My Philosophy: The goals
A Gilbert guitar is conceived for sound first, playability alongside sound, physical durability supporting sound and playability, and finally finish and appearance. A guitar exists for players to make music, even as a camera exists for a photographer to capture or make images. The guitar can either enable or impede the work of the player. Many factors can contribute to the success or failure of an instrument, but the four mentioned above are most vital.
Sound is first. Music that is made with a poor sounding guitar or one with poor intonation, is like a photograph that is made out of focus or distorted because the camera’s lens is poor.
Playability is right alongside sound. People need to easily play the guitar in order to make the music. Otherwise, it is like a camera that makes the photographer miss a good shot because it is clumsy or has poor controls. So playability is very important. The great sound of a guitar with poor playability is trapped
The guitar needs to be well built, with good physical durability, both for sound, and so that it will have a long lifespan without physical failure, or its sound and playability will come to nothing. This is like a camera that is flimsy, and falls apart when you take it out to use it. Every joint on an instrument is important, and should be cleanly and carefully made.
Less vital, but not unimportant is the appearance of the instrument. There are two aspects to this: I want to execute all of the woodwork as carefully as possible (as mentioned above) and I want a good finish that is durable and practical. The player is always looking at the instrument. So I strive for a nice appearance, but a beautiful guitar that sounds lousy isn’t doing its job. In the same way, a camera that is pretty but awkward and has a poor lens and loses parts, isn’t worth much.
I try to keep in mind that few people in a room or concert hall can see the physical beauty of the instrument. They are there because they want to hear the music that the player makes with the instrument. Almost no one knows what the guitar on a recording looked like, but multitudes know what it sounded like.
I am striving to build an instrument that I would want to own and that I want my customer to own.