These are some pics of the tops I'm currently working on...
Three different clients means three different designs. I really try to spend the time to figure out what each person is looking for. I know my guitars have a certain sound in general but playing with elements can shift it in different directions.
First, and probably most important in the final sound is choosing the top. Density and stiffness are what we're talking about. I've got two spruce tops in these photos but they are completely different. One is 40% denser while still basically the same stiffness.
Changing the fan splay ( the angle in which the fans line up with the grain direction of the top) is a big way to shape sound. What seems like a subtle shift really can change a guitar from what some think of as a "hauser" feel to something more "granada school".
Everything gets weighed, flexed, and tapped until completion; always keeping in mind what I think the customer is looking for. Carving three tops makes tons of shavings... I should have got a wood stove to heat the shop or a maybe a pet hamster.