Jon, back in the really early days, Lowden was making a J-50 Gibson, shaped instrument. Apparently there were patent infringements and he worked out some kind of deal with a Japanese company to either use his design or assemble the parts there (I forget the details, but got them from an old "Frets" magazine). Two of these instruments showed up in Toronto with serial numbers but no name on the peghead. My friend Ron Nigrini got one (and didn't pay for it 'cause he had a hit record at the time) and I gladly bought the other one. It was the first time I'd seen the Lowden "flat bridge" (since used by Takamine) and "non glare finish" on a cedar top instrument. Other than in sound, they bear very little resemblance to the "big round" shape that Lowden has been known for these many years. Willie ain't kidding when he talks about the volume on this guitar. It is the loudest acoustic guitar I've ever heard, can even drown out a banjo if you're not careful!