Rosewood, CITES and vintage guitars – @Fender #Guitar

Fender is promoting its switch to pau ferro in place of rosewood for its darker, unvarnished fretboards.

The tonewood has been around for a while, sometimes overtly (my Traveler Speedster guitar had a pau ferro fretboard) and sometimes less obviously. However, citing the tighter CITES regulations, Fender will be now using it for all its guitars with “rosewood” boards.

“…it is a wood that Fender will be using much more of now that CITES laws regulating how rosewood is traded internationally came into effect on Jan. 2, 2017.

CITES (or the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) is a global agreement that has existed since 1975 to ensure international trade of wildlife does not threaten the health of species and ecosystems.”

My preference has always been for rosewood over maple necks. They feel softer under the fingers and typically have a warmer tone. A few years ago, when I researched an article about the Tokai guitars of the late 70s and early 80s, CITES came up as a differentiating factor. It was felt even then, that the Japanese firm had easier access to stocks of rosewood than did US firms.

It seems as if those regulations are now even tighter and – as with antique ivory – “any transportation or shipment of an instrument or instruments for commercial purposes with any amount of rosewood requires a CITES Export Certificate issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and possibly a CITES Import Permit required by the receiving country.”

What will that mean for the market in vintage guitars?

And, should I have bought my dream 1964 Strat a few years ago? 🙁


Image: Venturini Vintage Guitars




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