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CITES - What every bass player should know

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

  1. Hammock


    May 9, 2017
  2. MustangWally


    Feb 5, 2019
    Houston TX
    Couple links that might get you started:
    CITES Wiki Identification Manual | CITES

    My current understanding (other posters: please correct me if I am wrong) is that if CoP18, Prop 52 is passed at the current CITES conference (which ends at the end of this month) that will mean that personal musical instruments that contain less than 10Kg of a protected species of wood will be exempt from CITES action. I think that applies to Appendix II and III woods though and I suspect that ebony might be an Appendix 1 wood - the whole documentation is convoluted and messy as only a bureaucratic paper can be.

    Get the CITES Manual (first link) and see if you can make sense of it.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  3. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Does anyone know when CoP18 Prop52 will be decided? Many of the other proposals are already decided, some accepted, some rejeced. But Prop52 is put forward by Canada and the EU so hopefully carries more weight than a proposal made by a single country.

    I'm in Europe outside the EU so the decision will have a MASSIVE influence on my access to rosewood instruments and instrument parts. Much more so than for anyone living in the US or the EU.

    I have to say I question the viability of a restriction that hardly affect the customers in the largest markets (US, EU) but more or less prevents import into smaller countries because of the insane amounts of paperwork required for smaller dealers. I mean, the resctriction for travelling with your own instrument "in an orchestra or ensemble" has already been lifted so it's really just about BUYING rosewood instruments+parts at this point. Rosewood instruments are widely available at every online dealer in both the EU and the US so what's the point of a ban that only seem to affect smaller countries? I completely understand that the restriction is about crossing international borders but rosewood isn't grown in the US/EU and many, if not most, of the instruments in question are manufactured in the Far East.

    I'm 100% for protecting endangered species but in this case it's clearly not working as intended. I could go to Thomann (if I'd been in the EU) or Sweetwater (if I'd been in the US) and order tons of rosewood instruments right now. Can I do the same in my country? Nope, with cheaper models I get the "CITES friendly" versions with thermally/chemically treated pine (or blackwood as they like to call it...). On the more expensive models it's mostly maple fingerboards available. Smaller dealers in smaller countries avoid the hassle of importing rosewood.

    By all means keep the current restrictions on rosewood for manufacturers, or ban it alltogether if that's the best solution, but as long as the manufacturers are actually allowed to buy the wood and build guitars I personally think the restrictions for musical instrument at customer level should be completely removed.

    An example to explain what I'm struggling with: I've been trying to find a reasonably priced, decent quality rosewood replacement P-bass neck for a while now but it's more or less impossible in my part of the world (Europe outside EU). My best option at the moment is to get one built by a local luthier but the price seems excessive for something that really is a mass manufactured and highly standarized part. The only other option I've got is to order an original Fender neck at an outrageous price (close to the equivalent of $700 for an AmPro neck) through a local authorized Fender dealer. The delivery time will be at least 1-2 months because of the CITES permits needed.

    If Prop52 is accepted I can get a good quality replacement neck from Warmoth for a very reasonable price, like anyone in the US can do right now. I know Warmoth say they will ship rosewood internationally but I will also need an IMPORT license at my end, which means applying to my country's environmental agency. The application requires the full traceable history of the wood, all the way back to the country of origin plus a photo of the item. Do I have that info? No. Can Warmoth provide it? They should. WILL they provide it? Possibly but surely not until I've at least placed the order. And the processing time for the import permit is considerably longer than the shipping time so the neck would arrive without the permit and most likely be confiscated by customs. A classic case of a bureaucratic Catch 22: No specific item with traceable history+photo = no permit. No permit = not possible to order the item as it will be confiscated. This makes it practically impossible for me to import anything containing rosewood. The only theoretical possibility would be to ask Warmoth to delay shipping for the necessary weeks/months to get the import permit... It's completely absurd.

