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CITES - What every bass player should know

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

  1. bassexplorer


    Sep 29, 2008
    Even luthiers have to declare their existing wood stocks, even if they ve had them for dozens of years. But I do not agree with your point of view that it is "only wood". Exotic woods exploitation is killing the rain forests and specific tree species. With everybody nowadays wanting a rosewood neck on them guitars, the dimension of the problem is global and huge. Anyway now, those endangered species are being replanted. But only at a huge price you can get aquality rosewood. I live in a place where old buildings like churches and palaces contain 400 old rosewood in their decoration and furniture. (Built 400 years ago, and wood of a tree that was hipothetically 300 years old when he was cut down, is 700 hundred years old now). The quality of that rosewood is incredibly good. You just cant see the wood grain because it is so tight. And that dark brown coloration is sheer beauty. You cant know what is is before you see and touch it. You cant find that wood quality anywhere now. Everyone wants a piece of it in his instrument It is normal to control that by blocking international sales. Dura lex sed lex (law is though, but it is the law). Most of those woods have non endangered substitutes anyway, growing in northern hemisphere countries, for instruments and other purposes (furniture, floors, windows). Let s use those wood, and stop wanting the exotic woods, which is but a fashion that devastates forests and natural sites that are not ours and just make some dictators and generals richer, like in Indonesia, Africa, and all the other developping countries all over the world. People must be told they just cant have everything they want (so unamerican), but the world is not a candy store! Cheers.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  2. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Please do not let this thread descend once again into a pointless argument about the wisdom of CITES. That has happened before and the mods closed the thread.

    I say “pointless argument” because the purpose of this thread is to help us understand how CITES works so that we can deal with it. CITES is a reality, for good or ill. Whether any of us thinks it’s a good idea or a bad one won’t help any of us get a bass through customs. That’s what this thread is for.

    Please remember that political discussions are prohibited on TB. That includes arguing about political issues. Please don’t mess this thread up for those of us who need it.

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  3. redstrand


    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Believe me I've been lusting after a bass in London but the rosewood board(s) have stopped me from getting one. Switched gears and having a build done with a maple board...this whole CITES thing is a pain.
  4. Papazita


    Jun 27, 2008
    CITES Appendix II vaguely lists "ebonies," as well as 3 different species of mahogany.
    Burwabit likes this.
  5. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    Interesting. eBay must have keyed on these.

    Isn't Fender using Ebony boards now to avoid CITES issues? Or is it for other reasons?
  6. Papazita


    Jun 27, 2008
    Farther down the list it gets more specific on ebony. Looks like it's ebonies originating in Madagascar. But if someone (or entity, like eBay) just glanced at the general appendices of regulated woods, they're just going to see "ebony."
  7. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Therein lies the rub.
  8. Giffro


    Apr 29, 2017
    South Australia
    Bob Taylor's view on The State Of Ebony..an interesting 13.5 minute video.
    GMC, Papazita, CTBassGuy and 5 others like this.
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    This may have been covered elsewhere in this topic. I'm not going to read through all 30 pages to find out. But I thought this info should be shared.

    I spent a good deal of time this week with an importer of exotic wood. I hadn't visited for a few years and was out of a number of exotic woods I like to keep on hand. I wasn't expecting to replace my exhausted supply of a number of the woods because of CITES restrictions. So I was astounded to find a good supply of woods like Indian Rosewood, Cocobolo and many other CITES-listed species. I asked about that - how did they manage to maintain a supply of these woods?

    It turns out that you can still legally import many of these listed woods. You just have to get a permit for each shipment - at a cost of course. The application must specify the details of the shipment and the source supplier of all the wood. And of course, the source supplier must have the permits to harvest the wood in the first place, and in many cases a permit to export the wood. It's not easy to get the export permit, but assuming everything lines up just right and you pay the price, you get the permit and the shipment is on its way. But as the importer, you may well need a permit from the country into which you are importing the wood. That's usually not too terribly difficult if the export permit is in order.

