On Buying a Lowden O25c (I hope)

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by ceyuh, Mar 6, 2006.


  1. ceyuh

    ceyuh Member

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    Hello everyone

    I've been looking to purchase a premium acoustic guitar for some time now and I think I've found the one I want in the form of a Lowden O25c. I've played quite a few guitars in my search including some Goodall, Froggy Bottom, Santa Cruz, Larrivee, Collings, Breedlove, Taylor, Martin, and other Lowden models before I got to this one. The dealer is looking for just about $3800 US with case which is pretty close to the top of my price range. This is a NEW guitar. Can anyone share their experience with this model? Is this the right price? Does anyone have a suggestion for another maker I should try before I take the plunge?

    Thanks for any help
     
  2. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    It would be hard to go wrong with any of the premier names you mentioned. I favor Lowden, Santa Cruz and Froggy Bottom. Lowdens have gotten more expensive, but I think they are worth it. I will check with my dealer and see if the price you have been quoted is fair.
     
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    The 025C is a sweet, sweet instrument. My favorite thing about it is the neck - big, graceful, and just the right size for my freakishly large hands :) Seriously though, I'm eyeballing one (though used, not new) and thinking about selling a couple things to take the plunge.

    --chiba
     
  4. papatar

    papatar Member

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    I have a like new F25C for sale if anyone's interested
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    $3800 for a new one is about right. the new Lowdens are EXCEPTIONALLY nice instruments! there is an F35C in a store near me......it is the nicest fingerstyle guitar I have ever played!!
     
  6. ceyuh

    ceyuh Member

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    I called Guitar Rez -- a dealer in Texas -- today after seeing them online...They quoted 3299 w/hsc plus shipping. I'd like to give the shop where I played it a fair crack to match or at least come close--After all, I did spend a bunch of his time and he has nothing to show for it (yet). I can't get that sound out of my head.
     
  7. royd

    royd Member

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    Ceyuh,

    I bought my first Lowden in late '86 or early '87. It was one of the first guitars built in the then new Irish shop. It was an L25C - the precursor to the O25C. That guitar was stolen in '99 in Phila (still dream of getting it back again). While Lowden was building me a replacement, a friend loaned me an O10C. In mid '00 I got my O25C Custom.

    Since that time, there was a falling out in the company and George has split from his old partners, starting a new Lowden company along with a considerable raise in prices. The new guitars are amazing.

    So what can I say about them that isn't obvious from my history? The O models are big guitars and may take some getting used to. The sound is hige but balanced across the registers. Some folk say they don't take struming very well, but that has not been my experience. Everything I've thrown at a Lowden, it just gave more back. The cedar top sounds more mature right away and changes slowly compared to spruce but it does get better over time. Do be careful though as the cedar dings very easily. On the other hands, Lowden guitars are built like tanks.

    You can hear my Lowdens at the link in my sig. And there is a Lowden listserve on yahoogroups at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Lowden-L/ with lots of Lowden lovers and great info and advice. George's website is http://www.georgelowden.com/ and has sections for both the shop guitars and the ones he builds individually.

    One problem though is that there aren't a lot of guitars from the new factory yet so they are hard to find.
     
  8. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    $3300 for a cutaway model? that's a very good price. you're sure it's the newest model? what color are the tuning keys?
     
  9. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree on the big Lowden body, you should play before you buy; much as I love the Lowden sounds the big body is too big for my shoulder and causes issues.

    So instead I found a fantastic S12 (small body) as NOS in a trusted store ~4 yrs. ago (a '97)... Huge sounds from a small box (Mahogany/cedar top), works equally great for finger or flatpicking, it's something to see a small body guitar that can take volume and hard strumming without giving it up. A couple of the Lowden mavens on the Lowden yahoo list had played this guitar in the store and after I bought it they remarked that it was one of the best they'd heard, balanced, loud, great bass for a small body...

    Seeing those prices brings a smile, I paid way less than half the current price for a brand new S12.

    Good luck,
    Jon
     
  10. A440

    A440 Supporting Member

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    no doubt, Lowdens are beautiful guitars

    I recommend trying a Huss & Dalton before you make the leap
     
  11. ceyuh

    ceyuh Member

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    Thanks for all of the input here.

    I may not have been clear in an earlier post: I did indeed play a brand new O25c over the weekend. I was stunned by every facet of the guitar, both visually and tonally. I almost never use a pick, but I did some light to medium strumming and I was not discouraged.

    As for riffmeister's query, you can see the ad with pictures here: www.guitarrez.com/aginventory/lowo25c.html
    I followed the instruction to call for pricing and 3299 is what they quoted.

