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Author Topic:  New regulations on woods
Robert Mayo


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 25 Jan 2017 10:31 am     Reply with quote

2017 CITES regulations will now include over 250 species of rosewood,2 species of bubinga and 2 species of kosso to includeall parts and derivatives of these woods, again we have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to ship or travel with an instrument that may contain any part made from any of these woods overseas...jimminy crickets...
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Roger Shackelton


From:
MINNESOTA
Post Posted 25 Jan 2017 9:57 pm     Reply with quote

ROBERT,

Just build a travel guitar made from "PINE". Laughing


Roger
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Robert Mayo


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2017 5:15 am     Reply with quote

Original Fender guitars were pine and I have had a few Pinecasters in the shop, travel is just one hassle with the new regs, selling is the another...
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Jim Smerk


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2017 10:34 pm     Reply with quote

Total BS IMHO...
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Bryan Staddon


From:
Buffalo,New York,
Post Posted 10 Feb 2017 8:38 am     Sacrifices Reply with quote

We should all be happy to make incredibly small sacrifices to help the environment. There is a billion dollar industry eager to deforest large portions of the world. It may be hard for some of you to understand because Science is involved but we actually do need trees to survive. Also I'm assuming you don't care about the rest of the world and the people who live there, but believe it or not some people do. I'm aware that this opinion and using science and compassion is currently considered un- American but I'm old fashioned that way.
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Rick Schmidt


From:
Prescott AZ, USA
Post Posted 10 Feb 2017 11:24 am     Reply with quote

My last "real" job... i.e. not just gigging.... was as the shipping/receiving manager at a vintage and high end guitar shop, Buffalo Bros (RIP) in Carlsbad CA. Even 5 years ago, the customs forms with the often Latin names for rare woods was giving me serious fits.

I really understand the problem. IMHO NO builder should be making new guitars with unsustainable woods....and the same should go for any natural resource used by any product made in any country.Of course there lies the rub....

But the red tape and the cost of selling, shipping, or transporting an instrument made from a questionable material is unbelievable! Actually prohibitive to the individual builders and retailers. People are just gonna have to change their thought process and what they're lusting over. I mean in the day and age of Viagra, do we still need to harvest Rhino horns? Lucky for us steel players, we don't need anything too exotic.

I really do wish that there could be some kind of dating certification process, where somebody's 1930's D-28 didn't have to go through the same red tape as a new mahogany or koa guitar. Maybe it's changed since I was in the biz?
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 10 Feb 2017 11:59 am     Reply with quote

I guess someone might think it's total BS if the regs just pertained to tonewood for guitars. Because in reality, guitar manufacturing is a small part of the problem. That being the case, how is any agency or agencies going to control the harvesting of small percentages of rosewood for guitar use only, and very
limited harvesting for furniture?

Or I guess someone could think it's total BS if they are against anything having to do with environmental regs just on general principles.

It's not that simple. Brief summary from CITES regarding the new rosewood regs:

Quote:
The reason for the billion-dollar demand for rosewood - and the subsequent trafficking - has less to do with musical instruments and much more to do with furniture.

In particular, China’s high-end furniture market created enormous demand that led to severe deforestation of several Dalbergia species in Thailand, Vietnam, and several other countries.


Hats off to Bob Taylor and Taylor Guitars for being a leader in attempting to effect some change. Not with rosewood in particular, but this story has to do with ebony. On acoustic guitars ebony is of course popular for fretboards, bridges, and faceplates on the headstock. It is also used for high end furniture, etc.

It turns out in Cameroon guys were cutting down ebony trees and if there were brown streaks in the wood, which is considered a flaw, they would just leave that tree to rot and go on to the next one. Bob Taylor ended up buying a lumber mill in Cameroon to mill the ebony and began using the brown streaked (or "marbled") wood for fretboards. They have been kind of pushing the idea in their marketing, some folks like it and others don't - "it's gotta be black or I ain't buying."

Long story short, these CITES regs pertaining to rosewood weren't put into place because some overbearing tree huggers were pushing the idea to make them feel good about themselves. There happens to be a real problem out there.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 10 Feb 2017 7:30 pm     Reply with quote

Of course, there is a need to control over-harvesting of valuable species of wood. The same is true of fish, game, and other natural resources, where it is done much more intelligently, IMHO. But also IMHO, it is absurd to think that things like musical instruments and other smaller uses of the wood have anything to do with this over-harvesting. Jeez, a lot of rainforest wood was turned into charcoal. The discussion of valuable wood species really has nothing to do with our need for trees to survive. Of course, we do, but that need could be easily met simply by having intelligent world-wide replanting efforts, which btw we've been doing in this country for a long time.

