Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Sheeran by Lowden W01

Sponsored By

This affordable parlor size guitar is a collaboration with Lowden and pop superstar Ed Sheeran.

by Teja Gerken
May 14, 2019

With hits such as “Photograph,” “Perfect,” “Castle on the Hill,” and others, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has become one of today’s most successful recording artists and live acts. An accomplished guitarist, Sheeran often uses a loop pedal in performance, and while many of his songs feature pop-style production, an acoustic guitar is often the driving force behind his sound. Sheeran began playing Lowden guitars several years ago, which led luthier George Lowden to develop a prototype of the parlor-size Wee Lowden model (check out our demo of a WL-35x) in hopes that Sheeran, who has long preferred small guitars, would play it. Sheeran did indeed start using Wee Lowdens as his main guitar, and the size has become a popular model for the Northern Irish company. At last January’s Winter NAMM show, Lowden surprised the industry by coming out with a co-branded line of guitars with Sheeran, who hopes that by offering a relatively affordable version of his favorite guitar, his fans will be inspired to take up the instrument. Sheeran by Lowden instruments are built in a brand-new factory located near the Lowden workshop in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. We had a chance to check out one of the first Sheeran by Lowden guitars available in North America, a W01, courtesy of Gryphon Stringed Instruments.

The W01 has the same parlor-size dimensions as the Wee Lowden. Our demo guitar’s walnut back and sides had beautiful figure, and the cedar top had a rich color and even grain. While the W01 follows the Lowden template in many aspects, it has been simplified in several ways to allow for a much lower price. However, all the materials used are of very high quality, and the craftsmanship is excellent throughout. The W01 has no neck or body binding, a one-piece neck, a single-piece saddle, a simple rosette, and a satin finish.

The W01’s compact dimensions make it very comfortable, and the short 24-inch scale makes fretting-hand stretches much more manageable than on most full-size guitars. The guitar’s tone emphasizes midrange frequencies, and its quick response, typical of guitars with cedar tops, makes it a very lively instrument. It had respectable volume when I strummed open-string chords up the neck using a progression similar to Sheeran’s “Photograph,” and it had excellent definition and balance when I played it fingerstyle. Though the guitar doesn’t have the same level of attention to detail and sophistication as a standard Lowden (which costs four or five times the price of a Sheeran), it definitely conveys a good amount of the tonality Lowden is famous for: rich overtones, a fast attack, and excellent volume.

Overall, the W01 would be a fabulous choice for a beginning player, regardless of whether they want to play like Ed Sheeran. And it would also make an excellent instrument for anyone looking for a compact guitar with a full sound. Players who want to capture a bit of the Lowden vibe at a previously unheard of price should also check out the Sheeran line. In addition to the Wee size, Sheeran by Lowden instruments are also available in Lowden’s S body shape, and wood options include santos rosewood back and sides and spruce tops.

SPECS: Wee Lowden size body with 14-fret neck. Cedar top. Walnut back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 630 mm. (24-inch scale. 1.71-inch nut width. Enclosed chrome tuning machines. Made in Northern Ireland.$825.


Category: Instruments & Gear

Related Instruments and Gear Videos

The Guitars of “Duets”

Teja Gerken and Doug Young discuss the guitars used on their recent album of fingerstyle duets.

Lowden F-35

Mid-size steel-string built with Guatemalan rosewood and Alpine spruce

Lowden WL-35 Jazz

A parlor-size crossover nylon-string with a big sound and an LR Baggs pickup.

Lowden S-35C 12-Fret

A powerful small-body built with Sitka spruce and Indian rosewood.

Lowden S-35 12-Fret

A modern small-body steel-string with a 12-fret neck, cedar top, and walnut back and sides.

Lowden O-35

A gorgeous, powerful jumbo built with Madagascar rosewood and red cedar.

Comments and Discussion

Leave a Reply

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


Article Thumbnail
Sep 17, 2020
The guitarist and founding member of the Waybacks pays homage to Doc Watson with a medley of "Bright Sunny South" and “Jack-A-Roe,” a traditional song that became a mainstay of the Grateful Dead.

Start Learning Today

One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month

Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!