Ed Sheeran goes electric as he joins The Darkness on stage in London, and riffs on a Lowden model with a story to tell

Ed Sheeran plays a Lowden GL-10 on stage with The Darkness
(Image credit: The Darkness' YouTube channel)

In what is one of the most surreal collaborations of 2023, Ed Sheeran joined The Darkness on stage at London’s Roundhouse to play Love Is Only a Feeling.

The multiple-chart-topping singer-songwriter is often seen with an acoustic guitar and his trusty Chewie II loop pedal. It’s a far rarer sight, however, to see him going full electric.

A special guest as The Darkness brought up their 2023 tour in England's capital, he looked in his element as he crunched his way through the song’s classic rock-tinged riffs, even taking to the mic for a verse and backing vocal duties.

After the band had released backstage footage of Justin Hawkins and Ed Sheeran rehearsing the song on acoustics backstage, they’ve now unveiled the full pro-shot video of the song. Not only that, but Sheeran picked a Lowden GL-10 for the job, a guitar that tells a story unto itself.

Sheeran has had an affinity for Lowden guitars after Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody gifted him a Baby Lowden. What started as a one-time commission for the acoustic-focused luthier as Sheeran looked to repay Lightbody with a custom electric for his 40th birthday, the GL-10 has grown into much more.

The solidbody electric features Lollar Imperial humbuckers and a Gotoh bridge, along with an arched top and chambered cutaway. Now a fully-fledged production model, it makes sense that Sheeran, making the jump from acoustic to electric, continues to employ a Lowden guitar. 

When needing an electric guitar, Sheeran often grabs his Fender Eric Clapton Crash 1 Stratocaster, featuring graffiti artwork by John "Crash" Matos. It's often used for the 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud.

Guitar-oglers wouldn’t have stopped there with this video, either. Justin Hawkins is seen playing an intriguing, Jaguar-esque guitar. After some digging, we can confirm it’s an Atkin Mindhorn

Featuring pearl block inlays and hand-wound PAF-style humbuckers, it's an instrument which wouldn't look out of place in a math rock band, which Hawkins has been flaunting throughout the band’s latest tour. Like Lowden, Atkins is a brand better known for its acoustics, creating a nice parallel between the two guitarists’ weapons of choice.

It continues Hawkins’ tradition of wielding angular eye-catching builds, including the Burns Jet Sonic, which looks like something Gerry Anderson would have dreamed up. 

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.