Skip to comments.CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican donor; Democrat competitor uses same wood
Posted on 08/27/2011 11:58:48 AM PDT by DFG
On Thursday, the iconic Gibson Guitar Corporation issued a press release stating that government officials raided their Tennessee manufacturing facility over warrants concerning the legality of the importation of wood purchased from India that they use in their world famous guitars. The woodwhich is certified and regulated by the Forest Stewardship Councilis not illegal, but rather subject to a domestic law in India frowns upon the processing of this wood by non-Indians. (Gibson uses American labor for the processing.)
(Excerpt) Read more at landmarkreport.com ...
That’s a good synopsis about the importation and use of Brazilian Rosewood. However, I’d bet a box of my favorite doughnuts that the rules used to ban the importation of Rosewood is political chicanery and eco-fascism in the extreme. I know a bit about these federal fascists and their illegal rule-making.
Back in 2003, the Congress and President Bush left every American a great gift called the Data Quality Act (DQA) Under DQA, every bureaucratic rule written by the nature bureaucracies must be based on verifiable science. If it’s not, it must be tossed out. And it gets better - every judge and administrative court that hears such a case must use DQA guidelines when deciding such matters.
Anyone - any American - may challenge any rule written by any federal bureaucracy if he feels the science behind the rule is flawed. Then the process of review begins, while the rule is set aside until the mattter is settled, either by the bureaucracy or by the courts.
George Bush and company left us the DQA as a tool to destroy the federal bureaucracies. The MSM has bashed the DQA and refused to tell readers of this tool.
Americans need to start using the tools we have to kill the leftists and restore our freedoms. DQA is one such legal remedy we can wield to stomp leftists’ nuts into the concrete.
The restrictions on importation of these woods aren't always rules written by a nature bureaucracy. Some are restrictions written by the country of export. Others are the result of treaties to which the United States is a party (like CITES) - and some of those treaties predate 2003 and the DQA by decades.
The person who wrote this article has no idea what East Indian Rosewood is or how many luthiers other than Gibson (and C.F. Martin) are using it. None of the others luthiers appear to have been raided.
I doubt he has any idea how precise the paperwork is and how strict the regulations are on so many of the important woods used by luthiers. Check Bob Taylor's explanation (Taylor guitars) on his website for why Taylor doesn't offer any Brazilian Rosweood any longer, when it was the king of procuring pre-1992, low-quality, Brazilian. He says it's just too hard to have all of the appropriate paperwork in place.
This is a case of a blogger jumping to conclusions. Did he even consider the fact that Gibson has a recent history of legal problems of all kinds?
Horrified at Torrified? Or the Horror of Torror?
These being electric guitars, the wood surfacing of the fretboard would seem to have precious little to do with how they sound. But I’m sure when ivory gave way to bone and plastic for the tops of piano keys, pianists were horrified for similar reasons, or non-reasons.
The old Mafia Tommy-gun-in-a-violin-case trick? (Except a guitar case could be used for this one, accommodating a larger gun.)
Capricious interpretation of law is one sure business and economy killer. That kind of persecutional loophole should be amended out of the Lacey act, if the whole Lacey act isn’t repealed. Compliance with any duly constituted arm of the foreign government (even if they disagree amongst themselves) should be deemed sufficient compliance.
“Scout” why more innuendo on your part? “Legal problems of all kinds” doesn’t reveal anything about where fault lies. I do not bet on the Obama administration dealing straight on virtually anything.
Innuendo? I listed a couple of Gibson's other legal problems in an earlier post. I can list more. The fact that Gibson has had previous legal problems doesn't reveal where the fault lies.
Then again, neither does the fact that Gibson's CEO made contributions to the Republican party.
The Gold Medals in this competition go to everyone who immediately assumed that Gibson cannot be at fault and that this must be, simply must be, something created from thin air by the Obama administration.
In the last four years, Gibson does not have a history of dealing honestly with its lenders (failing to produce required audited financial statements). It's been charged with price-fixing. It's already been raided for the use of undocumented woods that require documentation.
