Music Industry Advisory on New Rosewood Trade Regulations


For Australian readers here is a current list of new regulations around the import, export and personal travel with items containing rosewood timber due to the recent CITES changes:

Please note CITES documentation is generally not required for imports and exports of personal items of up to 10 kg per shipment containing either Dalbergia or any of the three listed Guibourtia species.

Almost all acoustic guitars have at least a rosewood fretboard.

These new trade restrictions on all rosewood species, including Indian rosewood, effectively mean the end rosewood as a commercial tonewood.

Rosewood is regarded as the premium tonewood.

The idea that the music products industry is somehow the innocent bystander in this situation (because little of the rosewood cut in the world goes towards guitars) is from what I understand a bending of the truth. Being a minor party in a crime does not make one innocent.

The adage about “lying down with dogs” comes to mind.

The guitar industry is still generally a very long way from sourcing sustainable timber and being supportive and transparent about it.

And as for customers/buyers who turn a blind eye to the continuing problem.

So what will the market do now?

My guess is they will turn to other rainforest timbers. If they can’t get rosewood at least they can still get cheap timber. The plundering of the worlds rainforests won’t stop just because of the restrictions on rosewood.

Ultimately it must come down to the consumer.

If the consumer wants to help preserve what remains of the planets rainforests then guitar buyers have to start making the tough informed choices.

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