Will Guitar Makers Be Embracing Rosewood Once Again?

Music Industries Association, a UK-based trade body and lobbying organization, is reporting that a proposal was put forth at the Music Industry International Coalition Meeting at the winter 2019 NAMM show to exempt rosewood instruments from CITES regulatory control.

According to MIA, the formal proposal has been nominally agreed to, but will require ratification at an upcoming CITES meeting that is being held in Sri Lanka in May.

The passage of the proposal would have positive implications for guitar builders, after a CITES law was put into practice in January 2017 that placed restrictions on how rosewood could be traded across international borders. This resulted in some  companies, including Fender and Larrivée, exploring rosewood alternatives. Additionally, Taylor halted production on certain rosewood models.

According to MIA, the new amendment is a "recognition by the powers that be that musical instruments were (very unfortunately) ‘collateral damage’ in the rosewood restrictions that were chiefly aimed at stopping illegal logging in the furniture industry.”

The proposal aims to: exempt finished musical instruments containing rosewood; exempt finished musical instrument parts containing rosewood; and exempt finished musical accessories containing rosewood.

For more information, head over to MIA.org.uk.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.