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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)
    CITES is enforced at border crossing points by those countries that are signatories to the treaty. Chile is one of them. Unfortunately, how each country enforces the treaty, and the practical consequences of enforcement, is up to each member country. So, what might be a reasonable guess for what will or won’t be a problem in the US (where I am a citizen) might not be true in Chile.

    That said, here is a good source if information:
    League of American Orchestras

    You will see that non commercial (“personal”) travel with a bass containing less than 10kg of rosewood (not including Brazilian rosewood) is ok. In the US, bringing a bass into the country that was purchased out of the country is NOT non commercial travel and the exemption does not apply. I don’t know how Chile interprets or enforces that rule.

    The other potential problem relates to the nearly-total ban on international travel with Brazilian rosewood, because that means that if a customs inspector decides that your bass has a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard you could be in big trouble. Many bass players can’t tell the difference between Brazilian rosewood and some of the other species, and I’ll bet most customs inspectors can’t, either. At the very least, I would suggest traveling with documentation in the case that shows that the fingerboard is NOT Brazilian rosewood (a sales receipt or catalog).
    ajkula66, Jim Carr and 12BitSlab like this.
  2. roogbass

    roogbass Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Eich endorser.
    I’m in Ukraine now, with a customshop strat with rosewood, i had to throw away my toolkit at the customs, they didn’t even look at my guitar.
    Hope i am that lucky Tomorrow in Russia.
    BlueTalon likes this.
  3. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    Has anyone sent a bass with a rosewood board from Canada to the US? There is a bass I want, but with CITES paperwork apparently taking weeks, I would not have it in time for some sessions I have coming up. Are they opening and checking every single package that crosses the border or what’s the deal?
  4. lespaulbass


    Jul 27, 2018
    This is an issue.
    remember the old ampegs - clear acrylic body - metal neck, OR the all metal guitars / basses
    May need to start renting instruments in that country if playing across the borders.
    Will metals be next? Tube ingredients / components?
    Will it be interstate one day?
    Wood in guitar cases? Picks? Metal strings? Ukeleles? Copper? Bones?

    This may sound ridiculous, however...........................................................?
  5. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Sorry: those old acrylic Ampeg basses had rosewood fingerboards :). And basses with maple, ebony or pau ferro fingerboards are still ok.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  6. Jeff Scott

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

    Apr 11, 2006
    ...for now..................
    BlueTalon and ajkula66 like this.
  7. Red Planet

    Red Planet

    May 29, 2005
    Yeah that's the way this stuff starts out. There are restrictions on Lead in manufacturing and it started out restricting Lead and now I have lost count there are hundreds and hundreds of restricted substances and these days it's all become a money-making racket has nothing to do with restricted substances has to do with making more money. There are whole Industries spring that are non revenue-producing don't produce anything don't make nothing and subsist off of those that do.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
    BlueTalon, ajkula66 and Scribbler like this.
  8. Scribbler


    Mar 22, 2018
    So true: a friend of mine used to be an electrician but now makes more as a Health and Safety consultant/speaker... As in not actually producing something.
    BlueTalon and Red Planet like this.
  9. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Friends: this thread has been closed before when it has descended into political criticisms of CITES and government regulation. There is a time and a place for those things, but this thread isn’t it.

    The whole point of this thread is to help us deal with the reality of CITES. Let’s focus on that.

    GregC, Fxpmusic, Passinwind and 6 others like this.
  10. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    BlueTalon and delta7fred like this.
  11. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    The League of American Orchestras is really leading the way in an attempt to make CITES more musician-friendly. Think we have it tough? Basically all of the woodwinds that are made of wood (clarinets, oboes and bassoons) are made of a type of rosewood called grenadilla. It's now a CITES Schedule II wood, meaning international sales are very difficult and will soon be nearly impossible without change to the treaty. And most of those woodwinds are made in France or Germany... Look here for more:

    BTW the American League of Orchestra's web site is a great "how to travel with a musical instrument" resource: League of American Orchestras
    BlueTalon, CTBassGuy and 12BitSlab like this.
  12. JZQuantum

    JZQuantum Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2008
    Because I am too lazy to read all 33 pages of this important information, is there a page that shows which countries are not on the restricted list?
  13. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    !83 countries have signed CITES and are thus covered by its provisions. Basically, nearly every country has signed it except the Republic of North Korea, Haiti, Turkmenistan and couple of smaller Pacific island nations.
    BlueTalon likes this.
  14. JZQuantum

    JZQuantum Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2008
    Ah, thank you. I literally just lost a sale ten minutes ago because of it.:mad:
  15. _godspeed_

    _godspeed_ Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    Vancouver, Canada
    Recently crossed the border from Canada to US to sell a bass. Actually sold it it here, but decided to ship via USPS as it was significantly cheaper. I called border services in advance and explained the situation. They said they would need just the receipt of the payment and that’s it. No need for certification. Drove to the border, told them I’m selling bass that is made in Japan. Payed $6 fee and that’s it. No opening the case, no examination of wood. It might be case-by-case scenario, but it looks like they don’t even bother with private sellers. Results may vary, I’m just sharing my experience.
    GregC, gebass6, Garret Graves and 3 others like this.
  16. gebass6

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

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    It just goes to show the extreme double mindedness in all this.
    Extremely stringent one moment.
    Non existent the next.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  17. Gregg64


    Jan 31, 2013
    The entire subject is absurd. If the intent was to protect a species, any species then there should have been a concrete date which states that any instrument produced after such and such date may not contain the following.
    Period. To expect anyone or any manufacturer to be able to certify that an instrument has or has not a certain species of wood is ridiculous unless you know for sure when it was made and what was used.
    This would be impossible for about 99% of the instruments in circulation today.
  18. operagost


    Dec 13, 2017
    I wouldn't take any instrument that contains a wood that looks anything like Brazilian rosewood or any of the dozens of other banned woods out of the country until they reform this treaty. It's too easy for border thugs to steal your instrument and leave you no recourse. There is simply nothing to protect the traveler. When I've heard of people having instruments confiscated, whether valid or no, they were "destroyed" before anything could be done about it.
  19. VSN_Guitars

    VSN_Guitars Commercial User

    Dec 28, 2014
    Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
    Owner/Operator of VSN Guitars. www.vsnguitars.com

    Posts like this are spreading misinformation for no reason, other than not being properly informed but still feel they have a need to comment.
    Nobody will confiscate your instrument when you are crossing the border personally, no matter if they contain rosewood or not. Unless it contains more than 10 kg (22 lb) of that particular wood species. I don't know any bass that contains that much. No reason for any concern unless you're traveling with a piano made of rosewood.
    Jim Carr, GregC, gebass6 and 2 others like this.
  20. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    Where's Danger Mouse when you need him. "Have rosewood piano. Will travel." :woot: I like this part especially. And, even more pointedly, the Bacchus bit :smug: Cheers!
    @VSN_Guitars — We know where you're coming from :)

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