None of that means that Gibson was at fault here.
But it certainly suggests that a few dozen posters who may know nothing about the guitar business, the importation of woods, the fact that C.F. Martin and Gibson are not the only luthiers in the U.S., the reputation of Gibson's CEO, Gibson's financial situation, nor Gibson's previous legal problems, probably shouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion that this was a tin-foil hat conspiracy against Gibson based upon some blog-pimping.
Most people didn't take your position and say they wouldn't put this past Obama; they took it as gospel that Gibson was attacked because its CEO made contributions to the Republicans and C.F. Martin didn't.
2009 was an interesting time for Madagascar rosewood and ebony. Wood was illegally being logged in national forests and laundered through Reunion and Mauritius before coming to the U.S. through another country.
The ebony fingerboards that the U.S. government is holding from the 2009 raid of Gibson was missing the plant products declaration required by the Lacey Act when it entered the U.S. The link is to a newspaper article on the results of the U.S. raid at the time.
According to the article, Gibson didn't have the paperwork necessary for that ebony. Why the U.S. government hasn't acted, I don't know. But you'll notice that the Gibson press release says only that they now have affidavits and documents stating that the ebony was legally exported under Madagascar law. Gibson doesn't touch the subject about whether they complied with the Lacey Act or Forest Stewardship Council regulations regarding the ebony.
No, but the fretboards on guitars are usually only oiled and not finished. Ebony and rosewood are incredibly dense and smooth without requiring a lot of filling of the grain, and they (rosewood in particular) exude a natural oil and makes them easy to play. The woods are chosen because they last well without wearing, they exude a natural oil making them easy to play, and finally for looks.
So it's not sound - it's playability.
It's not just guitars. Ebony's used on the fingerboard of violins.
Almost any wood can be oiled, even if few are dense enough. I’ve played many pianos that had genuine ebony black keys, and they never felt greasy like they were “exuding” anything. My buddy Ronnie, who is a whiz electric guitarist, oils his axes’ fretboards. Most of the wear is borne by the metal fret, anyhow.
(1) I don't know what finish is put on ebony piano keys if any. You'll notice that I said rosewood "especially" exuded oil. And you oil your fretboard, whether it's ebony or rosewood. Most people use lemon oil, although there are some fretboard 'conditioners' that contain other products in addition to lemon oil. Many people clean and oil them each time they change strings. I do.
(2) Only the wear of the string is borne by the metal fret. The wear to the fretboard is a distinct and different wear, from string and finger. You'll go through many fret jobs before you'll see any wear on your fretboard.
Here's a relic Stratocaster fretboard (maple).
Notice the fretboard wear? Most common on Strats and Teles because of the finish put on the maple fretboards.
I'm not responsible for the fact that luthiers have been putting ebony and rosewood fretboards on guitars for 200+ years. Yeah, any wood can be oiled, but there's a reason those woods are chosen for fretboards. Ask your buddy, Ronnie, if he has a preference for a fretboard wood. He'll probably tell you rosewood or ebony. He sure as heck isn't going to tell you walnut, mahogany, tulip poplar, bubinga, wenge, or snakewood.
“and some of those treaties predate 2003 and the DQA by decades.”
I understand. The bureaucratic rules may still be challenged. There’s no time frame nor statute of limitations.
Check out DQA if you get a chance.
People have trouble understanding that a single individual can bring an entire federal fascist bureaucracy to its knees.
It brings the fight to the federal fascists.
Check out the Competive Enterprise Institute.
Yeah, but the problem with treaties is that, constitutionally, they take precedent over legislative and regulatory acts. So if the U.S. is a party to the CITES treaty, it doesn't matter one hill of beans what DQA says.
It hurts - but that's the reason why it's always a big deal when there's some touchy-feely, good-for-the-third-world-and-China-but-not-the-U.S. treaty that a bunch of kids in Seattle are protesting about because the U.S. hasn't signed it yet.
