At Waterloo Music, we buy a lot of guitars, in fact, a day rarely goes by without a courier delivery of some sort, big boxes, lots of excitement, many brand new guitars coming through our front door. However, the last few months have been slightly frustrating as “Cites” has been causing problems with us getting hold of anything containing rosewood. If you’ve not heard of ‘Cites’, here is a brief explanation and how it will affect your next guitar purchase.
‘Cites’ in short, is an international council, which was formed to protect certain species of animals, plants and trees from permanent extinction. So they also regulate the movement of timber products internationally, with heavy fines to big companies felling and using protected species of trees for the manufacture of furniture and other timber products.
So how does this affect guitars? Well, the latest Cites ruling has restricted the use of rosewood for manufacturing. Currently, as it stands, all shipments coming into Europe that contains Rosewood E.g., the Fender USA strat pictured in our shop, have to be quarantined, until they are inspected by customs to check that the rosewood used was responsibly sourced prior to the Cites ruling.
But the biggest change will be that, for the time being, any future Fender, Gibson, PRS guitars, plus most other manufacturers models will most likely not have Rosewood fretboards. This will be substituted with other plentiful hardwoods such as Baked Maple, Ebony and even composite materials such as Richlite, which Gibson have been using for a number of years now.
So there you have it. Kind of bad news really, but we have to look after our planet’s resources, and if alternative timbers can be used for our future guitar purchases, then that is how it will be.