An affordable T-style that delivers tonal versatility worthy of its namesake.

Tele master Danny Gatton once referred to Jerry Donahue as “the string-bending king of the planet.” It’s an apt description. In addition to being a member of the British folk-rock group Fairport Convention (and Fairport offshoot Fotheringay) in the early- to mid-’70s, his playing helped propel the Hellecasters and the Electric Revelators, and albums by Robert Plant and Elton John.

Several Jerry Donahue signature models have been issued over the years—the most recent being the $1,299 Fret-King JD Duncan Black Label, designed by Trev Wilkinson. The Vintage version reviewed here is a considerably less-expensive alternative to the JD Duncan, designed to put a little Donahue magic into the hands of players with more limited budgets. Despite its modest price, the V58JDAB claims to deliver much of the sonic versatility of its costlier sibling—largely by way of a proprietary 5-way pickup selector designed by Donahue and configured just like the one on the JD Duncan.

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Dr. Z tinkers with a classic template and delivers a delicious combo with headroom and grit.

Judging from its name, one might reasonably expect the Z-Lux to be yet another emulation of a certain legendary Fender amplifier, but that narrow classification doesn’t do it justice. This contemporary 40-watt combo (also available as a head) may be rooted in the past, but it brings a wider range of capabilities to the stage or studio than most classic tweed-style amps—not the least being considerably more clean volume.

The Z-Lux combines the characteristics of several existing Dr. Z amps with new twists. It marries the front end of a MAZ Reverb with the quad 6V6 power section of a Remedy, while providing a half/full power switch like the one found on the discontinued JAZ 20/40. There’s also a robust tremolo section and a built-in boost that bypasses the tone stack and gently gooses the gain. Boost and tremolo/reverb footswitches are included.

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