    Fingers crossed for Prop52!!! I just love the feel, smell and (dare I say...) TONE of rosewood!
  4. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I've got my fingers crossed. Canada is a small market to be limited to for buying and selling.
  5. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    Ship it to nearest place to you, than travel there, pick it up and drive or bus back. You need to learn from previous experiences how people in East Europe survived communism.
  6. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    this conference does not wrap up until 28 August 2019....

    But you can keep checking - ongoing discussion summaries are posted HERE !!
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  7. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    That could be an option but the nearest place that doesn't involve going through customs at airports or sea ports means approx. 12 hours by car. It also means I will be smuggling an endangered species which presents certain moral issues. And even by car there's a small (admittedly VERY small) chance or getting caught at the border. A conviction for smuggling an endangered species would be devastating for me. Stuff like never being able to get a job that requires a clean criminal record or never getting a visa to the US again. Not worth it. I think I'd rather take a maple neck then... maybe, lol.
  8. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    If you don't mind me asking, where are you located?
    Tvrtko likes this.
  9. 6Bass101


    Apr 2, 2016
    Fort Mill, SC
    Jim Carr, thabassmon, OllyW and 6 others like this.
  10. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    Shoot.....I'd call it GREAT news for musicians!!!
    cdef and 6Bass101 like this.
  11. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
  12. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    The NPR story is a bit misleading because the proposed change will NOT permit the international sale of instruments with Brazilian rosewood (as used in many vintage basses and some modern boutique ones). International sales of anything containing Brazilian rosewood will still be banned.

    A few pages up in this thread is a description of the proposed amendment (CoP Prop 52) and a link to it as well.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    Jim Carr, ajkula66 and yodedude2 like this.
  13. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    Bunch of Brazilian rosewood just got into ash. Good luck preserving it... Let Brazil decide what they want to do with it.
  14. MustangWally


    Feb 5, 2019
    Houston TX
    Sadly you are quite correct but I am sure that CITES will remain a huge gravy train for the army of bureaucrats involved therein. It's like the climate - a single volcano eruption more than negates anything that humankind can manage. :eek: And of course the gravy train applies there too.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    BlueTalon, scuzzy and Jeff Scott like this.
  15. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I wouldn't get too happy about any of this.

    One still may very well find themselves proving that the rosewood board on their instrument is NOT Brazilian to a customs agent...my hope was that they would "grandfather" instruments built prior to a certain - preferably fairly recent such as 2000 - date...
    gln1955 likes this.
  16. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    I've read this whole thread and am still confused about the status of ebony. I had a seller sending me a bass with ebony on it specify the presence of ebony so nobody opens the box looking for rosewood. Starting to think this was a mistake.
  17. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Ebony is not covered by CITES in any meaningful way that would or should affect the shipment or sale of a bass across borders.

    Although this is a bit of an overstatement, the woods covered by CITES that are commonly used in basses are the various rosewood species (the entire genus dalbergia, which includes cocobolo) and bubinga. Brazilian rosewood (dalbergia nigra) is the “nuclear” wood for CITES purposes. That’s because it basically can’t be sold internationally at all, while the other rosewoods can be with the right permits. Also, And as explained above in this thread, the current proposal which would exempt finished musical instruments and musical instrument parts from the CITES restrictions on Rosewood will NOT change things with Brazilian rosewood – international sales will still be prohibited.
    Garret Graves likes this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Yes, the idiocy continues. Stopping a 50 year old guitar made with Brazilan rosewood from crossing a border will do diddly squat to protect trees currently growing. I guess it's eaier than addressing the real problem of illegal harvesting and poor management of the rain forests.
    Tvrtko, Jeff Scott and ajkula66 like this.
  19. s_wood

    s_wood Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    Delaware (USA)
    Friends, a gentle reminder: there is a fine line between complaining about CITES itself and the inevitable political argument rathole we will soon fall into. This thread has been closed by the mods a couple of times before for violations of the Talkbass rules against political discussions and nastiness (alas, those things seem to go hand in hand these days).

    CITES is here to stay, whether we like it or not. This thread is intended to help us all deal with it. Advocating for political change is vitally important, for sure, but it has an time and place - and this thread isn’t it. Plus, it won’t help anybody get a bass through customs.

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019

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