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. Sheeranguitars.com

 


Category: Instruments & Gear

Related Instruments and Gear Videos

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.

Lowden Richard Thompson Signature Model

A spectacular mid-size Lowden with a cedar top and ziricote back and sides.

Lowden Jon Gomm Signature Model

The percussive fingerstylist’s guitar features an innovative hybrid top design.

Lowden Baritone 50 Fan Fret

A multi-scale baritone guitar built from African blackwood and sinker redwood.

Comments and Discussion

Leave a Reply


Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.



PEGHEAD PARTNERS

Article Thumbnail
May 15, 2019
Greg from the Bourgeois finish department tries out the brand new OMSC featuring an arm bevel and sound port.




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!