Instruments & Gear: Instrument Demos

Lowden Pierre Bensusan Signature Model

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The fingerstyle master demonstrates his guitar and amplification rig.

by Teja Gerken
January 19, 2017

Last March, Peghead Nation caught up with fingerstyle master Pierre Bensusan during a soundcheck at the 142 Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley, California. We took the opportunity to have him demonstrate and discuss his Lowden signature model guitar.

Pierre bought his first Lowden in a Parisian guitar store in 1978—just four years after luthier George Lowden had started the company. In the four decades since, Pierre has been one of Lowden’s most loyal artists, having played the original guitar (which George modified with a cutaway and wider string-spacing in 1989) for most of his career. “I believe in having one instrument, and having that instrument become your voice,” Pierre says. “Make it change as you wish; it’s not necessary, because you want a different sound, to go to a different guitar. It’s more interesting to make that instrument reach different colors as you adapt your playing with it.” Today, Pierre refers to his original S22 (a model that would be called an O22 today) as the “Old Lady,” and he still occasionally performs with it. But since 2009, his main guitar has been Lowden’s Pierre Bensusan signature model, which has a slightly smaller F-size body that he finds more comfortable since developing shoulder issues several years ago. It is built with Honduras rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top.

In this video, Pierre also talks about his amplification chain, which includes a Barbera Soloist pickup, a Mission Engineering VM-PRO-PZ volume pedal, a Universal Audio Apollo Duo audio interface, and an Apple Macbook Pro laptop. He demonstrates the guitar and electronic setup through the theater’s PA, and finishes by playing a section of his composition “L’Alchimiste.”

SPECS: F-size Lowden body with cutaway and arm-rest bevel. Adirondack spruce top. Honduras rosewood back and sides. Five-piece maple neck with fingerstyle profile. Ebony fingerboard. Pinless Madagascar rosewood bridge. 650 mm (25.59 inches) scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Gotoh 510 tuners.


Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by TejaGerken on
Hi Richard,
Thanks for your comment. I think your best bet for getting details on suitable models and pricing would be to contact Barbera directly via their website ( I don't have personal experience using Barbera pickups, but I've heard them sound really good not only in Pierre's guitar, but also in several other instruments, so I think they're definitely worth exploring!

Teja Gerken
Peghead Nation
Posted by Richard Dunlop on
I own 5 Lowdens, 4 F50s and an S23. I am interested in putting Soloist pickups in them. Could you give me information on which models and pricing? Richard Dunlop
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