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Oh Boy...Here We Go Again

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  • Oh Boy...Here We Go Again

    I'm all in favor of protecting endangered species of both the plant and animal variety. But after seeing the incredible mess that Gibson had to deal with regarding supposedly "safe" imported wood (Brian Majeski at Music Trades summarized the government's conclusion as "You didn't really do anything wrong, just don't do it again"), the upcoming regulations on rosewood are going to open a major can of worms for guitar players.

    The main reason the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is dealing with restrictions on rosewood is because of Chinese furniture manufacturers, not the fingerboard on your neck. According to an article to Music Trades:

    "
    What makes the new rosewood regulations challenging is the documentation on finished instruments. Better than half of all acoustic guitars traversing national borders--millions of units annually--now must be accompanied by paperwork that details the quantity of rosewood used, measured in cubic meters, and the complete chain of custody of the wood, from the time the log was cut until it left the production line.

    "Actual enforcement of CITES rules is left up to individual countries, and in the U.S., the Department of Fish and Wildlife is charged with implementing them. [Nick] Colesanti [Martin Guitar's VP of Supply Chain Management] has been meeting with Fish and Wildlife representatives in what he says is a 'collaborative, problem solving' atmosphere. He's hoping that they can arrive at rules that protect rosewood forests without overburdening guitar makers. 'It's a long process,' he says."


    I bet it is.
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  • #2
    Who needs rosewood furniture when you can have a guitar with a rosewood fingerboard?
    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
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    • #3
      Nothing like using a shotgun when a fly swatter will do!
      The Mandolin Picker

      "Bless your hearts... and all your vital organs" - John Duffy

      "Got time to breath, got time for music!"- Briscoe Darling, Jr.

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      • #4
        I saw that the other day, and had similar (here we go again) thoughts Craig. Hope they get it all worked out!
        **********

        "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

        - George Carlin

        "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

        - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

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        • #5
          I'm not up to speed with this. My Les Paul Customs and white falcons have ebony fingerboards. That's history for new guitars, right? Maybe my 1965 Casino has ebony too, but I never pull it out. Maybe it's rosewood. I probably have a lot of guitars with rosewood fingerboards. So, that's history too, right? Or I should say, rosewood fingerboard options will skyrocket if a lot of paperwork is required.. right?

          Does this mean Les Paul customs will eventually have maple strat necks? Oh the horror.

          Isn't rosewood grown anywhere in the US? I thought it was possible to do. Unlike Coconut palms here in LA. If so, what do the Chinese have to do with it? Trump wants Gibson to return all its manufacturing here to the US anyway, doesn't he? (along with everything else made non-domestically).

          Let's see, domestically grown rosewood trees used for rosewood fingerboards on US-made Les Pauls at US wages for the workers makes the price of an entry level Gibson at.... um..... $15,000. Plus case.

          What's richlite made of? I don't remember playing one at a GC. Is that the stuff that feels like ebony? Can't Gibson come up with some sort of rosewood formica that'll amaze the planet while keeping the price down? (that's a joke)

          Can't people in San Diego grow up to 5 personal ebony trees alongside their pot plants in their personal rainforest-condition greenhouses out behind the house under the new regulations?

          Can I sell my backyard grown ebony to Gibson like I can sell my extra solar power back to SoCal Edison?

          I'm just throwing stuff out here, looking for either a better understanding of the ebony/rosewood situation... or better yet... a business idea

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bookumdano4 View Post
            I'm not up to speed with this. My Les Paul Customs and white falcons have ebony fingerboards. That's history for new guitars, right?
            Old guitars, like pre-1930 (and pre-Les Paul) had ebony fingerboards. It was pretty much the standard practice. Martin started using rosewood for fingerboards in certain models starting about 1930, but they still make models with ebony fingerboards. For flat-top guitars, the bridge and fingerboard were the same wood. Ebony from the 1960s and later wasn't as pretty as old ebony and tended to have streaks. It was hard to find an all-black piece of ebony long enough to make a fingerboard, so rosewood became more common in all but the most expensive guitars.

            Does this mean Les Paul customs will eventually have maple strat necks? Oh the horror.
            Hey, it works on strats. But the idea of a fingerboard, in addition to appearance, is that it can be replaced if it gets worn badly enough. I don't think that maple is as wear-resistant as good ebony, and I've seen some pretty worn-out rosewood fingerboards, but on acoustic, not electric guitars.

            Isn't rosewood grown anywhere in the US? I thought it was possible to do.
            Oh, I suppose you could grow a small fingerboard farm somewhere in the US. Originally instrument grade rosewood came from Brazil, now they're getting it from India. And while on a Les Paul, there's about 15 cubic inches of rosewood for the fingerboard blank, 3 inches wide at most (so it can come from a skinny tree) many acoustic guitars have rosewood sides and back, which requires a big tree to make a quarter-sawn guitar back.


            --
            "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
            Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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