Over time, I’ve come to realize the most important factor in building truly great instruments is the mindset of the luthier. For this reason, I build each guitar individually, or at most, in pairs. This allows me to spend a good amount of time with each instrument as it takes shape, and helps ensure the highest quality craftsmanship and tone I can provide.
I am truly a one-person building operation. While I certainly have jigs, machines and the like, I still do a lot of tasks with a sharp chisel that many sane luthiers automated years ago!
In many ways, I enjoy being able to approach things with a keen eye and a steady hand. It lets me be intimately aware of each part of each guitar, and incorporates an element of performance to my work, which I believe keeps me striving to do my best.
While I do have more empirical methods of measurement, the art/science of tap tuning is what guides me through the final carving of the braces of both the top and back plates. I tune based on the tones I get from tapping while gripping several different nodes on the plate, then comparing the relationships between those tones. The result is a body that is tuned to a fundamental note, with the corresponding overtones in harmony with one another.
While a beautiful guitar is certainly a treat for the eyes, I take great pride in knowing the tone of my guitars is what drives my process, aesthetic or otherwise. To me, a great guitar should speak to you, with vibration pouring through the neck and back, each note rolling effortlessly off the strings.