Lowden Guitars O-50 Winter Limited Edition Tiger Myrtle
Myrtlewood MonstersThe drool-inducing guitar to the right was ten years in the making. That’s right: George Lowden has been trying to find enough Tiger Myrtlewood to do a limited run of instruments for over a decade. Now, the search is over, and we are proud to showcase the fruits of his labor in the Lowden 2018 Winter Limited Edition Collection.
So, why spend ten years questing for Tiger Myrtlewood? Well, that’s easy: Tiger Myrtlewood is one of the finest tonewoods ever to grace an acoustic guitar, and in the hands of a master like George Lowden it can produce some truly jaw-dropping tones. Personally, Myrtlewood is my favorite acoustic tonewood of all time. It’s like a mash-up of all my favorite tonewoods. It has maple’s clarity and chime, mahogany’s warmth, and rosewood’s glassines and depth. Paired with the crisp, clear, midrange-forward tones produced by the Sitka spruce top, it creates quite an intoxicating sonic cocktail!
And, each cut of Tiger Myrtlewood looks completely unique, so each guitar has a distinct visual personality. Because their wood is so rare and special, and because Lowden has built them so artfully, the guitars in the 2018 Limited Collection are beyond special. For a Myrtlewood fiend like me, they have achieved Holy Grail status in my heart (and if you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t throw that phrase around lightly!). We were lucky enough to receive an O- and S-sized model (thank you, Lowden!), so let’s get started and take a deep dive into the wonderful world of tone that lives within the big-bodied O-50!
Sonic EvaluationStrumming an open E chord on a brilliantly-built acoustic guitar is one of life’s greatest joys, and I don’t know if any acoustic guitar has brought me as much simple delight as this Lowden. My apologies to the other Wildwood employees I share a wall with, because I think I sat there strumming the same three chords at fortissimo for about ten minutes. I couldn’t help myself! It was just so satisfying!
Part of what makes this guitar so satisfying is its attack. It’s articulate and detailed, and it sits right in the middle between percussive and piano-like. You can manipulate the sound of the guitar with your right hand enough to have an expressive, dynamic playing experience, but you can’t really make the attack sound harsh. It’s like having a safety net for your right hand!
The lows are quite sonorous, round, and full. Though they sound beefy, there is no fat, so the low end never becomes flubby or overbearing. To test this, I tuned the guitar down to C standard, where it performed shockingly well. Even on complex chords (like a C shape with the third of the chord ringing on the low E) this Lowden maintained excellent clarity, focus, and note separation. And, it sounded chocolate-y and wonderful!
The midrange is broad, woody, and warm, and it produces a strong fundamental tone, which contributes greatly to the guitar’s clarity. Case in point: I tuned this serial to open Dmaj7 and strummed all six strings open. Low, rich, complex chords like that normally sound muddy, but the sound that greeted my eardrums was one of the prettiest I’ve ever heard. It was rich and decadent enough to evoke all sorts of beautiful colors, but I could still hear every note clearly.
The trebles sound similar to rosewood: glassy, sparkly, and open. Overtones bloom above the fundamental like church bells on Easter Sunday, and I have no doubt you will find their sunny chime as addictive as I do.
This guitar has been a lot of fun for me to write about, because Myrtlewood is my favorite tonewood ever, and this is one of the finest Myrtlewood guitars I’ve ever gotten my mitts on. I’m proud to help showcase such a stunning instrument, and I know it will provide a lifetime of joy and inspiration to some lucky acoustic adventurer.
|Model||O-50 Winter Limited Edition|
|Top Wood||Sitka Spruce|
|Back & Sides Wood||Tiger Myrtle|
|Neck Wood||5 Piece - Mahogany/Rosewood/Walnut|
|Neck Measurements||.840 1st - .860 9th|
|Width at Nut||1 3/4"|
|Rosette||Rosewood, Sycamore, Walnut, Mahogany|
|Tuners||Gotoh SG381 Gold w/ Ebony Buttons|
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