There is a market-oriented way to control harvesting of premium woods like rosewood, ebony, and others like this. If supplies are simply limited and prices allowed to float to their natural supply/demand equilibrium levels, more conservative uses will naturally fall out. Instead, this stuff is enforced in a typically machine-like bureaucratic-regulatory way that makes it impossible for most people to deal with it.

And what any of this has to do with old Brazilian rosewood Martins and other old guitars which used premium woods which were harvested decades ago, I have no idea.

And please don't bother to insist that there's no difference between, let's say, a premium acoustic guitar made from German/Adirondack spruce and Brazilian rosewood or Honduran Mahogany versus lesser species of wood. But in a short supply situation, you're gonna have to pay for the privilege of using such woods. Some people are willing to do just that. What's the beef?

I just know this is gonna get partisan-political. It is impossible to talk about anything serious around here anymore without someone getting bent out of shape.

All my opinions, naturally.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 17 Feb 2017 11:37 am     Reply with quote

it is hard for me to believe that over harvesting problem has much to do with music instruments...
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Tom Conroy


From:
South Jersey, USA
Post Posted 20 Feb 2017 12:50 am     Reply with quote

I can't locate a source but I once read that the deforestation of Brazillian rosewood was caused largely by the perfume industry, less by furniture, and much less by musical instruments.
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 4 Mar 2017 3:32 pm     Reply with quote

Politicians of every sort are sitting in air conditioned offices zipping out rules and regulations to keep busy. Trees, on the other hand, are OUT IN THE WOODS.
WIKI:
Quote:
In addition it is threatened by habitat loss, since most of the plant's forest habitats have been converted to farmland.

Other people, out in the woods with the trees, like to have water, food, clothing, even shelter. And the biggest bang for your buck* is growing the palm trees for palm oil. The farmers on Belize had the idea they could cut down the rosewood trees, sell the wood, then plant the Palm trees. When the govt. told them "You can't SELL your TREES!" they burned them down so they could plant palms.

*(Peso? Mark? Elliphino)
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 5 Mar 2017 6:11 am     Reply with quote

Dave Mudgett wrote:
I just know this is gonna get partisan-political. It is impossible to talk about anything serious around here anymore without someone getting bent out of shape.

I think it impossible to discuss this without politics, as there's money to be made, and we rationalize the externalities.

The planet has a history of going through resources until they're gone. Haiti has something like 1-1/2% of its original forest,
cut down for agriculture. Haitians pay a price every time there are heavy rains. It's not just the cost of woods, the planet pays.
And who can forget the Easter Island moai? Politics runs deep everywhere on the planet.

I suppose the 'end' result will be plastic guitars, saving trees but resulting in non-reclaimable materials.
We have metal studs in buildings to save on wood, and a cost increase in 15%.
Somewhere in all this bounty we missed that materials come in fixed amounts.
No, I have no solutions. I enjoy reclaiming pallet wood (but not for a guitar.)
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 5 Mar 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

Damir Besic wrote:
it is hard for me to believe that over harvesting problem has much to do with music instruments...


I don't think anyone ever said it was. As I wrote above in the first paragraph:

Quote:
I guess someone might think it's total BS if the regs just pertained to tonewood for guitars. Because in reality, guitar manufacturing is a small part of the problem. That being the case, how is any agency or agencies going to control the harvesting of small percentages of rosewood for guitar use only, and very limited harvesting for furniture?


If some guys are out there with chainsaws in a tropical forest, and there is a way to manage the situation get them to limit them to taking down say only only a few trees in a small area that will be milled into guitar tonewood, that would be really swell. "Hey man, we're just harvesting a few trees for guitar wood, then we're out of here."

That's not what is going on. Too many trees of a given species are being cut down for other purposes, as in large volumes of high end furniture for China.

So it ruins it for everybody, including folks who harvest small percentages of the trees for guitars. It might be a little like being back in middle school and some jerk in your class does something to tick off the teacher, and everyone in the class is made to stay after school for detention even though they had nothing to do with it. The jerk screwed it up for everybody else.

