More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"You may need to travel with that old Thrift Shop Sears silvertone guitar you picked up in a boot sale!"

Non sequitur. Gibson had a shipment of Indian ebony that was supposed to be finished parts - this is to comply with Indian export laws. It turns out it was sawn logs - unfinished timber. This has absolutely nothing to do with travelling with a Gibson guitar but a lot to do with Gibson flouting export regulations. BTW, Indian ebony is not yet protected under CITES classification. It is, however, recognised as an endagered species and it is on the IUCN red list. India has export regulations for a reason - should Gibson be allowed to ignore these regulations?. Nevertheless, this has no bearing at all on taking a guitar through customs. Your guitar could be made completely out of the timber (it would probably sound pretty naff though) and it would not prevent you from travelling with it.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

From GuitarMuse.com:
http://www.guitar-muse.com/gibson-wood-update-feds-wont-go-after-guitar-owners-3171

** If you happen to have purchased a Gibson guitar then you don’t have to worry about prosecution.

Without getting too political jargoney it’s been made clear in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich and the director of legislative affairs at the Interior Department Christopher J. Mansour that anyone in possession of an instrument made of illegal wood is safe, so no stops at airports, no confiscations, nothing.

As they had assessed the situation with the notion of practicality they concluded that people wouldn’t have known one way or another when purchasing, so they should be let off the hook.

The overall opinion of that decision has been favorable, and not just by Gibson owners, but even a number of politicians that even think that Gibson should be excused for not being any more informed than the customers.

In the meantime the Lacey Act is under review with the consideration of updating it so that Gibson and any other company that has similar wood importing methods won’t get caught between such a rock and a hard place. Of course political decisions can’t go over that easy. Some people, like Jameson French, think that the Lacey Act is working just fine as it is, so what the end will yield, who knows? **

I wonder if when they say "Guitar" does that cover mandolins or banjos?

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

@weejie " It turns out it was sawn logs - unfinished timber"

Read it again… It was fingerboard blanks.. not timber… timber is a tree with the limbs sawed off. It’s about making sure that jobs stay in India rather than in America…

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"Read it again"

I have:

"As has been the case in previous allegations, at issue is the classification of certain wood imported to the United States from India. Namely, a June shipment of 1,250 SAWN LOGS was classified as "finished parts of musical instruments," which is allowed under Indian law. In reality, according to the sworn affidavit of Fish and Wildlife Service agent Kevin Seiler, the wood was unfinished – a violation of the Lacey Act."

Capitalisation by me.

"timber is a tree with the limbs sawed off"

Wrong.

OED (just one definition):

[a. spec. Wood used for the building of houses, ships, etc., or for the use of the carpenter, joiner, or other artisan; wood in general as a material; esp. after it has been suitably trimmed and squared into logs, or further adapted to constructive uses.]

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

The story cited above states "Gibson is aware that its order for fingerboard blanks was an order for contraband" It is a far stretch to call tiny little thin strips of wood "Timber" LOL! Timber is what you yell when you cut down a tree.. not when you sand the edges off a fret board and install fret wire..
jeez! Lumber is for building house by the way.. They call it a Lumber company, not a TIMBER company….

And…

"Wrong."
Here is the definition used in Tennesee where this is ocurring..

tim·ber n.
a. Trees or wooded land considered as a source of wood.
b. Wood used as a building material; lumber.

Now does that sound like fretboard blanks to you? And why are you so concerned about keeping jobs in India?

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"The story cited above states "Gibson is aware that its order for fingerboard blanks was an order for contraband"

It also states that they actually received sawn logs - timber. Not the finished article. Even rough sawn fingerboard blanks would be classed as timber. They need a bit more than the edges sanding down and the frets fitted - I happen to have some knowledge of the process.

"Lumber is for building house by the way.. "

Oh, really? I didn’t say lumber. I said timber.

"Here is the definition used in Tennesee where this is ocurring.."

