Thanks to Bob Doran for his feature article on Humboldt County's luthiers. I've been proud of these guys for years. They are well-known internationally, and it's good to see them get some recognition on their home turf.
As the owner of a Eureka music store from 1976-1999, I've known Mark Platin, Steve Helgeson, Phil Crump and Ken Lawrence for a long time and have followed their careers closely. I've relied on their expertise over the years for difficult repairs on fine instruments and referred many customers to them as well.
Unfortunately for us but not for them, as their skills progressed and their reputations grew, they became more reluctant to repair other people's instruments, preferring instead to build their own. It reminds me of the following story: Some years ago, Hartley Peavey of Peavey Electronics was in secret negotiations to buy the Gibson Guitar Company, but he broke it off and committed himself to building his own brand, saying, "It's a lot more fun to make a new baby than to resuscitate an old man."
Rus Krause, Arcata