And no doubt there is still a good amount of East Indian Rosewood out there to be had, but it's my understanding that as for the CITES regs, they decided that it's too difficult to determine say at an airport if a guitar is made from the more common East Indian rosewood as opposed to Brazilian or Madagascar. These customs agents aren't trained in being able to identify guitar wood by genus and species. They'd all have to be sent to someplace like the Martin factory in Pennsylvania for training. Obviously this isn't going to happen.

The good news, and I think I have the numbers correct - if you are traveling overseas and the total weight of a restricted item like rosewood is under 22 lbs. no one is going to detain you at customs. You could be a gigging pro, and even it you have four acoustic guitars that weigh about 4.5 lbs. a piece, that's about 18 lbs. total, so you're good to go.
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Craig Stock


From:
Westfield, NJ USA
Post Posted 8 Mar 2017 3:59 pm     Reply with quote

I find this topic interesting.

With all the technology that we have today, can't something be manufactured synthetically to get the same sound as the afore mentioned wood, or is it mostly for aesthetics.

I have no knowledge of the sound vibration qualities of certain woods, but if the cellular structure could be made of new materials would that help the guitar industry?

I know MSA made Carbon Fiber guitars, and am not sure as to how that has worked out.

Charlie, I reclaim would all the time, its amazing what people throw out, and I have a degree in Horticulture and work with trees every day, so I'm quit familiar with their properties. Amazing structures.

Great topic!
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 10 Mar 2017 1:28 pm     Reply with quote

Craig, I did not know that you have a degree in horticulture - that was my major as well and I now have about 40 years (yikes!) piled up working in the wholesale and retail nursery industry.

And as I have written in the past in reference to your location, I lived down the road from you in Scotch Plains until I was 9, then my parents sold the house and packed us up for the westward migration to sunny California in 1963. Well - it used to be sunny - we've had 68 inches of rain this season so far, normal in a non-drought year for the entire season is 36" in my town.

There are some nice flattop guitars these days made out of carbon fiber. Check out Rainsong - I've played a couple and they sound good. And the cool thing is you can leave it out in the rain on your patio overnight with no ill effects, and not being made of wood it might even still be in tune the next day! Tim Stafford of Blue Highway is one of the finest bluegrass guitarists in the business and he has been playing a CA (Composite Acoustics) guitar as his main road axe for years. I have seen Blue Highway play probably 15 times since the late '90s and I can tell you when Tim is playing that CA it never occurs to me that it's not made out of wood.

The other great thing about a carbon fiber guitar is that you can pack it in the trunk on a hot day and it will not be effected.

So why don't more folks play carbon fiber guitars? Especially if you're a "road warrior?"

I'm the wrong guy to ask. My main flattop is a beautiful Martin made from Adirondack spruce, Madagascar rosewood, hot hide glue construction, etc. from the Martin Custom Shop.

Ovations were hot for a number of years then died off in popularity but they might be making a resurgence under new ownership.

I have heard people in the business say any number of times that guitarists are inherently conservative in nature when it comes to their tastes and preferences in an instrument, that's why it's still mostly about wood.

In an earlier post I wrote about Taylor starting to use ebony for fretboards with some brown streaks in it and trying to change people's minds that it's okay, because historically an ebony fretboard or bridge needed to be as black as the Ace of Spades to be acceptable.
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Craig Stock


From:
Westfield, NJ USA
Post Posted 11 Mar 2017 5:14 pm     Reply with quote

Mark,

I knew that you were in the same industry as me but missed the fact that you were from Scotch Plains, pretty cool, I came to Westfield in 1965 from Cleveland Ohio, and was born in '62 so our paths never crossed. When I read your last post , I was drawing up a landscape plan for a client off Cooper Rd. in S.P. of which was probably just woods when you lived there.

I appreciate your perspective of synthetic materials for guitars, seems to be an untapped area for new development. I think it all comes down to molecular structure and resonance, of which I don't know much about, but believe that there is so much potential in the future for instrument contruction.

My brother-in -law has a landscape design and construction firm in S.F. called Sculpt Gardens(John Steuernagel), he is a well accomplished contractor and works in the city exclusively. I worked for his dad back in high school, studied at Texas Tech, married his sister and have worked as a landscape designer and contactor for the last 34 years.

I am involved in steel guitar promotion, bought my steel from Dan Dugmore years ago, but with kids and work have not made much progress in my playing,... but I hope that will change. I help out with the PSGA show in Norwalk Ct. and a local Jazz Concert series in my hometown of Westfield, NJ and have Jim Cohen and Mike Neer scheduled to play this summer.

Would love to talk shop some day, our business is always growing!