I’m not in Tennesee - why should I alter my vocabulary?
Moreover, your little cut and paste from the "free dictionary" was somewhat abridged. Let’s see it in full:

[tim·ber (tmbr)
n.
1.
a. Trees or wooded land considered as a source of wood.
b. Wood used as a building material; lumber.
2.
a. A dressed piece of wood, especially a beam in a structure.
b. Nautical A rib in a ship’s frame.]
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/timber

Not that this is more precise than the OED, but "a dressed piece of wood" is quite distinct from a tree with the limbs removed.

" Have you ever used the term "Tea Bagger" by chance?… "

No.

"Now I am because I dared to voice a non liberal opinion…. "

Yet you are miffed because the Indian government made concessions to boost employment in that country? That’s not very "liberal" of them is it?
However, it’s their prerogative. You may not have noticed, but America has not got licence (note that is not a Tennesee spelling of the word) to flout the export regulations of another country. Gibson will have a right to state their case. If they have deliberately tried to circumvent Indian export regulations, they’ve only themselves to blame.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

I don’t use ebony. However, I DO use cocobolo.
Well .. I did once.
I cannot use cocobolo any more because, according to the wood merchants, the guitar makers have bought it all up as a replacement for ebony which is aproaching extinction just as west indies cocus did.

I can find little sympathy for the guitar makers.

It is my own painful observation in the music instrument retail industry over 40 years, that most guitars are bought as a fashion accessory, and that a great majority of them end up packed away in attics along with last years fashion item.

The apparent easy availability of the things also gives rise to speculative purchase "just in case little Johny gets interested in music". and ends up as a cricket bat.

The issue may have a leading edge of political favor, however, we will see a lot more of this before too long. The supply of good tonewoods is totally outstripped by the demand.

Typically, a decent tonewood takes the lifetime of a human to grow - and the exponential bio-mass of living human flesh vastly out-weights the productive capacity of tonewood species.

The laws of supply and demand will ensure that such wood becomes priced acording to the rarity and have all sorts of restrictions accumulate.

Sadly none of this will work - Gibson would do better to look at composite plastic materials manufactured from reclaimed sea polution. This source is not in decline.

On the upside - most people only acheive the skill to play air guitar. Perhaps they should be fined for using imported air. But it may be instructive to them to smell what the air is like in some of these primary source countries.

Wood, in general, is fast becoming a luxury item. A friend of mine was asked to make a flute from a human femur that the customer happened to have .. he refused the commission. But there will come a day when human femurs are the only thing abundant enough to contemplate as a source of natural material. There are examples from the past.

Trees do not grow on money.

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Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"@weejie — When you see a fretboard blank laying on a lutier’s bench so you say.. "Hey dude.. Where’d you get the timber?" I have built guitars myself… A fretboard blank is not timber… A fretboard blank can blow off the bench if the window is left open! "

A fingerboard blank is sawn timber. It needs to be planed to fit the planed neck. It would be some wind for it to "blow off the bench" with a window open. I have seen most fingerboard blanks in my own workshop, having been a luthier for more than 30 years.

"You got me now!!! It also says a beam in a structure or the rib of a ship….. That sounds like one hell of a fretboard!"

It would be - only that definition also says "a dressed piece of wood" it then says "esp" (that means "especially") "a beam in a structure" - it doesn’t say "specifically".

I’ll refer to a well known supplier of exotic hardwoods:

"Craft Supplies stock a large range of TIMBERS and machined components for stringed & woodwind instruments.. from rare exotics to standard materials. All of our TIMBER is carefully selected and graded for musical instrument makers.

We carry good stocks of:- Quilted maple, flamed maple, bird’s eye maple, asian ebony, various rosewood, spruce, cedar & machined components - necks & bodies. For those who make exotic custom instruments, we often stock rare exotic TIMBERS from around the world, of which only a small amount is suitable for musical instruments."

http://www.craft-supplies.co.uk/craft-supplies-woods.html

As you can see, the word "timber" is applied to pieces of wood intended for making musical instruments.

