“The first guitar I made for Pierre was back in 1978 and that ‘old lady’ battered and bruised but much loved and played still sings so beautifully today. Over the years since then Pierre and I have worked very closely together and he has made many recordings with that first Lowden guitar. I also remember adding a cutaway to his first Lowden and making the neck wider during my stay in France in 1999. Therefore, designing and building a new guitar for Pierre today in 2009 was a project which I approached with special expectation and hope.
“My challenge was to design a new guitar with many of the attributes of the old one (sound-wise) but with more comfort to allow Pierre to play and compose for many hours each day. Pierre asked me to include a soundbox “bevel” and I knew apart from the structural implications the most important thing would be to design and voice the new soundboard to make sure the bevel did not compromise tone in any way. For this I chose to change the geometry of the guitar back profile (to reduce it’s natural pitch) and at the same time to shorten the ‘dolphin profile’ bracing carving of the soundboard struts at the bevel side. To make sure the new guitar had plenty of brilliance and warmth at the same time, I chose Honduras rosewood and Adirondack spruce. Honduras rosewood is the nearest wood I can get these days to good quality Brazilian rosewood – it has the same texture, density, hardness – and most of all – tap tone. I have come to love Adirondack spruce for its clarity and warmth and rather ‘three dimensional’ tonal quality. I’m delighted how the guitar has turned out and of course it will only get better with age – and an awful lot of playing – and we can be sure Pierre will do just that!”
George is delighted to have worked with Pierre designing this signature model, which is in many ways a celebration of a relationship which has remained for four decades: “In late 2008 I designed this signature model for Pierre to include the original neck specifications and feel of his first Lowden, but using the ‘F’ mid size body with the addition of a soundbox bevel. This bevel on the bass side of the lower bout allows Pierre to practice for hours at a time without any discomfort. The ‘F’ body and voicing combined with the Honduras Rosewood back and sides and Adirondack top gives clarity, warmth and projection to the voice.”
“With our 40th anniversaries coinciding, Pierre Bensusan and I thought it would be an ideal time to reminisce. What better way to do that than to re-introduce the guitar I built for Pierre in 1978! Over the years, his original ’78 Lowden became affectionately known as his ‘Old Lady’. Many people love the unique voice of that guitar and so here it is, minus the many years of performing and practice that Pierre gave it.”