    JonC commented on the size of the body, and while he's right (it's pretty damn big) I'm a big guy so I don't think that'll be a real concern.

    A440 mentioned Huss and Dalton. I forgot to mention them in my original post. I tried 2 models (can't remember which) and they were nice...All of these intruments were "nice"... It's just that O25c was outstanding, at least to me.

    I listened to some of royd's recordings, very impressive. Unfortunately, I live in a part of the country where the only reasonably priced internet access is horribly slow dialup so mp3 downloads--or any other downloads for that matter--take a l o n g time. There is one other shop I need to visit before I take the plunge, the biggest obstacle is distance. My "local" lowden shop is 200 miles away. I've been traveling to stores which carry a wide variety of high end instruments to kill as many birds with as few stones as possible. Keep your comments and suggestions coming!
     
  12. royd

    royd Member

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    Ceyah,

    three other pieces of infor re: lowdens...

    they are remarkably consistent. I have played hundreds and only one has disappointed me (and that may have been old strings). All of the others sounded exactly as they should have.

    they love altered tunings. You can drop your lowest string to a B or Bb on an O and it still sounds strong.

    they are very sensitive to string choices. move from one type or evenone company to another and the guitar will sound different.

    You're right, all of the companies mentioned make outstandig guitars but each company has its own sound. Probably the closest to a Lowden that you mentioned looking at was the Goodall... but if you love the sound of the Lowden, the H&D, for example, would be a very different sound.
     
  13. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Gold Supporting Member

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    Ceyuh

    I have a Lowden O32 that I bought from Guitar Rez about 11 years ago and it is still my favorite acoustic. You can only get that Lowden tone from a Lowden. Great fingerstyle guitar alright, but one of the best kept secrets is how good they sound strummed. Crytal high end with nice warm bass.

    The guys (ask for Jim Lehman) at Guitar Rez are great folks to work with and their fine shop deserves your support as well, but before you buy be sure to check out the Lowdens at High Desert Guitars in Santa Fe. Steve has some great Lowdens as well, including a nice O25C.

    http://www.highdesertguitars.com/gallery.asp?id=24935&page=3&shopperid=
     
  14. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    That price is for a non-cutaway model. I was at Guitar Rez today, and the price for the O25C is $3750. There is a $450 upcharge for the cutaway.
     
  15. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    very interesting... I have non acidic sweat so my strings last a long time. I was just about to replace the Elixirs I've used on the S12 a long time (they're at least year old!) because they sounded dull... after 15 mins. of playing the darn guitar opened up and the bell-like tone was back, amazing... I'll change on principle shortly but that was pretty impressive. I know Richard Thompson uses Elixirs on his, I think he said he can get about 2-3 shows out of a set if he doesn't break a string, which is remarkable given the workout he gives 'em.

    jc
     
  16. ceyuh

    ceyuh Member

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    Thanks Ogre for doing the leg work, I appreciate it. Sounds like the "local" lowden dealer is in the right ballpark. My mom is planning to visit Ireland again this summer...wonder if I can get her to smuggle one out...On second thought, she wouldn't look good in a bright orange jumpsuit. Guess I'll just have to pony up the dough.
     
  17. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    You won't be sorry! I just got mine out to play. There really is not another guitar like it.
     
  18. ceyuh

    ceyuh Member

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    I am coming to that conclusion myself...There are however, a few other brands that come to mind before I make this "my final answer": Bourgeois, Ryan, and because I am intrigued by the design, MacPherson. I've not had the pleasure of putting my hands on any of them yet. Any thoughts on those would be welcomed, as well.

    My hope is that you will soon hear a giant splashing sound as I take the plunge.
     
  19. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Bougeois is more "traditional" sounding than Lowden.

    I am sure Ryan is great, but they will be at least 2x the price of a Lowden.

    I've played two MacPhersons......not my cup of tea at all.
     
  20. billv

    billv Member

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    If I may jump in a little late in the game...

    1. I can only echo the kudos everyone has given to Lowdens. Mine (035 Spruce/Koa) has a stunning tone to it, and plays like a dream.

    2. The 0 body size, at least for me is very comfortable. I generally play standing up and it fits nicely under my arm.

    3. Definitely agree on the lower tunings. The bottom end of the 0 is almost as big as my Tacoma baritone, and much more refined in its tonal qualities.

    4. My only challenge with Lowdens is their tendency to be bright. When I was looking for one, I went through several to find one that was balanced for me. And even so, it can get a little brittle sounding with the wrong strings.

    5. The combination of tone and playability allows for a great of working with each note. There's a lot of depth to be plumbed. It will take me years...

    Bill V.
    http://www.billvencil.com
     

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