"Why are they not going after the other manufactures who do the same thing? They are in union states. That is my point."

I see. It’s all a plot. I can’t really believe this is a "union state" issue. However, I may be wrong, but wasn’t Arizona the 48th state to be admitted to the union? Doesn’t one of the major stringed instrument manufacturers have its headquarters in Scottsdale? Or am I missing something here?

I must say that Juszkiewicz is doing Gibson no favours.

Perhaps you should read this, Layne:

http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0902-eia_statement_gibson.html

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

too right Mozie, I use Ebony and cocobolo, boxwood and blackwood and it can be tricky to source and expensive! but the alternatives? plastics…. Purple heart?! . Ok
Holly, Pear , Apple.,Plum, pear. are all good.
Its a a crime that for every tree cut one is not replaced. Plant trees!.

As regarding Gibson importing timbre as a finished product, well they just got caught, in this world thats the only crime.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

Mozie, I agree. I think there are a lot of options for building good instrument that should be investigated. I particularly like the idea of using that island continent of plastic trash in the ocean… Seems to last forever out there…should on a geetar too.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

Weejie, I read the article. If Gibson (and not Martin, Fender, Taylor) is importing illegal wood I would be in favor of nailing their hides to the barn door…. But I see it as singling them out for political retribution.. Did you read the article I posted? It seems to me that if the fretboards had been completed in India prior to shipment they would have been "legal." This does not look like an environmenta issue to me.

Back to beating the dead horse. Just because the guy on the wood website you cited uses the term does not make it the accepted usage of the term. I’ll stick to the dictionary. When I buy a fretboard blank it is only slightly larger than a finished fretboard and looks like this:

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=guitar+fretboard+blank

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"Just because the guy on the wood website you cited uses the term does not make it the accepted usage of the term. I’ll stick to the dictionary"

I was sticking to the dictionary. Remember the OED definition?

[Wood used for the building of houses, ships, etc., or for the use of the carpenter, joiner, OR OTHER ARTISAN; WOOD IN GENERAL USE AS A MATERIAL; esp. after it has been suitably trimmed and squared into logs, or further adapted to constructive uses.]
I happen to use the recognised authority on the English language, rather than a free online dictionary. As I pointed out before, the definition in Tennessee is irrelevant.

Hey, if nothing else, I’ve just found that Jackson guitars are made in Fort Worth, Texas. There is an even bigger deficit of union members there. Looks like your theory stinks.

"It seems to me that if the fretboards had been completed in India prior to shipment they would have been "legal." This does not look like an environmenta issue to me."

It is a legal issue. It so happens that the law is based on environmental concerns - i.e. it recognises the restrictions of other countries. The banning of export of sawn rosewood and ebony logs in India was for environmental reasons - however, to ban manufactured goods from those timbers would affect employment in India, so the Indian government made concessions. That they are somewhat hypocritical is irrelevant. As these are the export regulations in India, those fingerboards would have been legal if they had been finished in India. The Lacey Act would not have been applicable.
It’s not rocket science.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

BTW, I don’t see the relevance of posting a picture of a fingerboard. I think you’ll find that the majority of fingerboard blanks obtained from luthiers’ suppliers are planed on one side (this is primarily to assist in the choice of grain etc). The reverse face and the narrow edges are rough sawn. Some are planed on two sides, however.

If you just plane the blank so that it is "slightly" smaller than the blank, you are leaving too much wood on the fingerboard.
If you were to buy blanks in the same quantity as Gibson, you would be buying rough sawn blanks - which might be rather difficult now if you want Indian ebony.

Whatever, it is all timber.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

So do you call tooth-pick timber as well? That would meet your definition nicely. I mentioned Tennessee because that is where the wood is being used. I’m not sure if your by extension of the third listed usage is the legal definition of timber and therefore germane to the issue at hand.

