There is one personality that works to create a standardized, objective process / algorithm for things. It’s uncomfortable with ambiguity and doesn’t like surprises. It loves patterns and everyday rituals. It builds and maintains institutions more out of its love for organization than the purpose of the work.

Then on the flip side, there is a personality that avoids certainty, and argue’s against an objective reasoning because it intuits a deeper, more complex explanation. It bonds with experience to create one’s judgement, but it can also be an excuse to avoid the hard work involved with science and justifying the decisions it makes. It works with purpose and doesn’t pay much attention to the money involved.

Building one great guitar after another takes both personalities. Achieving consistent results requires an easily repeated, measurable process. Creating a process is very rewarding. We often hear luthiers bragg (myself included) about their creation of a fixture that makes their job easier, improves quality and increases efficiency.

When we are doing what we have to do to make a living, then efficiency and consistency are very important.

But there is a blurry line between standardization and continually flying by the seat of your pants. If your goal for standardizing your work is to reach a point in which your design and process work so perfect that you no longer need to invest time in the struggle of change (experimentation, failure, iteration) then you’re selling yourself short.

The problem (and the magic) with wood is that it isn’t perfectly organized. All wood of the same tree species from the same acre of forest, even from the same log, is subject to pressures from it’s surroundings that cause it to react in different ways.

Making magical guitars requires us to be methodical scientists, but the one you are working on now asks that your intuition be aware of and react to its disorganized reality.