hi there.

Welcome to Wildwood Manufacturing

We are excited for you to get to know us. Here you can find out just what sets us apart in the electric guitar OEM business, and a little bit about how we do what we do.

If you like what you see, or just want to know more, feel free to send us a contact message using the form at the bottom of the page.


Thanks,

The Team at Wildwood Manufacturing

Who We Are

Tucked in among the Redwoods on California's rugged North Coast, Humboldt County is home to many artists, and is said to have more artists per capita than any county in America. The artists' media includes hardwoods. We have a rich history and a deep infrastructure in quality furniture, and in musical instruments.

The City of Arcata, where Wildwood Manufacturing operates, is the home of Marimba One (Ron Samuels), Moonstone Guitars (Steve Helgeson), Ken Lawrence Instruments, Phil Crump Instruments, Ian Davidson Instruments, Colin Vance Banjos and Jeff Callahan Pickups (Jeff is also our Plant Manager) to name a few. Wildwood Manufacturing is proud to be a part of Arcata's special appreciation for musical instruments and hardwood products.

Recapitalized

Bruce and Cathy Hamilton purchased Wildwood Manufacturing in September of 2007, 5 days after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Oh well. At that time, neither Bruce nor Cathy was a guitar player or a woodworker, but they brought over 40 years of manufacturing, MIS, Accounting and executive experience to the company, as well as much needed capital.

In October of 2011, we acquired a new, state of the art, Anderson CNC three-axis router to complement our milling, wood working and finishing equipment.

Over the past seven years, Wildwood Manufacturing has been transformed from a craft-stage production shop into a modern, highly-tooled, and highly-specialized industrial manufacturing operation with a singular focus: being a custom woodshop for the electric guitar industry. We have a 5,000, expanding in 2015 to 6,200, square-foot shop completely outfitted with all the critical wood working tools and many specialized jigs and fixtures needed to turn wood, truss rods, inlay and wire into electric guitar and bass bodies and necks.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to build long-term relationships as a valuable supplier of quality guitar bodies and necks to the music industry. We have always been an OEM, a wholesaler, we do not sell parts to the public. We do not sell one off bodies or necks at Retail.

We have never advertised, relying solely on word-of-mouth and referrals to promote our growth. Some of the finest electric guitars and basses on the market today start with the foundation of Wildwood Manufacturing bodies and necks. And unless they were yours, you would never know it.

Body Wood

A big part of what we do is sourcing wood. We purchase and stock all the basic body woods as boards or as blanks. These 8/4 boards and blanks include Swamp Ash, Alder, Khayan and Genuine Mahogany, Basswood, Sugar Pine, Popular, Western Maple, Black and White Limba and reclaimed Old Growth Redwood.

We purchase at least one thousand board feet each of Ash and Alder every month. We use a variety of sources, including a good local hardwoods store, Almquist Lumber, and many suppliers who have been in the music wood business for many years.

All of our vendors certify the genus and species of the boards that we purchase from them and sign a certificate that states that they know the origin of the wood and that the wood is sustainably harvested.

Top Wood

We stock many specialty woods for tops, including Western Maple 3A and 5A Flame and 3A and 5A Quilt, Spalted Maple and Koa for bent or carved tops. Exotic woods for artist-quality, high-end body tops, neck blanks or finger boards are often supplied by our customers. We can handle, store and work with virtually any wood you choose for your many orders.

We have good sources for figured maple. We have an excellend resaw set up and cut our own tops from billets. It costs more, but we have more control over the quality of the tops than when we did when we ordered them pre-cut.

Neck Wood

We also stock hundreds of neck blanks and hundreds of finger board blanks for guitars and basses. As in the case of body wood, we use a wide variety of sources. We always have a stock of Eastern hard rock Maple, flat or quarter sawn, 3A and 5A Flame, 3A and 5A Birdseye, and both Genuine and Khayan Mahogany. We always have Indian Rosewood, Pau Ferro, African Ebony, flat and quarter sawn Maple, and birdseye Maple fingerboards.

Product Development

The process begins with a discussion with you to understand your requirements. Then Darran uses our MasterCam software to interpret size and shape, weight reduction pattern, arm and waist bevels, pickup and neck pockets, etc. into a set of commands that the three axis CNC machine can follow.