“Yeah, but the problem with treaties is that, constitutionally, they take precedent over legislative and regulatory acts. “
No, that’s not correct. The DQA legislation is based on the United States Constitution, and no treaty can trump the Contstitution.
Yeh, it’s complex, but we need to understand that no UN treaty law can usurp our constitution. There’s a whole bunch of wrong opinions out there telling us that treaties trump the Constitution. It’s false. It’s left-wing garbage.
The US Constitution, which the DQA is based on, cannot be trumped by a UN treaty or CITES.
“Im was the proud owner of a Gibson SG and Gibson ES 335. Im now even prouder!”
Likewise! (ES 335 & Les Paul Studio)
I am in a dilemma.
If the feds come pounding on the door to arrest me for my Les Paul, it is going to be too big to flush!
“If the feds come pounding on the door to arrest me for my Les Paul, it is going to be too big to flush!”
That’s why God made machineguns.
Ah. Gotta get me one o’ those.
Ronnie plays axes with dark and light fretboards. Dark ones look cool. They look even cooler with pearl inlays, which are softer than most woods. Stainless steel frets can be had today, which are reputed to last the life of the guitar and are friendlier to enthusiastic string benders like Ronnie (they are far more resistant to developing notches).
I’m not sure what would be used to finish a black ebony piano key that would keep it from “exuding” onto the pianist’s fingers. You look at a fifty year old piano that has been in constant use, its black keys are visibly worn past any microns-thick finish that might have been applied when they were new.
A treaty is not superior to the Constitution, but legislation enacted by congress pursuant to the Constitution isn't the Constitution. It's legislation. Regulations enacted by the Executive Branch pursuant to the Constitution aren't the Constitution; they're regulations.. A treaty ratified by congress is the law of the land. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S Constitution.
Treaties never, ever, ever trump the Constitution. But treaties ratified by congress trump legislation and regulations enacted pursuant to the Constitution. DQA legislation is legislation. It's not the Constitution.
First they came for the gun owners...
Anyway, I saw a photo in another article, and the agents were packing up guitars in BUBBLE WRAP!
Don’t they know from the ATF that when you have valuable relic or premium-finished items to seize, you toss them on a concrete floor across the room, and stuff them into garbage cans?!
“A treaty is not superior to the Constitution, but legislation enacted by congress pursuant to the Constitution isn’t the Constitution. It’s legislation.”
I disaree. Congress constantly passes legislation based on the Constitution, and the courts rule on whether or not a law passed by Congress is constitutional or not.
“But treaties ratified by congress trump legislation and regulations enacted pursuant to the Constitution.”
That’s not true.
Unfortunately, my internal hard drive just crashed, so I’m working off my external drive, which, unfortunately, does not have my constitutional sites to prove my argument.
So therefore, you’ll need to take my word that I’m right and you’re wrong.
I’m sure you won’t agree with that, so let’s drop this conversation until I can get my internal drive back up. Okay?
Then I will pound you with facts you can’t resist.
Best wishes to you and yours.
“I wouldnt advertise that Henry J is a Republican. Hes one of the most disliked CEOs in America.”
But he made a cute little car.
Some players are real passionate about this. They'll spend $6k on a brand-new Custom Shop R9, send it off to a handful of luthiers who specialize in Historic restorations. These luthiers will strip these brand-new Les Pauls down to slabs of wood and then reassemble them using period correct hide glue and Brazilian fretboards. And they'll charge damn near the purchase price of the guitar to do this. And these luthiers have waiting lists for their work.
To each their own I guess. I like my R8 just the way Gibson built it. That and I'd need a serious salary adjustment before I could even consider such an upgrade.
I saw this in action first-hand. The guy who sold me my R8 had a small storefront in downtown San Diego. He'd sell Gibson Custom Shops as fast as he'd unload them from the truck. He'd beat the fixed GC/MF/SA/Best Buy prices by hundreds of dollars. One day Gibson cancelled his contract. He was no longer an authorized dealer, no longer able to offer warranties on the Gibsons he sold. He sold a handful of other brands but he was essentially a Gibson Custom Shop dealer. In one fell swoop that status was taken away from him. I don't know how his business is doing today. Last I heard, he was struggling.
