NAMM 2019: Lowden announces “affordable” Ed Sheeran Guitars line

NAMM 2019: Lowden Guitars and Ed Sheeran have announced a new collaborative guitar line, Sheeran Guitars. The new brand is pitched at younger players and aims to supply quality instruments, made in Ireland, to new guitarists.

“There are fewer guitar bands and fewer artists using guitars now, and not as many kids picking up guitars,” says Sheeran. “That is something I would like to change by getting these great quality guitars, made in Ireland, into kids’ hands and encouraging them to learn and progress. To be able to work in tandem with a guitar company like Lowden to create a whole different concept has been a really cool experience.”

Company founder George Lowden with Ed in Country Down, Ireland

Company founder George Lowden with Ed in Country Down, Ireland

The brand is launching with a total of eight small-bodied instruments, including four variations a piece on Lowden’s ‘W’ (Wee Lowden) and ‘S’ models - the latter of which includes two single-cutaway options in the S03 and S04. All the models feature sustainably-sourced tone woods, including cedar, walnut, 'Santos rosewood' (AKA pau ferro)  and sitka spruce; one-piece mahogany necks and ebony ‘boards and bridges. While all but the entry-level models in each range (the S01 and W01) feature LR Baggs Element VTC pickup systems.

The W Series

Image 1 of 4

W01 - Cedar top, 5-piece walnut back and sides

W01 - Cedar top, 5-piece walnut back and sides
Image 2 of 4

W02 - Sitka spruce top, 5-piece Santos Rosewood back and sides

W02 - Sitka spruce top, 5-piece Santos Rosewood back and sides
Image 3 of 4

W03 - Cedar top, 5-piece Santos rosewood back and sides

W03 - Cedar top, 5-piece Santos rosewood back and sides
Image 4 of 4

W04 - Sitka spruce top, 5-piece figured walnut back and sides

W04 - Sitka spruce top, 5-piece figured walnut back and sides

The S Series

Image 1 of 4

S01 - Cedar top, five-piece walnut back and sides

S01 - Cedar top, five-piece walnut back and sides
Image 2 of 4

S02 - Sitka spruce top, five-piece Santos rosewood back and sides

S02 - Sitka spruce top, five-piece Santos rosewood back and sides
Image 3 of 4

S03 - Cedar top, five-piece Santos rosewood back and sides

S03 - Cedar top, five-piece Santos rosewood back and sides
Image 4 of 4

S04 - Sitka spruce top, five-piece figured walnut back and sides

S04 - Sitka spruce top, five-piece figured walnut back and sides

MusicRadar has been on-hand for a demo at NAMM and can confirm the instrument we heard sounded lively and quite airy in tone despite its compact body size, in keeping with Lowden’s reputation for tone. George Lowden said he hired aerospace engineers to simplify the design and help bring it in at an ‘affordable’ pricepoint - though that remains TBC.

The instrument we heard sounded lively and quite airy in tone despite its compact body size, in keeping with Lowden’s reputation for tone

As such, Sheeran Guitars by Lowden will be built out of a brand new production facility - still in Country Down, Ireland - with certain elements, such as voicing the struts, completed by hand to ensure consistency. 

It’s quite the coup for Lowden Guitars, which has an impressive reputation, but does not share the resources of some larger brands that would no doubt leap on such a collaboration. Instead, Sheeran and founder George Lowden maintain that it was a friendship first formed over the construction of the first ‘Wee Lowden’ - a custom gift from Gary Lightbody to Ed, built by George - that has led to the forming of the new brand. 

“We have been honoured over the past years that Ed has chosen to play Lowden guitars both on-stage and in the studio,” says Lowden. “We are delighted to have established a close ongoing relationship which has borne fruit recently through the birth of Sheeran by Lowden.”

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NAMM 2019 - all the news

The dust is settling, but our ears are still ringing. You'll find all the stories that counted in our massive news hub. Below, enjoy our editors' findings as we regrouped at the end of the show.

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