Thoughts about Lowden?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Hamfisted Gumbie, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Hamfisted Gumbie

    Hamfisted Gumbie TDPRI Member

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    I’d like to buy a ‘special’ guitar, that will still be special 50yrs from now. I love the Lowden that I’ve handled, but there’s something about them that makes me think they’re more about advanced technology rather than good, traditional craftsmanship - even more so now that they’re diversifying into the cheaper end of the market.

    If you had $6k to spend and wanted a no-frills-but-really-wonderful-guitar, would you buy Lowden, Martin, or boutique? Am leaning towards 000 size, possibly 12-fret.
     
  2. Crashbelt

    Crashbelt Tele-Meister

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    Lowden are my favourite acoustics - flawless build, real craftmanship, great design and materials across the whole range of price points. But its all about the tone which is brilliant.

    I got my first O12 in 1995 having seen Richard Thompson playing a Lowden (and still does). Still have it and it has matured wonderfully. A few months ago I decided I wanted smaller body Lowden as well so bought a 20 year old S35 in nearly new condition (players tend to look after Lowdens) for £2,100. I deliberately went for an older one that is properly played in rather than a new one - well worth checking out the 2nd hand market for these.

    I would look at the less ornate models rather than the fancy woods and finishes - same build and tone as the high priced upscale models for much less money.

    I'd ignore the Sheeran budget stuff - the previous lower priced Avalon range too.

    Good luck - just try loads of them and see what you think.
     
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  3. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Had my first taste of Lowden about a month ago. It was very wonderful. I haven't seen too many of them on this side of the pond, but I haven't actually been looking for them either.

    Take your time, search through dealers who handle vintage instruments, and pluck one that's just right for you. If you're looking for something that will still be special in 50 years, then just enjoy the sampling expedition. I wouldn't necessarily worry about what's on the headstock, at first, figure what you like, narrow the search and listen with your ears and body.

    If you can, when you've narrowed it down, enlist a guitar playing colleague/friend to help evaluate; you may not necessarily agree, but you'll get the chance to hear what others hear when your guitar is being played.

    In the budget you are discussing, I might be inclined to seek out a local builder or two or three (there are really quite a few amazing luthiers in England) and order up your own instrument. Support your local friendly luthier! Or not - it's your adventure.

    Best of luck in your search!
     
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  4. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

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    I believe you have some excellent stores in UK that have Lowdens and Martins and more in stock. Go and try some.

    For some reason, I'd be drawn towards a Lowden or products of some local luthiers. Without too much extravagant embellishment.

    (The lack of embellishment aligns with what Crashbelt said. For me, it is a personal preference.)
     
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  5. Muddslide

    Muddslide Friend of Leo's

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    Only had the privilege of playing three Lowdens and along with a vintage Gibson acoustic, they would certainly be one of my dream guitars.
     
  6. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

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    I once had the privilege of hearing Jan Akkerman play one in a 2 hour solo concert, and it's the best-sounding acoustic guitar I've ever heard.

    Here's a sample track played on his Lowden from the amazing 'Passion' album:



    Bottom line; good enough for one of the greatest guitar players in the world, good enough for anyone.
     
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  7. WildcatTele

    WildcatTele Tele-Meister

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    $6K will go a loooooong way to get you an amazing guitar, particularly if you're looking for no frills. Look into Larrivee...you'll get the quality craftsmanship you're after and a guitar you'll love for decades at a price half that.
     
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  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I like em’, a lot.
    I have a James Goodall cutaway jumbo, my friend Bill B has a Lowden cutaway jumbo.
    Both are rosewood, with 1 3/4 inch (fingerstyle) nut widths.
    When we play together, our guitars sound very similar.
    Both sound great, mines louder, his’ warmer.
    GREAT guitars, both!
     
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  9. Hamfisted Gumbie

    Hamfisted Gumbie TDPRI Member

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    Thanks everyone - some strong votes of confidence for the high end Lowdens! They are beautiful. Food for thought...
     
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  10. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    With 6K and shopping new, I would buy a Collings. I have not played more consistently amazing acoustics. But I have nice Martin, so no complaints.

    In fairness, I have not played a Lowden.

    I will echo that shopping for a high end guitar with a bit of budget should be an absolutely joyous process! dont rush it & play a bunch of guitars :)
     
  11. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    Some of the Lowden sound is the Irish magic, and some of it is the design and construction. In the early 80s, Lowden contracted with S. Yairi and some were built there under George Lowden's supervision. The thicker tops and construction are very much Lowden, though they might be missing whatever magic the emerald isle gives.

    They are significantly less expensive than the Irish ones, but also hard to come by.

    I have a Japanese one and I have played several Irish ones. The DNA is there.
     
  12. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pierre loves his.

     
  13. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    I have a Lowden O-32, bought (2002 ?) when I heard the prices were all going up - it was now or never.
    Lowden.jpg
    Absolutely my finest guitar. My friend says it's a 'shouter' as it can be loud, so maybe not best at camp-fire strumming, but clear, dynamic and balanced.
    L'arrivee, Collings, Martin, Lowden all have their own voice, you should try some out.
     
  14. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    Oh, and don't forget Kincade in Bristol. They are fantastic guitars, a contender when I got my Lowden.
     
  15. Itchyfeet1000

    Itchyfeet1000 Tele-Meister

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    I grew up in Newtowards when Lowden guitars were built there so obviously you must buy one.
     
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  16. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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  17. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    I mean, if it’s good enough for Richard Thompson...
     
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  18. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    If you have your heart set on a particular brand of instrument, none other will ever suffice...
     
  19. soul-o

    soul-o Friend of Leo's

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    I owned a used Lowden briefly. It was absolutely gorgeous, but too fine an instrument for me to bash around at gigs.
     
  20. lasrup

    lasrup TDPRI Member

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    I had a Lowden S 23 .
    Soft frets ,delicate finish. Couldn’t get on with the neck.
    Sold it at a considerable loss.


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