A KEIGHLEY man is working with international pop sensation Ed Sheeran on an initiative which hopes to inspire more young people to play music.

Will Baugh is part of a team collaborating with the singer-songwriter to create a range of affordable acoustic guitars.

The first have now been produced and the response has been positive.

Will, who joined Lowden Guitars in County Down two years ago, has worked on several notable projects since beginning his career in product and furniture design.

But his latest assignment has been one of the most challenging to date.

“George Lowden – who began making guitars professionally in 1974 – has been friends with Ed Sheeran for a number of years after designing and producing a small unique guitar for Ed called The Wee Lowden,” said Will.

“The aim of this latest collaboration is to get really great, affordable guitars into the hands of aspiring young – and old – musicians!

“With that in mind, we had to start from the ground up, redesigning a workshop along with all the tooling and fixtures to enable us to make this new range.”

Will joined Lowden Guitars as a part-maker after moving to Northern Ireland.

The role involved processing timbers from across the world to make all the small components needed to produce the instruments.

“During this time I also worked on some limited-edition guitars in a project with Bushmills whisky – inlaying the copper from the whisky stills as artwork on the guitars,” said Will.

“This latest project, Sheeran by Lowden, has been our biggest challenge yet but in many ways has also been the most rewarding.”

The new guitar was revealed at the National Association of Music Merchants show in California, where Ed gave a surprise performance at a private event.

Will added: “During my design career I’ve been lucky enough to exhibit at trade shows in New York, where my work was recognised by the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim.

“I’m very proud that they now stock some of my product range.

“However, more recently it has been a real achievement to hear the first Ed Sheeran guitars have been created using this new production line.”

Will is a former pupil of Bradford Grammar School, and he says his days there – and later at Northumbria University – were a major influence on his career.

“The skillset and experiences I gained throughout my time at Bradford Grammar have proved invaluable,” he added.

“The amazing design technology facilities, and the opportunities that I was given, really allowed me to pursue my goals with incredible support from the staff.

“I believe the most valuable things I learned were drive and discipline.”