly posted videos that feature his fretless EHG – an instrument he was long ago the inventor and stunning virtuoso of.  These are super rare clips that show Tim  in the studio playing two pieces for his 1994 Still Dreaming album.  His old CDs (mostly standard fretless guitar) have long been out of print and impossible to find, though most have become newly available as MP3s on Amazon (I’d recommend The Fifth Season or Earlyworks).  Still Dreaming – my favorite, and not just because it most features the solo fretless EHG – remains unreleased (and very pricey for copies).  I even once explored licensing it for re-release on HGM, but the costs were impractical.

Well, now you can hear and, even better, see, some of this amazing vintage Tim Donahue solo fretless electric harp guitar music.  This is what I was originally imagining from Tim for my own “Dreams” project – the harp strings juxtaposed with the silky, sliding counterpoint lines on the neck.  Watch his fingers as he manipulates chords, bass and lead lines in a complex puzzle of motion, all in perfect pitch.  Regardless of the extant that one enjoys the “dreamy” music, I think it’s pretty breathtaking to watch and hear.  Check it out:

“Last Friday Night”

“Tell Me A Story”

But back to the new fretted EHG.  As you may remember, over a year ago, Tim came out with a new high-end production version of his original TD Electric Harp Guitar.  He has subsequently been doing quite well with them; adding new colors and features, and getting them into the hands of a lot of new players – whom he has also added to his “Players” page (perhaps one day we’ll add them to HG.net…?!).

It’s fun seeing Tim’s trademark guitar with other faces:

Masato Wada (Japan)

Yoichi Kayama (Japan)

Jeff (Jahloon) Berg (U.K.), who runs Unfretted.com (he’s the fretless guitar version of me, it looks like)

Takumi Uchida (Japan)

Christophe Godbille (France)

And the most recent, Rick Menzel, lives in Texas – perhaps we’ll see him at HGG10?

For those less interested in Tim’s design and fabrication of his unique EHGs, perhaps you’ll enjoy his other unusual endeavor – the T-Trike!

  1. Chris_Bucklen Says:

    Just the utter simplicity of this literal “stick” of wood and wire and it’s ability (in the right hands) to create the nearly infinite amount of fantastic music is, in my opinion the definition of inspiration! Just wire, tuners and wood? Amazing!

  2. Tim Donahue Says:

    I’m indebted to my guru and musical mentor Gregg Miner for his cherished support. Gregg’s unparalleled virtuosity and passion for all things harp guitar has been a real inspiration to me, and I’m sure to many guitarists & fans around the world. Thank you Gregg for setting up this blog, and for the opportunity to communicate to players everywhere about my passion for electric harp guitar (EHG)!

    Best Always From Japan,

  3. Tim Donahue Says:

    Thank you for enjoying, Chris!

  4. Hiro-Moheji Says:

    I live in his 9 miles away neighboring town Kannami-cho.

  5. Tim Donahue Says:

    Hello Hiro-san,

    Nice to meet you here!

    Best Wishes From Mishima,

  6. Hiro-Moheji Says:

    Hello Tim-san,
    Thank you for your kind message!
    I pray for your health peace and smile.
    I often watched your music with Mr.Kazuo Imai. It’s so wonderful. It’s miracle.

    Thank you Mr.Gregg!!!

  7. Tim Donahue Says:

    Thank you again Hiro-san, I appreciate your kind comments. Hope to see you someday soon.

    Thank YOU Mr. Gregg- hope to see you someday too!

  8. Pete Bradshaw Says:

    Hello Tim,

    Nice trike!

    I’m also a recumbent rider – a Bacchetta Corsa high-racer.

    Have fun,


  9. Tim Donahue Says:

    Thanks Peter,

    I guess we harp guitarists are an eclectic bunch!

    Safe riding,

  10. Thomas Nielsen Says:

    An eclectic bunch, no doubt. I had the same thought; riding an Optima Baron myself which, incidentally, is pretty close to being the worst possible instrument-transport there is :-).

