The Wee Lowden is a modern parlor guitar that offers a big sound and premium woods.
by Teja Gerken
December 01, 2016
The Wee Lowden, a contemporary take on the parlor guitar, is the latest model from Northern Ireland’s Lowden Guitars. Lowden has used a smaller version of its original F body shape rather than the Victorian-era designs found on many parlor guitars. Instead of a 12-fret neck with a slotted headstock, the instrument has the same 14-fret neck used on the company’s other models (but with a shorter scale), as well as standard Lowden design and construction choices throughout. The Wee Lowden is available in all of Lowden’s series (with different wood combinations and appointments), and we had a chance to check out the WL-35x, generously loaned to us by Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California.
The WL-35x is built with Indian rosewood back and sides and a red cedar top. Like all Lowdens, it forgoes elaborate appointments and inlays, letting its high-quality woods take center stage. Besides the main body woods, the guitar features beautiful wood binding made of sycamore, walnut, rosewood, and mahogany. There is no inlay in the fingerboard (but there are abalone position dots on the side of the fingerboard), and a simple abalone rosette is the only non-wood design element. The guitar has Lowden’s five-piece neck (laminated lengthwise) and pinless bridge with a two-piece saddle. Our demo guitar included an optional LR Baggs Anthem pickup system.
Playing the instrument made it clear that George Lowden and his team have succeeded in creating a unique instrument that is incredibly comfortable to hold and easy to play, thanks to its short 610-mm. (slightly more than 24-inch) scale and great setup. While this makes the Wee Lowden the ultimate guitar for the couch or to take traveling, it’s also a fully mature guitar with a voice that belies its small dimensions. With great tonal balance and wide dynamic range, it could easily serve as a primary guitar for players looking for a comfortable instrument with a complex tonal signature, both acoustically and when amplified.
SPECS: Wee Lowden body with 14-fret neck. Solid red cedar top with dolphin-shaped X-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Five-piece mahogany and rosewood neck. Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood bridge. 610-mm. (24.02-inch) scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2¼-inch string spacing at saddle. Gotoh 510 tuning machines. LR Baggs Anthem electronics. Made in Northern Ireland. $6,665 list as shown (Wee Lowden models start at $4,395). Lowdenguitars.com
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