Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Cmnaround » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:23 am

I was going to title this thread "Hide yer guitars!!"....I haven't seen this come upon this board yet and thought it may be of interest.

From a good NPR piece that aired last night, link below takes you to audio of the story with pics.

"Last week federal marshals raided the Gibson Guitar Corporation in Tennessee. It wasn't the first time. The government appears to be preparing to charge the famous builder of instruments with trafficking in illegally obtained wood. It's a rare collision of music and environmental regulation."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/08/31/140090116/why-gibson-guitar-was-raided-by-the-justice-department

And from a report in local Nashville news:

http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2011/08/26/gibson-guitar-search-warrant-details.html
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:59 am

Yeah. Makes me wonder what the future for us guitarists will be.
Hope "innocent until proven guilty" is the same for us guitar owners.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby JonnyBoy » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:39 am

strumminsix wrote:Yeah. Makes me wonder what the future for us guitarists will be.
Hope "innocent until proven guilty" is the same for us guitar owners.


they are speaking of the mass importation of cheaper materials, skirting the costs it takes to use renewable forests and environmentally proper farming. They surely knew what they were doing, it is all about greed, nothing more or less. Remember they already have the cost for these properly obtained materials worked into their cost/pricing of their US produced guitars.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Staemius » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:10 am

Careful when traveling - I have a couple of old guitars with exotic woods and I have no idea where the wood may have come from - sounds like some guitars could be seized if you can't prove the legality of the woods. Don't know all the ins/outs of the legalities - but sounds like Gibson was dinged on bringing in some woods from India that were actually approved by India for export but the feds interpreted the Indian law differently (or at least that is what one Gibson rep has stated).
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby alcorelectric » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:35 pm

The Raid is in response to Gibson obtaining Indian Rosewood in non-finished form.
Apparently, it is a violation of Indian law to export non finished wood products.
If the products had been finished in India there would be no violation.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Griz » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:00 pm

Hello All....

This is a topic you will hear more and more of when it comes to vintage and high end instruments.

Guitar builders are up against well meaning, but poorly understood CITES treaty materials enforcement
This is ruining the industry, and making it VERY difficult to travel internationally with instruments.
Classical performers simply cannot travel with treasured instruments, bows, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CITES

Here is the best guitar wood related article I have seen
http://www.fretboardjournal.com/feature ... ion-treaty

It also spawned this satire:
http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/20 ... lords.html


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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby gr8fullfred » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:44 pm

OK this is a nightmare, but has an easy solution. Do not bring your prized instruments out of your home country. If I go to Canada, I will bring my Martin backpacker, no big deal if they want it. After reading this thread and the links contained within the thread, I would never export a treasured instrument out of my home country. Its just not worth the risk!

Thanks for the warning!
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:24 am

Griz wrote:Hello All....

This is a topic you will hear more and more of when it comes to vintage and high end instruments.

Guitar builders are up against well meaning, but poorly understood CITES treaty materials enforcement
This is ruining the industry, and making it VERY difficult to travel internationally with instruments.
Classical performers simply cannot travel with treasured instruments, bows, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CITES

Here is the best guitar wood related article I have seen
http://www.fretboardjournal.com/feature ... ion-treaty

It also spawned this satire:
http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/20 ... lords.html


Griz

Thanks for the scoop, Griz!!!
gr8fullfred wrote:OK this is a nightmare, but has an easy solution. Do not bring your prized instruments out of your home country. If I go to Canada, I will bring my Martin backpacker, no big deal if they want it. After reading this thread and the links contained within the thread, I would never export a treasured instrument out of my home country. Its just not worth the risk!

I think you are missing other implications like taking any custom guitar out of the country for a show, a sale, etc. This could get ugly. I have a custom guitar, hence I have no lineage, so if I got a great gig say in Canada, I'd wonder if it's safe to bring it.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby gr8fullfred » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:13 am

I think you are missing other implications like taking any custom guitar out of the country for a show, a sale, etc. This could get ugly. I have a custom guitar, hence I have no lineage, so if I got a great gig say in Canada, I'd wonder if it's safe to bring it.


Don't wonder, don't bring it. It is not worth the risk. Arrange to rent or borrow an instrument in Canada or where ever. Bring something that you would not be heartbroken about losing.

Interesting enough, apparently the Feds only have to "suspect" a violation and its your duty to prove that you are not in violation. Major Nightmare!
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:18 am

gr8fullfred wrote:Don't wonder, don't bring it. It is not worth the risk. Arrange to rent or borrow an instrument in Canada or where ever. Bring something that you would not be heartbroken about losing.

Interesting enough, apparently the Feds only have to "suspect" a violation and its your duty to prove that you are not in violation. Major Nightmare!

Agreed. Those 2 things together are what make me so upset :( I wonder what will happen to major acts.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby gr8fullfred » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:40 am

Regarding major acts, they have the resources to check things out ahead of time, get permits if necessary, and buy or rent what they need where they are going.

I do not think that the players of the major acts even bring their prized instruments with them. They bring a Strat or something. Clapton-->Strat, Ron Wood-->Strat
Even JK is playing a readily available PRS Strat copy (modded).
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:51 am

gr8fullfred wrote:Even JK is playing a readily available PRS Strat copy (modded).

But not for long !
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JK's new Alembic ^^^^^^^^^^
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby strumminsix » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:54 am

gr8fullfred wrote:Regarding major acts, they have the resources to check things out ahead of time, get permits if necessary, and buy or rent what they need where they are going.

I do not think that the players of the major acts even bring their prized instruments with them. They bring a Strat or something. Clapton-->Strat, Ron Wood-->Strat
Even JK is playing a readily available PRS Strat copy (modded).

Okay, it's plausible that the woods used in Jerry's guitars may not comply. Then what?
I'd argue that major acts do in fact bring their #1s with them on the road.
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:12 am

strumminsix wrote:
gr8fullfred wrote:Regarding major acts, they have the resources to check things out ahead of time, get permits if necessary, and buy or rent what they need where they are going.

I do not think that the players of the major acts even bring their prized instruments with them. They bring a Strat or something. Clapton-->Strat, Ron Wood-->Strat
Even JK is playing a readily available PRS Strat copy (modded).

Okay, it's plausible that the woods used in Jerry's guitars may not comply. Then what?
I'd argue that major acts do in fact bring their #1s with them on the road.

Well just like everything else similar - ivory and other endangered animal products - a grandfather clause would ( hopefully ) be in place ....
How other countries apply the law and what paper work they will need I guess is to be determined.
It might come down to registering your guitar with the FEDs - like a firearm ...
Many people have antique outlawed fire arms but with the proper paperwork you are ' fine '.
Prob cost you some $ though
pure speculation on my part
:-)
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Re: Gibson Factory Raided for Illegally Sourced Wood

Postby vwjodyme » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:24 am

my biggest worry would be is are these people actually trained. will their be like a couple wood masters at each airport or are they dumping it on random tsa people?

i can imagine trying to explain the guitars back is a composite made to look like brazillian rosewood and end up being strip searched :shock:
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