    The process is not without its difficulties. The supplier I was talking to had a shipment of Rosewood held in India for almost a year, even though the permits were in order. There was no real explanation given, but after a year the shipment was finally released.

    This was all very interesting to me because I may want to export some of the articles I make from the exotic wood. In order to do that I will need to get a certificate from the place I bought the wood, and I will need to apply for export permits for my products. And of course pay for all the fees. My supplier is willing to provide me with the certificate from his end, but as you can imagine, it's big PITA. And he advised me that I will probably find it quite a hassle to get my permits.

    I am having second thoughts about attempting any international exports of my products.
    BlueTalon, ELynx, gebass6 and 4 others like this.
  10. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    What has this done to the prices he must charge for these woods? Of course, all of these permit charges are passed along, but I'm wondering if the increase itself is enough to make most users look for something else.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Certainly prices were up significantly from the last time I purchased there a couple of years ago.
  12. Bobro


    Feb 22, 2018
    China has a certification system, a credit-card looking thing, for avoiding such problems. For example, the Erhu I bought in Nantong came with a certificate that the snakeskin soundboard comes from farmed animals and not the wild, so I could get back into Europe without having the thing confiscated. It is absurd that NAMM does not lobby for such a system about instrument woods.
    BlueTalon likes this.
  13. Papazita


    Jun 27, 2008
    The Snagg chip! Idk if Carvin/Kiesel still uses those. Works just like the microchip you can implant in your pets. Microchip your instruments, programmed with all relevant info regarding woods used, import/export info etc. Customs official does a quick scan of the chip and shipment & maybe a quick visual inspection, and it's all done. No fuss no muss.
    BlueTalon and Bobro like this.
  14. aoresteen


    Nov 26, 2008
    Newnan, GA
    Hummm. I guess my '59 Gretsch stays at home but my 1999 Squire Stagemaster is fine.

    How does a customs agent (US or other country) determine what wood is in a painted instrument? If he likes my white Epiphone guitar can he can say it contains a CITES wood and take it?
  15. redstrand


    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    I have pics of before the paint and after being sent with the custom forms for a bass being sent from the UK, ditched the rosewood board and did the all maple neck. We should be covered. The bass is being sent in parts so the neck heel shows the alder too.
  16. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I just took a bass to Ukraine, and this thread informed my choice of which bass to take -- an alder Precision body and an all-maple Jazz neck. I took it apart so I could take it in my suitcase rather than taking it in a full-size bass case. Nobody ever looked in my suitcase or asked me about the bass, but I'm confident I could have gotten past a CITES inspection, assuming the CITES inspector was actually familiar with woods.
    Benny Rietveld likes this.
  17. Ulf_Hansson


    Apr 15, 2014
    Great and informative thread; I learned a lot and am actually surprised I have never had any problems at all traveling with my instruments.
    Rudyboy98 likes this.
  18. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    It seems, based on what I read the stories I’ve heard, CITES enforcement and trouble is sporadic. Most of the time it’s not an issue, but there is no way to predict when it will be - and when it is, there is a real chance that your bass will be seized at customs. Better safe than sorry...
    BlueTalon likes this.
  19. Rudyboy98


    Jan 25, 2008
    South Bay, CA
    That's one of many perspectives.

    The burden should be on the lumberyard that imports such woods with respect to the provenance. Not the end user/consumer of a given product. So "X" manufacturer should not even be remotely responsible for the woods.

    It would be similar to saying a given car manufacturer (as an example) provides "x material" in their cars, and you stop a car owner at the border to say "We're confiscating your car because it has "x material" that is disallowed per "y law". How is the consumer responsible?
    12BitSlab and BlueTalon like this.
  20. donotfret


    Jun 11, 2018
    Isn't there a threshold below which nothing will happen? I think I've read something like 10kg or so. Which would mean if you carry less than 10kg of rosewood (or other wood on the list), like most of us do, nothing is supposed to happen.

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