Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Dowina produce incredible hand crafted acoustic guitars. Using the best tone woods these guitars are wonderful to play and beautiful to look at.

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Gary L
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Location.: Wales, UK

Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Gary L »

Hi, nice to join the forum. I just wanted to mention that I own two Dowina guitars. I bought first the Grand Auditorium size Dowina Luna Silva GA (ds) which is a 2017 antique range, solid Dolomite spruce top and layered Pau Ferro back and sides. This guitar (like probably all Dowina's) reacts superbly well, it can be a real powerhouse of a guitar if strummed harder but when played softly with fingerstyle it produces a warm sweet tone which almost sounds like a smaller bodied guitar.

I later bought the Dowina Chardonnay Bona Vida parlour size guitar with dolomite spruce top and walnut back and sides. Both really good guitars if I had to pick a favourite then I am completely in love with the smaller parlour size Chardonnay, what a great sounding little guitar, it does everything exceptionally well and has a big sound for a little guitar. Obviously not as loud as bigger guitars but the sound is so sweet, it was set up perfect and is a joy to play.

By the way, I just wanted to add about strings for them, I too started off with the EXP 16 strings which came standard on them but lately, I have switched to D'Addario's Nickel Bronze 11-52 and wow both guitars sound amazingly better than the EXP's in my opinion, really gives the guitars their true sort of woody sound.

String choice obviously each to their own but at the moment I am sticking with Nickel on my Dowina's. I am yet to try/own any other Dowina's especially the normal Sitka spruce or Cedar top versions but I took a gamble without even trying either of these guitars and ordered them from Germany! I am so glad I took the risk the gamble has definitely paid off.
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Saul
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Re: Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Saul »

Hi Gary, welcome to the forums :)

Two very nice guitars you have there (Y)

The Bona Vida is one Dowina I have yet to play. I would really like to get my hands on one though so perhaps that will be the next one on the list.

Your Chardonnay Bona Vida uses the same materials as my full-size Chardonnay (in the UK named 'Sol'). The dolomite spruce top is beautiful as is the American walnut back and sides. Attention to detail is faultless and build quality is superb! And of course, it plays wonderfully. It is just such a beautiful instrument to own.

In fact, all Dowina guitars are incredible instruments. I also have the Cabernet D, Puella DC, Marus D and Rustica GAC. If I could afford it I would have bought one of everything :)

It's a shame they no longer produce the Luna Silva though. I would have liked to try one.


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Gary L
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Re: Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Gary L »

Hi Saul, thanks for your reply. Yes Dowina guitars are pretty special I agree. Just out of interest how does the Cabernet D compare to the Chardonnay? And if you had to pick your favourite out of all the ones you own/tested which would you choose? By the way the change in names in the models does get a bit confusing, personally I prefer to call it Chardonnay than Sol !
I definitely recommend trying a Bona Vida when you can it was my first Parlour guitar and I see the appeal. Although i think they are in demand so not that many about. The Grand Auditorium Luna Silva is also a great guitar, like I said the top seems to respond so well to your input and the sustain from both my of Dowinas goes on for an age. I do think that Dolomite spruce tops give a more pronounced individual note kind of voice than sitka spruce but maybe this is also down to the craftmanship of Dowina.
Kind Regards Gary.


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Saul
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Re: Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Saul »

If I had to choose right now it would be the Chardonnay.

That may in part be influenced by the GAC design as that is my preferred shape but it also has this wonderfully rich harmonic tapestry of sounds which comes out of it. Always hard to put these things into words but the guitar literally "sings" when you play it?

I also agree about the confusing names but there is a good reason behind that. Personally, I would have chosen a different set of names for UK models. But of course, it is more about the guitar than the name given to it?

A dolomite spruce top does give a different tone to a Sitka spruce top and that becomes more apparent over time. I would say it sits between the brightness of sitka and the warmer tone of cedar? I also love the natural colouring of the dolomite spruce top which is nicely balanced by the flame maple binding.

The Bona Vida has been on my list for a while. I will try and get one sent over as soon as the Covid restrictions are relaxed.

By the way, I ordered a set of those D'Addario Nickel Bronze 11-52 strings you recommended. They should arrive today so I will try them on the Chardonnay and let you know how that goes (Y)


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Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
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Please Note: This site is at times supported by Amazon Associate and other affiliate links. Any links in my posts may lead to products on the Amazon website or other vendors websites. These will not incur any extra cost to you but may help support the running costs of the site via the generation of a small commission should you choose to purchase a product.
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Gary L
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Re: Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Gary L »

Hi Saul, yes I agree that the Chardonnay does appear to sing as you mentioned. I agree also that Dolomite spruce is somewhere between sitka and Cedar, probably more volume and more pronounced single note response but definitely a warmer sound than Sitka and probably a touch more suited to fingerstyle than Sitka, although it is still good for strumming and flat picking.

One interesting point I forgot to mention with regards to the Bona Vida is that the scale length (25.5 inches) is exactly the same as a Grand Auditorium so it generally feels like a full size guitar on the fret board and the string tension is the same as a large guitar. It does though feel quite different in terms of size to hold and with two less frets its a more compact way of playing. Lots of smaller size parlour or travel guitars have shorter scale lengths which does give less string tension which maybe some people prefer but I do think that the full size scale does probably work the top more and give you that full sound and tone. It's also nice to have normal string tension when you play in drop tunings but on the flip side playability is a little easier with a guitar with shorter scale length also.
Have you tried the Nicel strings yet?
Regards Gary.


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Saul
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Re: Dowina Luna Silva GA Ds and Chardonnay Bona Vida Ds

Unread post by Saul »

Hi Gary

Yes, I have the Nickel strings on the Chardonnay now. Definitely, an improvement on the Martin strings I was using before so thanks for that recommendation :)

The Bona Vida design is really down to Erika Marinova, the daughter of Stan Marinov the founder of Dowina Guitars. She put a lot of work into that design and It seems to have turned out really well. I think it is a beautiful looking instrument and embodies the true "Ancient Spirit Of Wood" :)


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Dowina Acoustic Guitars: Dowina Cabernet DC
Dowina Chardonnay GAC DS - Dowina Rustica GAC - Dowina Marus - Dowina Puella

Please Note: This site is at times supported by Amazon Associate and other affiliate links. Any links in my posts may lead to products on the Amazon website or other vendors websites. These will not incur any extra cost to you but may help support the running costs of the site via the generation of a small commission should you choose to purchase a product.
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