I think the big-box retailers might've had something to do with this. They don't like the mom and pop stores undercutting their fixed prices and they have the muscle to force companies like Gibson to sever relationships with other dealers who don't play ball. I'm not saying this is what happened, just speculation on my part.
I do have something of mixed feelings about Henry J. I'm not sure I'd like to work under him and he doesn't come across as the most ethical guy but nonetheless, the guitars that Gibson has produced under his leadership are consistently the best instruments they've made since the fabled Ted McCarty era of the 1950s-60s.
Agreed. I have some great Gibson guitars. The quality perhaps isn't up to the standards of Collings and C.F. Martin & Co., but they are wonderful guitars - both electric and acoustic. And I have a two great Gibson banjos and on great Gibson mandolin, all fairly recent.
The Gibson 'attack' on small dealers was two-fold. First, they made small stores commit to contracts to purchase $100,000 (and some stores have told me higher prices) of Gibson. That was impossible for some stores, and in others meant that they couldn't carry Gretsch, Fenders, or other lines if they wanted Gibson.
Second, they TOLD you what you had to sell.
If you had been in business for 40 years and new that in your part of Dallas, you sold 20% LP Studios, 10% SGs, etc., Gibson would instead give you a list of what guitars you were required to buy as part of your $100,000. Didn't matter if your market had been Gibson Custom Shop Les Pauls for years. You may get stuck with several Flying Vs even though you still have three you hadn't been able to sell for four years.
Let's not forget that Martin also put a minimum dollar purchase on dealers about the same time. The difference was that Martin allowed dealers to select the models that they would carry.
You'll note i never said that treaties trump the Constitution. That's an argument that liberals and internationalists are making - and that'll I'll comment on in a minute. I'll wait to see what you have, but my guess is that it's material that deals with whether the U.S. can enter into a treaty that take precedent over the Constitution.
My initial disagreement with you was your statement that legislation based on the Constitution becomes part of the Constitution. The fact that legislation (or a regulation, or a lower court reported case, or a slip opinion, or an attorney general opinion, or a FTC letter, or an IRS private letter ruling, or the ruling of the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services) is ruled constitutional as applied to a certain set of facts does not make that legislation (or regulation, etc.) part of the Constitution.
The Constitution is the document adopted in 1791, plus the Bill of Rights and other amendments ratified in accordance with the requirements for amendment set forth in the Constitution. Nothing else is the Constitution.
Treaties are the 'law of the land' according to the Constitution, just like statues and regulations.
The problem is that some people want the U.S. to cede its citizens' rights to international law through treaties and think that's constitutional. For example, there are liberals and internationalists who believe the U.S. could sign an international treaty barring the ownership of handguns and it would take precedent over Second Amendment rights. Or that the U.S. could sign a U.N. treaty on religious hate speech that would make it illegal to speak unfavorably about Islam, and that such a treaty would deprive U.S. citizens of their First Amendment Rights.
That's - scarily enough - an issue that pointy-heads debate in law journals.
If want to take the position that legislation that is found to be constitutional by a court (and courts are almost always ruling only on the constitutionality of legislation as applied to specific situations) becomes the Constitution, then we're so far apart that I'll have to respectfully disagree and wish you a good day.
The Tyrants AG: Laws and American economy matter not.
HE is your King."
Every company must now pay the DNC or us directly ... or die.
Gibson better get its head on straight.
“In short, putting a Torrified maple fretboard on a Les Paul will undoubtedly result in mountains of angry letters from Gibson players!”
Better not tell them about the Les Paul Raw Power Studio model, then. That has a rock maple fingerboard, and while it looks like it’s been tinted a bit it’s still almost as light as one on a Fender guitar.