I had a wonderful Martin Custom 15 as my main acoustic guitar for a number of years. Incredible classic dread tone, expecially with its forward x-bracing. Over time though, I found that the guitar just wasn’t going where I was going. In particular, I was finding its 1 11/16″ neck cramping my style, literally. I also found myself looking for a different tone. One that rang a little more and had a little less of the dreadnaught thing.
Since the Sobell guitars I lusted after were way out of my league pricewise, I began to cast about for other options. Being a long time ogler of DreamGuitars, I soon found out about Lowden. After doing some additional research, and listening to soundclips, I decided to try one or 2. I found a dealer in the area that had a few in stock, schlepped on over, and spent a few hours with them. I was very impressed.
Being the thrifty music equipment shopper that I am, I soon found some out of state dealers willing to ship me one for an audition period. I pulled the trigger on a O23, gorgeoously built, cedar top/walnut sides and back. It played like a dream, but the top end was way too harsh. Strike 1! I sent it back, and called Paul at DreamGuitars. He then sent me a McIlroy A30, a very nice ax, built in the Lowden tradition. It had some setup issues, so I had to send it back. Strike 2!
I spoke with Paul again, and we decided that a Lowden O35 with spruce top/koa sides and back might fill the bill for me. I decided to try one last mail order round (I get nervous sending expensive guitars through the mail!). The O35 arrived, and it has not left! It plays like a dream and sounds like one.