Frank Verrilli has been a full time artist/sculptor for most of his adult life (www.FrankVerrilli.com to view his art work). Intially in his career he worked exclusively in wood, carving both relief and 3 dimensionally, he later began doing pieces in stone and bronze as well. So his background is quite different then most guitar makers.
About 12 years ago he was given a commission to carve on a guitar, and since he also plays a little, he thought he’d make one for himself. About the same time he started appreciating vintage tube amplifiers. And soon he became hooked on the process of building a guitar that would incorporate his sensibility of design and also function well with great tone. Looking at his artwork one can see certain principles that he naturally would apply to his guitars. Aside from his intricate carvings he does on some of the bodies. He’s come up with some other very distinct features to help get away from that production look. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuw-kfdN4ro TS 3 Hum)
He relies on a lot of “relicing” techniques to add to his earthy organic style ... "Although it's not everybody's taste, I always liked things that looked broken, natural flaws, aged patina etc.. It adds to the character and aliveness of it (certainly making the guitar more personal and less production looking) But.there are also some functional reasons... The back of the neck can be down to the wood and oiled for a smoother feel,, the edges of the fret board can be rolled heavier, you don t have to pamper it and be carefully everytime you put it down., therefore you play it more and it slowly becomes your favorite ( if it wasn t already) and enjoying and likng it more with time. As far as tone goes, even though these are solid bodies, there are certain things that have to be done to ensure a great tone. Since some of that can be subjective, its neccessary to educate the customer on the many different options and specs out there that can effect the tone and playabilty. So its really up to the builder to dialogue with the customer and help him decide what he wants and get the most out of the word "custom".