Lowden Guitars hits the right note to clinch prize

Irish Times Innovation Awards: Unexpected source brings new sound to market

George Lowden, of George Lowden Guitars. The company won the New Frontiers category in The Irish Times Innovation Awards 2020. Photograph: Conor McCabe.

George Lowden, of George Lowden Guitars. The company won the New Frontiers category in The Irish Times Innovation Awards 2020. Photograph: Conor McCabe.

 

Lowden Guitars won its award in the New Frontiers category for its foresight in turning to a most unexpected source, the aerospace industry, for the inspiration required to bring its new range of guitars to market.

For more than 40 years, Lowden has produced handcrafted guitars for the upper end of the market. But when company founder George Lowden made a bespoke guitar for the singer Ed Sheeran, it kicked off a collaboration that has resulted in Sheeran by Lowden, a new eight-strong line-up aimed at encouraging younger people to take up the instrument.

However, while Lowden wanted to create a range that would put its instruments within easier financial reach, it did not want to do so at the expense of its renowned sound or quality. Recognising that the hi-tech precision of aerospace manufacturing might be the solution, Lowden turned to the industry for help in developing an all-new, high-speed production system that would tick the boxes for quality while giving Lowden the volume required to make a lower priced instrument viable.

The new system can produce in a day what would have taken weeks using traditional production methods and Sheeran by Lowden has opened up a brand new global market for the company.

Awards

The Innovation Awards 2020 are supported by The Irish Times in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, SkillnetIreland and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

The prize for the overall winner is a high-profile communications package worth in excess of €150,000 comprising advertising and promotion across the Business, Technology + Innovation pages and the Business online section.

In addition, the UCD Smurfit School will provide the winner with an executive education scholarship.

Category winners are awarded a €10,000 communications package in Thursday’s Business, Technology + Innovation pages and a one-year digital subscription to The Irish Times.

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