Take care Mark!
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 9:40 am     Reply with quote

Time to get a GFI.
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Robert Mayo


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 3 May 2017 3:00 pm     Reply with quote

Furniture, flooring and homes take the majority of the woods used today, why the guitar with it's small portion of wood used should even be in these classifications is pure BS.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 4 May 2017 1:58 am     Reply with quote

it appears to me that some legislators somewhere , sitting around in expensive WOOD Chairs on a beautiful very expensive WOOD desk came up with some regulations to curtail the use of wood.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 4 May 2017 3:33 am     Reply with quote

Tony that's most pobably true!
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 4 May 2017 4:37 am     Reply with quote

A bunch of board legislators.
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Bill Cunningham


From:
Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post Posted 4 May 2017 5:00 pm     Reply with quote

Trees....A renewable resource or crop. Just like corn and beans...if properly managed for sustainability.
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post Posted 5 May 2017 11:59 am     Reply with quote

Bill Cunningham wrote:
Trees....A renewable resource or crop. Just like corn and beans...if properly managed for sustainability.


Yes Bill, potentially all part of the broad category of "sustainable agriculture." But you're painting with a pretty broad swath.

Corn and beans - annual crops of herbaceous plants grown from seed.

Tropical hardwood trees - require decades of growth before harvest of timber is possible.

I found an interesting article from guitar company owner Tom Bedell, who is along with his own label the owner of Breedlove Guitars in Bend, Oregon.

Here is the link:

http://bedellguitars.com/blog/saving-the-worlds-rosewood-forests-new-cities-
rosewood-changes

For those who won't click on it to read the article, here are a couple of highlights.

Quote:
I have personally visited several countries where various rosewood species grow. One example is Madagascar rosewood: we had acquired 95 sets. The paperwork that came with it looked suspicious. With representatives of the World Resource Institute (WRI) we traveled to Madagascar to investigate. The Madagascar rosewood forests have been decimated. We saw stashes of rosewood logs hidden in the jungle. Confiscated piles of rosewood were raided with the purpose of replacing larger logs with smaller less valuable timber. Corruption was reported at a local, regional and national levels. Why? The Chinese are willing to pay vast sums of money for the incredible figure and color of Madagascar rosewood for exotic furniture. I am 100% convinced the Madagascar I had acquired was illegally harvested. At retail, finished guitars from our collection could have totaled almost $500,000. - See more at: http://bedellguitars.com/blog/saving-the-worlds-rosewood-forests-new-cities-rosewood-changes#sthash.0vwPNLqz.dpuf


Quote:
Initially, I imagine companies complaining of government overreach. That the CITES Appendix II listing of all dalbergia is unnecessary and inappropriate. But I argue it is essential to save the world’s rosewood forests. It compels the Chinese and other nations that were illegally trading, to join the rest of the countries of the world in compliance. We in the acoustic instrument business rely on exotic trees for our tonewood. It is a small price to pay to keep records of the chain of custody and sources of supply for the wood that enables our beautiful musical instruments. - See more at: http://bedellguitars.com/blog/saving-the-worlds-rosewood-forests-new-cities-rosewood-changes#sthash.0vwPNLqz.dpuf

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Bill Cunningham


From:
Atlanta, Ga. USA
Post Posted 5 May 2017 5:01 pm     Reply with quote

Hi Mark.

I agree exotic forests have been decimated and that is a travesty. Hence I said "sustainability". I am just a bit sensitive to this as I am an advocate for wildlife that require young forests habitats. Appalachian oaks have a life of 80-100 years and can be cut in rotation accordingly. I just read that Indian rosewood lifespan is 40 years. I don't know about bubinga or some other species. (I sure do love my Bubinga Peavey bass, BTW Smile )

Less than 1% of the timber in our north Georgia Chattahoochee National Forest is less than 10 years old as there have been no significant timber harvests in 25 years. Now many bird species that need young thick forests are in steep decline.

Apologies if I have hijacked the topic but you can probably detect this is something I am passionate about. I just never miss the opportunity to preach a sermon that cutting trees is not a bad thing assuming good silvicultural practices.

For me, nothing is more alive than a 40 acre clear cut that has grown back to age 12-20. Not pretty when it's cut but I imagine neither was the Sistine Chapel when they were digging the footers. Very Happy
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W. C. Edgar


From:
USA
Post Posted 10 May 2017 10:59 am     Reply with quote

What Bryan Staddon said is my exact feelings.
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