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travelling with basses, problems with CITES laws question.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BiigM, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    Hi all.

    I didn't know where to put this so go ahead and move it if need be.

    I live in Denmark (Europe). I will be going to Sri Lanka for a gig In June, and we might get some gigs in Tokyo and singapore as well.

    I know that it might be a problem traveling with instruments since endangered wood is often part of them.

    One of my basses has Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard.

    Will I run into problems with this, and what can i do to make sure my instrument is not confiscated?

    Hope you can help
  2. Emm i don't think so. My teacher has toured all over the world with her ivory mounted cello bow and it hasn't be taken.

    I think (think...) that having endangered stuff is not bad it is actually illegal to get stuff like ivory now, because it is illegal to obtain not to use existing stuff.
  3. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    From surfing the web, it seems that there MIGHT be a problem. Maybe its different with cellos since they might assume that they are made before the rules was?

    Anyone else have clues on this?
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I have no information. I would suggest contacting the embassies of the countries you play to visit and your own government as well since you will have to re-enter your own country with the bass. The other option is to buy a bass for the tour that has no endangered wood on it.

  5. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I'm not sure about outside of the US, but here's what I've seen recently in the States:

    My dad sells high-end acoustic guitars and has had some VERY lengthy discussions about this with some of his lawyer, luthiers, and sales reps. Martin Guitars has advised all of their endorsees who play newer or vintage Brazilian Rosewood instruments not to even attempt to travel with them outside of the States. Martin alone has had hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of guitars held up by Customs when trying to ship to dealers in Canada.

    Michael @ Froggy Bottom guitars and Matt @ McPherson guitars will not ship anything out of the US if it contains any Brazilian.

    Dad will no longer ship anything w/ even the tiniest bit of Brazilian out of the country. The last one he sold foreign, the guy was from Brazil, flew to the States to purchase the guitar, and hand-carried it back home to try to avoid any Customs issues with shipping it.

    The latest developments with CITES say that a piece of wood such as Brazilian must be accompanied by papers documenting every step of its progress from harvest to finished product. I'd be willing to bet your instrument doesn't have that, as we're just now seeing production instruments hitting the market with such certification.
  6. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Customs agents are not wood experts- DO NOT volunteer info about endangered species!
    "do you have any explosives, flamables, endangered species?"
    "ok enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka NEXT!"

    This is how I travel through customs. Brevity.
  7. you mean you're not required to incriminate yourself?
  8. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    Well that goes without saying. But still....would be quite an economic setback to have my Alleva confiscated.
  9. FourtyOneHz


    Dec 16, 2012
    When travelling to a place like Sri Lanka it's always best to take a bass that you don't mind losing anyway. You never know when a customs agent, cop, whoever decides he likes your bass and chooses to confiscate it.
  10. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    I dont think that would happen since the artist I'm travelling is well known.
    That tends to help a bit sometimes.
  11. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I'd be more concerned if the instrument were made by Gibson; the feds seem to have wood for those guys.

    Pun intended.
  12. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Don't bet on it.
  13. cricman


    Feb 23, 2013
    West of Dallas
    Heck, now that the words CITES, Brazilian, endangered, and Customs have been typed into this thread, a red light just went off somewhere at Homeland Security and everyone in this thread will be put on a no-tonewood fly list and strip searched everytime we travel!

  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    You might want to get a copy of the cites paper from your builder just in case.
    Should be easily done.No?
  15. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    This may be slightly off topic, but it is not only woods that customs are checking up on.

    Not long ago, a violinist was travelling to play in Switzerland (if I remember correctly), and was stopped by customs for a random check.

    When they realised the value of the violin she was travelling with (6 digits I believe) they decided that she should pay import taxes!!!!!!

    I think that in the end she managed to get around it, but is was a veeeeery long discussion.
  16. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA

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