Aesthetics aside, building the great guitar is the ultimate fusion of intuition and objective reasoning. In many respects the guitar is an infinitely complex system, but it has many properties that are quantifiable. My general rule with a system so complex - quantify and record what is known without losing sight of the big picture. In this case, “the big picture” refers to visualizing the end product down to the smallest sensory detail. For instance, luthiers can record everything knowable about the material properties of their work, but if they lack a strong, sensory perception of the end product, then they are working without the most vital metric.
Every guitar I build begins with handling the materials involved and forming that initial visualization of the guitar they are about to create. As I visualize this completed instrument throughout the various stages of the building process, I am continually placing this vision within the context of measurable criteria. These criteria always represent my current understanding of how the ideal guitar can be measured and iterated.