A good luthier must focus on the overall architecture of the instrument for it to be a success
I learnt a valuable lesson from Jean-Frédéric Schmitt in 1994. I’d just finished a cello that I was very happy with, and I took it to him to get his thoughts on it. He looked at it for ten seconds and said: 'It’s a nice cello. But you’ve forgotten one essential element: the architecture. Both archings are completely wrong.' It was a real cold shower, but I learnt two very important things about lutherie that day. An instrument isn’t just a collection of smaller details – a good luthier must focus on the overall architecture of the instrument for it to be a success. It’s also essential in this business to find a good critic who will tell you straight away if you are heading down the wrong path.