Last month I took a trip up to Arcata, or more specifically Samoa, and had the good fortune to meet Ian Davidson, a heck of a nice guy, who’s making some interesting electric banjos. Bela Fleck is among his clients, as well as Todd Fink of The Giving Tree Band. Ian called me to get a couple of banjos Plek’d and in the course of the conversation I learned that he’s in Manilla, CA which is about 3 miles from Samoa so I dropped in on my trip. He’s got a great little shop at his house, very clean and well organized, and he also works with Kenneth Lawrence who has shop space at Wildwood Manufacturing. For a little area it’s a really dense with quality luthiers. Kenneth makes beautiful basses, and has become well known of late for making some Ziricote Explorers for James Hetfield, among others. His shop was small but absolutely dialed, and it was a great thing to see how well one can use a limited space. Last person I spoke with was Bruce Hamilton of Wildwood Manufacturing. His company is a CNC production house who makes bodies and necks for a bunch of companies you have heard of. The production facility and philosophy was top-notch, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them if my elbow ever finally gives out! Thanks to Ian, Ken and Bruce for the hospitality.