Mid-size steel-string built with Guatemalan rosewood and Alpine spruce
by Teja Gerken
October 14, 2019
Lowden’s F models are mid-size guitars (the bodies measure about 15¹³/₁₆-inches at the lower bout) that were originally introduced with flatpickers in mind—thus, the “F” designation. However, as the various F-size signature models for players like Alex DeGrassi, Pierre Bensusan, and Richard Thompson attest, George Lowden’s F design is a versatile platform with appeal for players of many musical styles. We recently had a chance to check out an F-35 built with Guatemalan rosewood and Alpine spruce, courtesy of Gryphon Stringed Instruments.
As part of the 35 series, the guitar resides in the middle of Lowden’s standard lines. The series is available with several different wood options, with or without a cutaway. Our demo guitar had a non-cutaway body, built with Lowden’s typical restrained appointments and clean, symmetrical lines that allows the beautiful woods to take center stage. The Guatemalan rosewood back and sides were lighter in color than some rosewoods, with lovely grain patterns and a sliver of sapwood accenting the center. The Alpine spruce top was about as white as spruce gets (though it will undoubtedly darken with age) and had tight, even grain throughout. The guitar’s wood binding, five-piece neck, ebony peghead overlay, and incredibly high level of craftsmanship all contributed to the distinguished appearance that Lowden is known for.
This F-35 was a super lively guitar, responsive to the softest touch, and rewarding dynamic playing with rich tones throughout its range. The guitar’s full bass reminded me of larger O-size Lowdens, but it was a bit more controlled, which could be good for aggressive playing. The guitar was a lot of fun to play fingerstyle in various alternate tunings, but it also had a strong voice when strummed with a pick. Lowdens are known for their power, and this F-35 was no exception; it would make a great instrument for situations where acoustic volume is important.
Overall, the F-35 is a great example of Lowden’s standard, no-frills design, delivered with exceptional woods. Whether you’re looking to add the distinctive Lowden voice to an existing collection of instruments or are hoping to find a single guitar to cover a lot of musical ground, the F-35 range of Lowden is well worth checking out.
SPECS: F-size body. Alpine spruce top. Guatemalan rosewood back and sides. Five-piece mahogany/rosewood/walnut neck. Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1 ¾-inch nut width. Gotoh 510 tuning machines. Made in Northern Ireland. $6,358. Lowdenguitars.com
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