Are the reports accurate, or is it really hyped up, or is it a hoax.


My wife found some reports of the feds raiding Gibson factories, seizing wood, and stopping production recently.


If anyone knows FACTS, I'd be interested in reading.





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Hello John and all,

I posed your question to my family member who is a licensed CHB Customs House Broker (a person who classifies import/export goods). This family member responded to the hypothetical question regarding whether ((insert your favorite contraband here as stated in your reply above)) would equal Contraband? Yes, your guitar sold to the person in Sweden would equal contraband based on current classifications.

Moreover, If a banned material, ingredient, or other said banned existent becomes a processed amalgamation, the processing has no effect on the banned existent - The processing does not dispatch the fact that the amalgamation contains an illicit material. 

That information is straight from someone who could blow a whistle or abed a cover up of importation or exportation of materials. For those who are preoccupied with politics, this person does NOT work for the government but is licensed by the government

Classification is a grey area as many other people have pointed out.

Owning an instrument that is not made from blood wood is important to me and my friends. Furthermore, some of us are genuinely concerned that our instrument, job, or life will be affected by the enforcement of CITES or LACEY. This subject is intimately important because the import/export is a table subject in my house. Yet, I am not an expert, I simply have access to someone in the field. Nor am I an expert in Laissez-Faire trade economics or politics.

With all our questions on the table it is easy to see why this situation is an unstable and volatile circumstance. The uncertainty about what the government expects is one of the most troubling aspects because they determine classifications. A little less mud in the water would do us all well (no pun intended) :) This topic has proven to be an very interesting!


Thanks for the your very informative response.  I'm curious then how Fender, Gibson, Martin etc. are able to sell to vendors over seas without getting into trouble.  Do they have to file for some sort of license or something?  Or do they just hire armies of lawyers to try and wiggle through the red tape just to do business?  

It's all so very murky for the average artistan/artists/craftsperson.  I currently am only doing repair work, and I'm still green at that, but I do sell my oil paintings and I'm trying to expand my sales reach, so I should probably asses my paints, canvas and wooden frames.  Scary.... 


All the best!  Thanks. -John

Chances are, John, you are not using any wood in the frames that would be an issue. ( If you are, I want to see your stock! )  I'm confused about how this will come to effect my collection of guitars. I don't plan to sell anything that might be an issue in the foreseeable future but I also don't have any documentation on that I own that would account for the wood.  The only instrument I have that might qualify now was inherited. 


I also wonder how this would effect "found" old wood used in a new instrument. I recently saw an antique table on craigslist that certain looked like Brazilian rosewood.  As a table it was in terrible shape but it certainly tempted me as a cache of B.R.  What happens if a new instrument is made from pre-ban material that is second or third hand?  There is no way to document the source of that material.

So Ned what if you get a wrighten sales receipt and photographic evidence it to justify your use of ERI or Brazilian Rose wood .. a few years ago I came acrossed an Ambounia Burl Table top that I rebuilt into 2 guitars I have kept a portion to show that it was a pre made table top before its conversion into the shred haul of Fame 1 because it still had its natural edge and 2 it is coming from another country into the united states .and 3 to add to the conversation piece .? you could try it with the Craigslist thingy Ive done good there from time to time

The following is part of a facebook post by Chuck Erikson - the Duke of Pearl (his shell business supplies inlay to CF Martin and used to supply PRS Guitars. He was fined around $4k under the Lacey Act. When I briefly spoke to him at the Guild of American Luthiers convention it was my impression that he wasn't given an opportunity to be voluntarily compliant with recently amended laws.)



 Tennessee representative Marsha Blackburn received a response to her enquiry about the Gibson raids, as she discusses in a post on her website:


In the Sep. 19, 2011 response letter ( from Christopher Mansour (DOI) and Ronald Weich (DOJ), she is reassured that:

"…people who unknowingly possess a musical instrument or other object containing wood that was illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of law and who, in the exercise of due care, would not have known that it was illegal, do not have criminal exposure. The Federal Government focuses its enforcement efforts on those who are removing protected species from the wild and making a profit by trafficking in them.”

Unfortunately, since it’s now become commonly known among musicians that many instruments probably do contain questionable woods, owners of these instruments would have a hard time defending themselves as “unknowing” about the wood violations and would thus be open to seizure and criminal prosecution at the whim of any agent who cares to go after them....



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