San Francisco Bay Area songwriter/guitarist Kyle Alden demonstrates the Lowden that’s been his main guitar for more than 20 years.
by Teja Gerken
May 22, 2017
San Francisco Bay Area multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kyle Alden plays original and traditional Irish music, and for more than 20 years his primary acoustic guitar has been a Lowden O25c, which he keeps in DADGAD tuning.
Built in 1993, Kyle’s O-25c was crafted in the Newtonards, Northern Ireland, shop that was home to Lowden production from 1988 to 2003. As an “O” style guitar, it has the “original” jumbo body that luthier George Lowden developed in the early 1970s, and the “25” designation means that it has Indian rosewood back and sides and a cedar top. The guitar has Lowden’s usual five-piece neck and pinless bridge with a two-piece saddle.
Kyle purchased the guitar used around 1996 after finding it in a local paper’s classified ads. It had previously been used in a movie and had been played very little. Two decades of playing and countless Irish seisiúns have left their marks on the guitar, and Kyle has had an oversized, clear pickguard installed to protect the relatively soft cedar top from his flatpick. “This guitar is really suited to the music I play,” he says. “It’s a very resonant, loud guitar, and it will just ring and ring and ring. I use a hybrid flatpick-and-fingerpicking technique, and there’s a lot of variety and nuance I can achieve.”
Kyle has used the guitar on all his CDs, including his latest, Down in the West, Volume 2, which blends American and Irish traditions. In this video, Kyle demonstrates the guitar’s dynamic sound with some Irish-style backup and performs the song “George’s Street.”
SPECS: O-size body with cutaway. Cedar top. Indian rosewood back, and sides. Five-piece mahogany and rosewood neck. Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood bridge with split saddles. 25.59-inch scale. 45-mm. nut width. Gotoh tuning machines. Made in Northern Ireland. Lowdenguitars.com
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