Dowina Guitars: The Spirit of Wood
With the flood of cheap factory-produced instruments in our modern world, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option and forget about quality. However, a visit to a true luthier, someone who cares about the guitars they are making, quickly shows the many reasons why true craftsmanship is important.
That is just what happened when we visited Dowina Guitars. After meeting them at Musikmesse 2018 in Frankfurt, we followed up with a tour of their workshop in Bratislava, Slovakia. Founder Stan and his small team of friends and family have tools and materials of the highest quality, while keeping a production process that makes their acoustic guitars feel handmade.
From our tour it is clear that Dowina’s focus is first and foremost on the wood used in their guitars. Stan himself personally selects most of the pieces used for the tops and backs, and he travels all over Europe doing so. He can hear the pitch of a top by knocking on it, and he fine-tunes them himself.
Once the wood is selected, the top and back are cut. After the top is tuned, by adding or subtracting to get to a particular tone, the bracing is added, and afterwards the sides. In parallel the neck is under construction, made usually from maple with rosewood or ebony fingerboards, although this is dependent on the model.
Dowina has a specialist engraver working on their custom inlays for both bodies and necks. Once these are added, the bodies and necks are bound together. Once they are dry, the guitar takes a a trip to the spray room (where we nearly passed out after only a few seconds from the fumes!). Afterwards comes the installation of bridges, tuners, pickups and all other little pieces.
Finally the most important part – quality control. Each guitar is inspected for quality and playability.
Different types of wood of various quality (and price) go into determining whether the guitar is destined to be in their antique, vintage or master series. These series are built to fit every budget, and acoustic-electric gutiars with pickups, as well as small body sizes, classical guitars and cutaway acoustics are also available in each series. But regardless of the guitar’s price range, it is built with high-level craftsmanship combining traditional methods and modern tools, so that even a beginner can have a quality instrument at a reasonable price. At Dowina the focus is on producing the finest instruments possible – not producing as many as possible in a short time.
For a taste of what Dowina is all about, here’s the video from our tour of their factory:
Stan tells us that his Japanese clients in particular love Dowina guitars, especially the high-end Master models. They are also available across Europe in many different stores.
Go to www.dowina.eu for more information.