While the collaboration between George Lowden and Ed Sheeran – one of the world’s acoustic guitar-making giants and one of the planet’s biggest-selling artists – is known to most people, nothing quite prepares you for the actual experience of playing one of these exquisitely designed and simplistically constructed guitars made at Lowden’s HQ in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Based on the 610mm (24-inch) scale Wee Lowden, originally designed for Sheeran, the small shape is one of two offered in the Sheeran By Lowden range. And while this model may be one of a 3,000-only run, aside from a few additional motifs, it’s essentially the same as the top-line W-04.
All the Sheeran by Lowden guitars have a price point below £1k (approx. $1,199) and, as such, are pared down to the essentials, yet they feel sturdy and road-ready.
There’s no binding around the solid Sitka spruce top or figured walnut sides, for example – the latter a five-piece walnut/mahogany/walnut/mahogany/walnut lamination.
The quarter-sawn mahogany neck, a single piece with a separate heel stack, is beautifully shaped with a full ‘C’ profile that actually feels quite electric-guitar-like.
Despite the short scale, there’s plenty of air in the playability with a nut width of 43.6mm (and string spacing of 36mm) opening out to 54.5mm at the bridge. The bridge, fingerboard and headstock facing are all ebony, too – a dark brown rather than jet black – which suits the style.
The craft appears faultless throughout, not least the excellent fretwork from a medium-gauge wire on the 406mm (16-inch) radius fingerboard. Everything is clean and crisp, reflecting Lowden’s hard-earned reputation for its craft.
But does small body mean small sound? Well, you don’t get the colossal low-end of a good dreadnought, but there’s surprising depth that creates a balanced voice – purpose-built for both stage and recording.
The short scale gives less perceived tension to the 0.012 to 0.053-gauge strings, too, so bends are fluid and, again, we’re struck by how electric-like the Sheeran feels.
It may come across as the perfect sofa noodler or travel guitar, but when amplified those trimmer basses clean up the voice for a big, projecting sound, with quite a broad tonal range from the soundhole-placed tone control.
- PRICE: £995 / approx. $1,195 (inc gigbag)
- ORIGIN: Northern Ireland
- TYPE: Wee Lowden-style electro-acoustic
- TOP: Solid Sitka spruce
- BACK/SIDES: Figured walnut 5-piece laminate
- MAX RIM DEPTH: 96mm (tapering to 86mm by the heel)
- MAX BODY WIDTH: 335mm
- NECK: Mahogany
- SCALE LENGTH: 610mm (24”)
- TUNERS: Enclosed die-cast, chrome
- NUT/WIDTH: Graph Tech Tusq/ 43.6mm
- FINGERBOARD: Ebony, ‘=’ inlay at 7th fret, 406mm (16”) radius
- FRETS: 21, medium
- BRIDGE/SPACING: Ebony w/ compensated Tusq saddle/54.5mm
- ELECTRICS: LR Baggs EAS VTC WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.84/4
- LEFT-HANDERS: Not yet
- FINISH: Natural satin
- CONTACT: Sheeran Guitars