All the major guys in the design part of the string instrument craft had been woodworkers first. The guys I admire the most have the confidence and skills to build whatever they choose and don't need to copy other people's ideas. I'm a weak man, I want it all.
I'm a "genius" but I am not a fool. I've had teachers both formal and informal. I've been lucky to know real geniuses and they've been generous with their help and advice. Just like the engineers who developed the VW bug, I experiment and refine my techniques and designs over time.
First we talk about what you need, then we draw. You give me money and I buy stuff we need to build the guitar. We measure, tap, stroke, sniff, flex, and tweak until it's right. Your whole world changes and all evil is banished from the universe. World peace reigns.