It does not matter where the wood is finished… The tree still dies. How can that be an environmental issue? In your 30 years of wisdom, do the other guitar manufactures obey the Lacey Act to the letter and have their ebony fretboards imported completely finished?

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"It does not matter where the wood is finished… The tree still dies. How can that be an environmental issue? "

Try and think laterally. Someone trying to apply the law to an environmental issue can only work within the legislation. It maight be that there is a contardiction in the law - but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the law completely.

The Indian government clamped down on the export of sawn logs - the concern was illegal logging. As well as protection of employment, restricting the export to finished items puts a control on the export - and sawn logs could no longer be exported. The illegal trade in such would grind (nearly) to a halt, as all export would be monitored.
As it happens, rough sawn planks can apparently be exported under certain codes - but timber (yes, timber) intended for musical instruments is coded differently and must be finished (apparently, sanding both sides and tapering could satisfy the regulations - but Gibson was importing sawn blanks).

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

"How does the usage of the word timber in your country apply to its use in the American legal system?"

Irrelevant. I was pointing out that the "finished parts" that Gibson was supposed to be importing turned out to be "sawn logs - unfinished timber". Those were the words used in the article alongside my words to describe what was actually in the consignment. There is no legal definition of "timber" in the American legal system. Perhaps you should find out exactly what a legal definition is beforehand - what you with your master’s degree and all that (even though has no bearing on what I said). As it happens, it seems that the consignment might have been labelled as veneer - it still turned out to be unfinished timber.

"Perhaps you should prior to stating that Gibson was not being singled out?"
Did I state that Gibson was not being singled out? I thought I was just pointing out that your theories as to why Gibson was the company who was under investigation had little substance.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

Well, I’ve just had a really boring read. The papers involved in the motion to strike on the Gibson case concerning Madagascar ebony. I’ve also looked into the Indian ebony/rosewood saga a bit more thoroughly.

Some things are a bit clearer. Firstly, the fingerboard blanks are unfinished and more than 6mm thick which means they contravene regulations. Why was Gibson under investigation and not other makers? Well, Gibson, Martin and Taylor reps visited Madagascar in 2009, looking for suitable sources of timber. Things weren’t too good politically, and the dealer, Roger Thunam was decidedly dodgy (he had stocks of wood that were held in place as illegal - he couldn’t sell them - he did). Martin and Taylor pulled out but Gibson didn’t. They singled themselves out in this. Looking at the internal e-mails submitted in the case, it seems apparent that Gibson knew that Thunam’s enterprise was a "grey market". Nevertheless, they purchased sawn fingerboard blanks through a German company, knowing that the ultimate dealer was Thunam (the grey market). Gibson moved to regain possession of the seized items, but as they constitute "contraband" under the export laws of Madagascar (this comes under the Lacey Act - and the amendments to the Act to include timber were made under the Bush administration - the Lacey Act makes this US law - to comply with other laws), the motion was overturned.

The recent raid involving Indian timber appears to have been sparked off by a consignment in Dallas that was wrongly labelled. It only transpired later that the consignment was destined for Gibson - who are already involved in the Madagascar affair. It doesn’t take much working out to realise the Federal authorities would be a little concerned by this.

This needs to come to a conclusion before "allegations" become something more than that, but Juszkiewicz seems to be making a bit of a plonker of himself by his efforts to rally the support of the populus (though he is garnering support of the loony right and lesser mortals in that area).

One thing is for sure. You won’t lose your axe.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

As th son, grandson and great-grandson of woodworkers I can tell you that here in Ireland, ‘timber’ just means ‘wood’.

I hope the Federal Authorities put that hardwood to good use if they force Gibson to give it up.

Re: More bad news of Guitar/Board participant Gibsonophiles

The timber flute probably isn’t played in Tenessee.

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