  11. Tim Donahue Says:

    Tom, I tend to keep harp guitars and trikes separate 🙂
    Harp guitars get to ride in the car!

    Best, TD

  12. Frank Doucette Says:

    Nice job Tim! I’d love to hear a whole CD of solo fretless EHG!

  13. Tim Says:

    Many thanks Frank- I appreciate your kind thought. To be perfectly honest, I must say that I have way too much solo harp guitar material, so it is really difficult to choose material for an album objectively. That’s where a good producer comes in (enter my hero & producer, Gregg Miner!). Then, the next thing I’m dealing with is plain old “time”! I need more of it to do an album properly. This year the time factor may loosen up a bit, and I can work on a project.

    In the meantime, things are quite busy with composing on the new production harp guitars, specifically for video material that I have promised for a long time. So please look for some new videos that are very different from what’s on the net now. I’ll have a new track uploaded in a few days and hope you enjoy it.

    Thank You Again Frank,
    Best Always From Japan,

  14. Tim Donahue Says:

    I dedicate this new vid to my main man Gregg Miner: http://youtu.be/cMogh7wp9Qk

  15. TD Says:

    Here’s a new one that I thought Andy McKee would like: http://youtu.be/52LEnvDq6uo

  16. Gregg Says:

    Thanks, Tim! You seem to be back in prolific mode.

  17. Tim Says:

    A piece about Love & Life… Hope it speaks to someone: http://youtu.be/6joovSEJisQ

  18. Tim Donahue Says:


    Here are 2 parts of an instructional video that I hope will shed some light on how I play the HG:


  19. Gregg Says:

    Wonderful, Tim. I’m on pins and needles waiting to see Part 3.
    Meanwhile, do all your students and fans know of your (unfinished!) instructional series on this very site?

  20. tim donahue Says:

    Hi Gregg, Just a note to say I’ve been trying to post part 3 of the instructional vids, and the post is visible one time, but gone the next time I log onto tis page. What’s left is the “Seems to be some duplicate messaging going on” message I posted after seeing the mysterious post about part 3, posted 3 times! Do you know what’s going on Oh Wise One?

    Best, TD

  21. Gregg Miner Says:

    Sure don’t Tim. Here’s the link to Part 3 for everyone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5–OItd3SlU
    You sure make it look easy, but I know it ain’t!

  22. Thomas Nielsen Says:

    (*Very* guitar unrelated) Before posting a second comment try reloading the page. The error message is from the system preventing erroneous double posts if someone accidentally double-clicks the Submit button or reclicks it before the original comment is fully uploaded. It may not be the cause but worth a try if a variable is somehow left in an unknown state.

  23. Tim Donahue Says:

    Thanks Thomas-

    A quick note to say I’m back to recording with ECLIPSE and will be doing a video the middle of this month.
    Just electric harp guitar + drums! No bassist or other guitarist needed. The electric HG is such a wild intrument, I never, ever get bored with it as I do playing regular (or even fretless) 6-string guitar.

    Long live harp guitars!!! I think Gregg would agree.
    Best Always,

  24. Tim Donahue Says:

    Dear Gregg,

    Here is a new promo video just released:

    Hope the HG family enjoys!

  25. Tim Donahue Says:

    Hello Gregg and all HG Afficianados (hope I spelled that right),

    A quick post to say a new ECLIPSE video has been released,
    and, the harp guitars are rockin’ out! Hope “HEAVEN” speaks to all HG lovers out there: http://www.timdonahue.com/videos.html

    Also, the http://www.timdonahue.com website has been updated with all sorts of HG info,
    so I hope readers will find some interesting HG-related stuff.

    Thank you Gregg, Joe, Stephen and Frank for the HGG10 thumbs up!
    Looking forward to helping make the event a success and hearing so many great harp guitarists.

    Best Always From Japan,

  26. Tim Donahue Says:

    Hello Gregg and Harp Guitar Lovers,

    Just a note to say “Hi” and see you soon at HGG10!
    Sushi dinner coming your way Gregg…


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