Nothing like a Lowden

Every artist was first an amateur

I love acoustic guitars. I have four at home. One is my Takamine which stays in its case except for special occasions. I have a nice acoustic bass which I bought last year second hand for a bargain price. Then a battered classical guitar which is in my son's bedroom for bedtime songs. And finally, another classical guitar… from Aldi.

I can’t play very well but I enjoy it.

There’s something about a well-made acoustic guitar, my dream guitar would be a guitar coming out of the Lowden Factory in Northern Ireland. These guitars are stunning. George Lowden himself oversees a team of skilled luthiers who create guitars that just sound amazing in the hands of a skilled musician.

The skills that Lowden have are in choosing the right wood, cutting it right, treating the wood in the right way, the secrets of the body shape and how every piece of wood will react to a note being played. Some of the wood they use cannot be freshly cut now as many of the trees are protected. So, they go to antique furniture workshops and timber yards to find old stock of rare or unusual woods like pearwood, Bushmills Irish whiskey barrels, ancient bog oak, and reclaimed sinker redwood.

One day I would love to own one of these guitars and pass it on to whichever of my children shows an interest.

I guess we apply similar principles to writing and producing radio commercials. Mark Thompson in the studio is listening for the right tones and blends of sounds. We’re always looking to use the right voices for the right feel. The writers making the best use of words to make the advertising work for the client. The work should be given time and allowed to be skilfully crafted. There’s a difference between art and craft… art is something that will be aesthetically pleasing (usually) and craft is something that can be beautifully made. Be a work of art, but have a practical purpose.

My colleagues are craftsmen, artists and experts at making great radio commercials. But I don’t think any of them could make a guitar like a Lowden!

Simon Rushton