All Bowen Guitars are hand build by George. George builds about five at a time. That number allows him to give complete attention to each guitar, while taking advantage of the efficiency of tool setup for each stage in the building process. The wait time for a commissioned guitar is approximately one year.
George's niche is orchestra (medium) sized guitars. Inspired by the epochal 1931 Martin OM-28, of which only 166 were made and believed by many to be the best voiced guitar of all time. After meticulously researching every available detail of this guitar George took key structural details and made modifications to create his unique sound. Specifically, the Bowen OM is 1/4" deeper in the lower bout and slightly wider across the upper bout. He also slightly shifted the position of the tone bar braces to better match the increased internal volume of air.
The result is a piano like voice that is balanced from string to string, articulate and responsive to finger style playing, with strong fundamentals which blend with ringing overtones.
The Bowen 000 is a 12 fret finger pickin' guitar. The body looks very similar to the OM body. They are the same size. Since the string length is shorter at 24.9" and the neck meets the body at the 12th fret instead of the 14th, both the bridge and the soundhole are a little lower on the body. The 000 usually has a wider string width at the nut with either 1 13/16" or 1 7/8" nut as options. This model has a slotted headstock with the option of a solid mahogany neck or five piece laminate neck. The bracing is slightly rearward shifted with some guidance from luthier guru Frank Ford. The soundhole is 1/8" narrower in diameter than the normal 3 7/8" soundhole to add a touch more bass response.
Ever strike a wooden tone plate on a Marimba with a mallet? If so, you have experienced the innate capacity of would to make music. Each species and individual piece of wood has its own unique characteristics of generating sound when energy is applied to the wood (by mallet, a knuckle, or string vibrations). Factors like lateral and longitudinal stiffness, velocity of vibration, grain direction, grain rings per inch, mass and thickness, the effect of age on the vascular structure of the wood, and even perhaps the phase of the moon when the tree was cut all have an influence on the sound of a given piece of wood. The design and building process are just the means to get the wood voice out to the greatest degree possible. It's all about the wood and the luthier cutting away everything that is not a guitar.
George has developed relationships with some of the best sources of tonewood in the world. Only the finest sounding individual woods are used for Bowen guitars. Each piece is "tap tone" tested, hand checked for stiffness and inspected for grain runout before being used.