The above video features the President of Gibson USA speaking about the Federal Government’s raid of their factoriers a few months ago. Generally speaking, I think we do need regulations regarding exotic wood importation and the guitar world just doesn’t have a good answer for a sustainable model of same. He does say in the speech that the wood was FSC “recognized.” Now, I’m not sure if he meant to say FSC “Certified” or if the word “recognized” was a deliberatly vague euphemism. It’s hard to tell there, but worth noting.
Another interesting thing to note here is when he says that the Federal Government has come in and told them that sending out Guitars is obstruction of Justice? Seriously? The normal operation of a business that has been operating in one form or another for a 100 years is all of a sudden obstruction of justice? Really? That is a sad state of affairs. I’m not going to turn this into a tin foil hat wearing FEMA camp rant, but c’mon, that might be overstepping their bounds. These guitars have been made the same way for YEARS, and beiliev me they will figure out a way to continue. Guitar people want the sound of Rosewood, and like the durability and feel of ebony, it’s a fact.
And no matter what rules and regulations the government comes up with builders will find out how to make guitars, just like they used to. Witness the new Brazilian Rosewood guitars that are still being built? Builders have found a “legal” old stock of wood from furniture builders and other sources to build from. It ain’t cheap, but it’s there.
It certainly remains to be seen if there is a sustainable way to grow these woods and harvest them for use in instrument making and there is a lot more work that needs to be done in that regard. Guitar makers owe it to the world, to themselves, and the future generations to ensure the forests that supply these woods are healthy enough to sustain the needs of the instrument building world. Also, if you swing through any furniture store like IKEA or Pottery Barn you will see a MUCH larger selection of unidentifiable quasi legal exotic hard woods from the rain forest being used in furniture. I’ll let you guess which market uses more wood, furniture or guitar? Which one do you think has a more concerned and socially responsible outlook on the world? So why isn’t the government shutting down IKEAS and Pottery Barns, who knows…
Thanks to the legendary Willie for calling that video to my attention.