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CITES - What every bass player should know

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Turnaround, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Chalotrejo


    Feb 28, 2013
    What's wrong with maple? (kidding). I live in a tropical country, and laws protecting rare woods are getting harder day by day here. There is a reason, and it's a good thing that customs all over the world are making an effort. These trees are living habitats for monkeys, sloths, insects, birds, small mammals which are food for larger predators. They provide soil humidity, dead leaves to rot there and make food for mushrooms, which are food for other animals etc. For short, a lot of problems arise when forests are cut down, these ecosystems rely on a variety of species of trees living close to each other, including rare hardwoods, fruit trees, etc. But... There are "tree farms" which produce a variety of woods for industry, we just have to choose builders that use hardwoods that come from sustainable sources.
    wmmj, FingerDub, savofenno and 3 others like this.
  2. Never marry a woman who doesn't share you bass buying passion ha ha ha. I have 12 and working on #13 so yeah mine is a keeper :bassist:
    savofenno likes this.
  3. Chalotrejo


    Feb 28, 2013
    That's true to some extent, not always because of the laws, but corruption. Bribery makes blind eyes in some countries like mine.
    savofenno, wcriley and Jeff Scott like this.
  4. Wavy


    Mar 23, 2016
    That is the definition of government agents.
    StayLow likes this.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    After 12 wives, I hope you finally got it right.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    No way they're taking a wood sample from my instrument! Thanks for sharing this though. Luckily, I only have alder, ash, maple, rosewood, cedar, and spruce :)
  7. I'm glad that something is being done -- with due respect to those reading, forests are infinitely more important than new basses. And I think that if people really had the opportunity to see how much damage is being done, they'd agree.

    So, we get down to 'how?'

    The idea of someone having their bass seized and chopped up is, IMO, fear-mongering. Are there instances of this happening as a regular practice? I know of none, and used to be very familiar with "tourist visa tours."

    There will always be corruption in law enforcement. The problem there is corruption - not the law, nor the idea behind it. We do not try to stamp out corruption by eliminating good laws. Otherwise, we are simply saying that laws exist for our personal convenience.

    When I think about the number of Starcasters / Bullets / entry level instruments occupying landfills, it's jarring.

    The planet is indeed in need of rescuing, right now, and every little bit matters.
    ewe2, kodiakblair, savofenno and 2 others like this.
  8. "jarring"???
    Do you have a figure in tonnes?

    Do you know how much timber went up in smoke in Tennessee this past week?
    To me, THAT is jarring!
    savofenno likes this.
  9. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    To me this is an example of ineffective government regulation. How incredibly expensive it is to test wood for species, to tell if it is cocobolo or some other wood that looks like it. I can see doing it for manufacturers of products, but for an average Joe crossing the border to earn a living??
  10. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Danhedonia likes this.
  11. savofenno


    Jun 12, 2010
    Haninge, Sweden

    My instruments has those woods, plus pine, giant redwood, sen, japanese alder, agathis, basswood and ebony.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  12. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Just gonna quote the moderator's post on the previous page for emphasis. As it makes obvious, this thread is not supposed to be a place to debate gubmint regulation.
  13. One of the silliest things one can do is raise a false dichotomy. Such as an implicit suggestion that you can only worry about wildfires or deforestation - but not both.

    In fact, demand for boutique wood leads directly to deforestation. Stop convincing yourself to not care.
    ewe2 and Jim Carr like this.
  14. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Black ebony is NOT illegal. What may be illegal, however, is the sourcing. IF it was from Madagascar, and IF it was not harvested legally (which is another whole definition issue in a country with warlords cutting down forests...), then there could be problems like Gibson ran into a couple of years ago. Ebony is not listed on CITES II, and so it's not a problem for CITES reasons.
    davidprice and Jeff Scott like this.
  15. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Also, I've seen a ratio of about 19 to 1 of posts where the person posting has any real idea of what's going on with these new rosewood regulations. Here is where you should start: Podcast 127: CITES Rosewood Updates with John Thomas | Fretboard Journal followed by this: Have Guitar Passport, Will Travel | Fretboard Journal

    Your opinions of what the regulations are or should be are totally irrelevant. This is a done deal, and as such it will not be easily overturned or modified. You either get with the program in the real world...and, yes, I agree it's ugly...or you risk having one or more instruments confiscated. These regulations will be horribly unevenly enforced. There will be little or no logic. Fighting will go against you; these are entitled bureaucrats you'll be dealing with. They're getting paid to hassle you; you're losing time (which equals money) trying to argue with them. They'll hang onto your instrument and tell you to appeal any decisions. This is Napoleonic law. You are guilty until proven innocent. Pay no attention to most of what you read from musicians here and elsewhere on the Internet. Learn what the regulations really are; don't put your own spin on them. The two articles/video I linked to above are from the guy who is the expert on this stuff, John Thomas. He's a vintage guitar nut, a damned good player, a writer, and he's a lawyer. Follow what he says. Also know that this is all just now shaking out.
  16. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    it seems from some reading that only newer instruments are effected by this. my 69 is pre-CITES rosewood regulations so I think I might be ok. Although, I might need to get that certification if I do travel abroad.
  17. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Roger Sadowsky recently wrote a great blog post about the new rules on rosewood and alternative woods that can be used.

    Roger's post
  18. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Try and tell that to the agent who just confiscated your instrument. They don't know about all the various specific species of rosewooods, nor would they care to make any distinction. Unfortunately, for those who travel.
  19. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Jim Carr and Midak like this.
  20. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    The problem with the regulation isn't the regulation itself, it's compliance and enforcement. I don't have a problem with regulations, I have a problem with onerous burdens imposed by regulations. For musicians, this could easily be handled by having a standardized form, accepted by all relevant government agencies, that declare what woods (+ sourcing) are used in an instrument. Such a form would accompany every new instrument sold (even if the wood is ubiquitous as maple or alder) and would serve as the instrument's passport. Once manufacturers get in the habit of providing that information with instruments on a form that is universally accepted by government agencies, compliance with regulations will be a non-issue for musicians crossing borders.