It takes a lot of experience to coax organic shapes from wood. Feed rates and spin rates and the choice and order of tools is critical.

The machine carves two bodies each cycle, two fronts and two backs, with accuracy to a few thousandths of an inch. Pickup pockets, rear control cavities, neck pockets, and weight reduction channels are accurately reproduced on all guitar and bass bodies.

We also CNC guitar and bass flat necks and tilt back necks to all the common scale lengths and to some uncommon ones, also.

Nut width, peg head shape and thickness, tuner hole diameter, heel width and thickness, finger board radius, fret slot depth, nut slot and of course, the back carve and transitions are carefully developed for all necks. We develop set necks as well as bolt on necks.

In-House Engineering

We make all of our own fixtures to hold the bodies and necks in location on the CNC's vacuum bed. We also make many jigs and other work aids to make the process of making precision parts repeatable. For example, the "Chest of Vacuum" - individual vacuum drawers that create the force to glue one bent top at a time to one body core was engineered by our in-house staff.

CNC Support

All CNC computer programming is done in-house using MasterCam software. Our programmer Darran Sanders has 11 years of experience using Master Cam to create guitar bodies and necks.

We have a complete set of more than 50 very special end mills, including a right angle saw to cut fret slots, and we keep all of our tools very sharp, changing them out regularly.

We are able to create a body or neck that is unique to your specification that feels the way you want it to feel. Once created and approved, we can reproduce it reliably for ongoing orders.

Necks

Our necks are built from carefully selected kiln-dried maple or mahogany, and are constructed with one-way or two-way truss rods to insure adjustability. Our finger boards are accurately located to the neck blank. Truss rod pockets and splines and tilt back peg heads are precisely route. Carve profiles are accurately shaped. The size of the perimeter of the neck heel is machined to fit into the neck pocket on the body with the fit you want. Finger boards are radiused with either a straight or compound radius, fretted, pocketed, inlaid, and bound if desired.

Truss rod adjustment access can be in the heel or peg head. At two times in the process of making the necks, we set them aside for a two day rest. After we glue the fingerboards on the necks blanks, the necks rest for two days to relax before we perimeter and carve them. After we carve the back the necks rest for two more days before we sand out the finger boards and begin the fretting process.

Fretting is done by hand, one fret at a time. Every slot is machined to a specific width and depth on the CNC to match the tang on any of the nine wire profiles we stock. We produce a level, consistent set of frets that need only your final dressing. Finish sanding is meticulously thorough until both the board and the carve feel great.

Bodies

Over the years, we have developed a library of traditional body shapes with a vast array of pickup and bridge configurations. Completely custom solid bodies, semi-hollow chambered bodies, bent-top bodies, are our specialty. We work from proprietary designs or can supply traditional shapes from our library of body styles. However, each model body or neck is given a unique part number for you. We build no parts to inventory and we hold no finished goods inventory. We don't even have a Swamp Ash 52 Tele on hand.

Fancy wood tops for the "bent-tops" are vacuum formed over the solid body core wood, with a contrasting veneer, if you want, to produce an elegant appearance. You can count on us to have stock in 3A & 5A Maple, and often Private Reserve, in both Flame and Quilt. For the more exotic woods such as koa, cocobolo, spalted maple, buckeye burl, fancy myrtles, and so on, we will work with the wood that you pick and supply. If you are going to send us wood, please ask for dimensions that we need.

Finish Sanding

After the CNC machine our parts are enhanced by human touch. All bodies are carefully sanded until they are almost ready to paint or finish. Through a series of sanding stages, the bodies and necks achieve the potential to become parts of a fine instrument. All sanding includes some filling and hand sanding. When bodies and necks are packed and shipped from our shop, they are ready for final preparation for finishing.

Contact Us

We don't do one-off guitars - we are a bulk manufacturer - but if you're looking for twelve bodies and necks of the same style or for twenty bodies of five styles and four neck styles, we will deliver them to your specification, fairly-priced, and on time.

We have a 5,000 square-foot shop completely outfitted with all the critical wood working tools. We have nine committed specialists who take deep pride in what we produce. Every raw material, machine tool, hand tool, fixture or work aid is focused on the making of musical instruments.

From your dream, through the CAD program, CNC machining and the final hand sanding, we are producing world-class quality for electric guitar bodies and necks on a daily basis.