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CITES - What every bass player should know

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


  1. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    The good news is that if one is traveling with a guitar for personal use (meaning you aren’t shipping) there is a 10kg threshold before CITES applies (meaning the guitar must contain more than 10kg of a CITES-protected wood). But...

    The bad news is that the 10kg exemption does NOT apply to Brazilian rosewood. So, in practice, whether the 10kg exemption will apply to your bass on any particular day depends upon whether your particular customs inspector can tell the difference between Brazilian rosewood and the other rosewood species. No offense, but the truth is most bass players can’t tell the difference, so trusting that any given customs inspector will be able to do so is a pretty risky strategy.

    That’s why the safest bet is to get a CITES musical instrument passport, as described elsewhere in this thread.
     
  2. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    Key phrase here, and especially, the word supposed.
     
    12BitSlab, BlueTalon and donotfret like this.
  3. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Yeah.
    There's no guarantee that the"Barney Fife"of customs will not say "That's brown wood!!I better confiscate that!"
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    BlueTalon likes this.
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    While I don't "reccomend " it, I've been flying regularly this year to Canada and back as well as trips to Europe and Southeast Asia. Haven't had any problems checking a rosewood bass. No questions, no delays or concerns. I think CITES is more of an issue for importers and exporters.

    Has anyone had any issues flying with their instrument?
     
  5. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    The new dalbergia CITES restrictions are not focused on personal instruments. Only commercial shipments.
    Brazilian is another story. I would avoid traveling internationally with Brazilian.
     
    bassballs27 and Jim Carr like this.
  6. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    But, she's such a cutie. :smug:
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    CITES regulations were to restrict trade in endangered species. The key to the restrictions was when listed wood crossed international borders. But problems began surfacing when there was a focus on the "crossing of international borders" became the key rather than "trade". CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, not a convention on the international movement of endangered species. But what if the border official suspects that you are going to sell your instrument on the other side of the border? Is repair work considered "trade" when you send your Martin back for warranty service?

    Questions about travel with instruments were serious enough for the League of American Orchestras to express a great deal of concern and to actively lobby for changes. They have been in the forefront of dealing with these issues. Consequently, on April 6, 2018 the US Fish and Wildlife Service recognized exemptions which essentially enable musical instruments being shipped for performances to be exempt from permitting, as long as the quantity of non-Brazilian rosewood in each instrument weighs less than 10kg. That was as recent as April of this year. And though that should apply internationally, it may well vary depending on the country of entry/exit. Though the situation is improving, it is by no means free and clear.
     
  8. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    That eliminates just about everything short of a piano.
     
  9. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    That’s true, so long as your customs inspector doesn’t wrongly decide that your Indian rosewood fingerboard is actually Brazilian rosewood. International movement of Brazilian rosewood is still basically prohibited. The only way to be sure that doesn’t happen to you is to obtain a CITES instrument passport.
     
    FC Bass, BlueTalon and ajkula66 like this.
  10. ajkula66

    ajkula66

    Sep 23, 2016
    NEPA
    Indeed.

    And given the fact that it's up to the musician to prove that their instrument does not contain Brazilian rosewood in the given set of circumstances, I wouldn't take a chance of having a beloved piece confiscated at the border...

    My $0.02 only...
     
    12BitSlab, BlueTalon and s_wood like this.
  11. Northfear

    Northfear

    Mar 15, 2017
    Which customs can confiscate the instrument? Exporting, importing or either of them?
    I was sending a guitar from US to Europe (non EU) last year without even knowing about CITES regulations and luckily had no problems with it. So I was wondering if I just got lucky or it's not really a competence of export customs to check the material?
     
  12. jdthebassman

    jdthebassman

    Jul 11, 2010
    so I run the risk of travel overseas with my 66 pbass that has Brazilian rosewood, that is ridiculous. the wood was harvested 52 + years ago where is the harm. once again government sticking its nose where it should not be. these CITES fascists must be stopped.
     
    12BitSlab, BlueTalon and Jeff Scott like this.
  13. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    A gentle reminder: this thread has been locked before because of posts that violate the "no politics" Talkbass policy. This thread is intended to help all of us deal with the reality that is CITES. Complaining about CITES won't help us get our basses through customs, but this thread might.

    Peace.
     
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The bass I sent to The Netherlands last year apparently got flagged there because of the export documents that were in a pouch on the outside of the shipping container. It was my responsibility to have a USF&W agent inspect prior to export, not a Customs inspector. And in my case that meant a drive to Seattle, about 4 hours each way. There are a very limited number of qualified inspection stations in the US. The guy at the other end was able to get an import permit more or less overnight, in contrast to the 2 1/2 months we waited on my end for the two permits I needed. But one of those only took about a day as well, FWIW.
     
    Northfear and BlueTalon like this.
  15. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I actually don't have any problem with efforts to preserve species of wood (or any other plant or animal), even if those efforts seem a little extreme or cumbersome. I just with they would make the process of complying with the regulations more user friendly.
     
    Passinwind and Jeff Scott like this.
  16. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Really, what hardship is it to me if I can’t purchase a rosewood fingerboard? I’ve been brainwshed to believe that rosewood is the best fingerboard material. And now I’m going to fuss like a spoiled child because I can’t have it? Time I grew up and became a proper adult!
     
    Garret Graves likes this.
  17. toprekoms

    toprekoms

    Aug 22, 2010
    I don't care about C.I.T.E.S.. If the seller is willing to ship it, I'll buy it. This is retro governing.
     
  18. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I don't have any problem with selecting a different wood for a new neck or fingerboard. The main problem as I see it is newly restricted wood in already-built-and-owned instruments making international travel or sales problematic.
     
    Turnaround and gln1955 like this.
  19. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you care about it arriving, you should care about CITES.
     
    ajkula66 and s_wood like this.

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