So recently Gibson has been in the news because of their problems with rosewood legality. They have been raided twice in the past 3 years because of “Illegally” obtained rosewood. Which from what I can tell seems to has little basis. I have seen a lot of people talking about how Gibson is a big evil corporation that charges too much for its guitars. To which I reply, what about the line of melody makers that have come out recently. To me it seems like Gibson has been addressing these concerns and just try to buy a high quality American made instrument for under $1000. I’m not trying to sound like a Gibson spokesperson but I do like their guitars. However, there are a couple of inconsistencies with the federal charges. First there are no charges filed against Gibson, they are simply shutting them down and confiscating wood. Two there are a few countries where rosewood can come from Madagascar, India, Honduras and at one time Brazil although that is no longer. This means that Fender, Gretsch, PRS and every other guitar company has to get their wood from those sources. Why are they targeting Gibson? Three, guitar makers use less than one percent of all lumber for their guitar production. So furniture, construction and other industries are huge consumers of lumber. Why go after these small consumption wood users. Gibson is also part of an organization The Music Wood coalition a Greenpeace based organization for wood sustainability.
The Lacey act at one point was a good way to keep American companies compliant with international laws. However, this is a total misuse of the law. In addition, this law has made it a nightmare for musicians travelling because any rosewood is subject to seizure. Even if the guitar was made in 1960, 48 years before the law was enacted. This is probably why Gibson has been using baked maple and obeche woods as a substitute for the rosewood and ebony that they have been forbidden to use.
Hopefully, Gibson can get back soon to making rosewood fretboards. Also I don’t want my first Les Paul to have a baked maple neck.