The phrase ‘surprise launch’ is over-used at trade shows but Winter NAMM has produced a real scorcher this year with the news that diminutive singer-songwriter-superstar Ed Sheeran has teamed up with Northern Ireland’s Lowden guitars to launch an entirely new range of acoustic guitars to be known as Sheeran by Lowden.
The announcement of the launch was made at a private event in advance of the show at which Sheeran performed songs and announced the launch of the new venture.
Sheeran, who has previously acknowledged the decline in young people pursuing music, said: ‘There are fewer guitar bands and fewer artists using guitars now, and not as many kids picking up guitars. 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.’
One of Lowden’s most popular guitars, the Wee Lowden, was designed in 2013 by George Lowden at the request of Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody as a gift for Sheeran. Following receipt of his Wee Lowden, Sheeran has built a personal collection of Lowden guitars which appear on stage with him often.
Reflecting on their close friendship and partnership, George Lowden said: ‘We have been honoured over the past years that Ed has chosen to play Lowden guitars both on-stage and in the studio. We are delighted to have established a close ongoing relationship which has borne fruit recently through the birth of Sheeran by Lowden.’
At launch, the Sheeran by Lowden acoustic guitar range features eight individual models across two small body sizes familiar from the Lowden range, known as the S and the Wee Lowden, both played by Ed himself. The guitars have been designed by George Lowden: ‘…with a careful choice of sustainably-sourced wood species including naturally fallen trees and reclaimed spruce, for uncompromising tone and playability’.
The guitar maker says George Lowden has developed new production methodologies featuring aerospace engineering to create custom tooling required for innovative manufacturing methods and that to accommodate the company’s continued growth, Lowden Guitars has also opened a new bespoke production facility based in County Down, Northern Ireland.