Thursday, December 29, 2016

In the name of the rose(wood)

Greetings, fellow guitar dweebs. As many of us are embarking on the year end celebrations & looking forward to the glad tidings of 2017, this phantom issue concerning timber legalities is an imminent haunt come next year. Global authorities are tightening legislations pertaining to rosewood commerce & the two major economies, the USA & EU, are trading in circumspect.

I am receiving such reminders in the mail from manufacturers with rosewood products (raw/processed) in their inventory. CITES- Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora- had recently listed more rosewood species & its related breed (meaning- if one doesn't refer to rosewood by its know name but under a different domestic citation, it's still binding) under their purview. 2017 is an enactment year for some clauses in the agreement & it's going to be difficult for many buyers, sellers & owners alike. 

Back to instrument relevance, we know that some of the key components in our beloved instruments are rosewood. Replacing it with a close relative or a seemingly relevant alternative (recall Gibson's torrified maple dismay) wouldn't be the same. It's also devastating to market value. Ladies & gentlemen, if one is not privy to the legislation, it wouldn't be binding but Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan & Korea are signatories of CITES. Just by listing these countries down, we get a clearer picture of the affected guitar brand names. This isn't a small matter by any means, its tsunami-grade impact is just waiting to happen. 

On that note (no pun intended) I'm not lobbying for a rosewood binge. I'm asking all of us to think of how a move to combat illegal logging & trade targetted at the furniture & exotic facility at large would have an eventual impact on other players in the industry. It is seemingly unfair but the approach makes sense- the law creeps in on the source of the problem. On top of all this, human greed & dishonesty are very much to blame for the repercussions. At the end of 2016 (or any year for that matter) let us remember to keep our principles in check for it has an outward impact to the world. 

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