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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Jun 2019 > PARADIGM SHIFT


Signature guitars are a familiar concept, but could Ed Sheeran’s new guitar brand usher in a new era for the industry?
© Getty Images

If you’re going to start a revolution, the plush surroundings of the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim, California might not be the most obvious place to do it. Yet that’s exactly what Lowden Guitars did on the eve of NAMM 2019, when the company gathered a small group of journalists and retailers in the hotel’s garden and brought out the most famous guitarist on the planet.

For those of us who were at the Sheraton that evening, the announcement of Sheeran by Lowden instantly felt seismic – something bigger and more interesting than the standard artist collaboration.

Of course, artist endorsements are nothing new in the world of guitar – just ask Roy Smeck, Buck Owens or the most famous guitar endorsee of them all, Les Paul – but the implications of this felt different, and hugely significant for the wider guitar industry. This was confirmed by the presence of CNN at the public press conference announcing the brand the following day – global news outlets don’t tend to show up at guitar launches, after all. But why should this be so different to one of the countless signature products debuted at NAMM over the years?

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