Trade Restrictions on Rosewood

UPDATE: We have listened to the feedback received from our customers and have decided to source alternative wood types for the frets which will replace Poplar Laminate. From April 2018 onwards we will manufacture all kits that once had Rosewood with either Black or Brown Blackwood or Wenge.

Rosewood has for a long time been an essential attribute of high-quality guitars. Known for its warm and spacious sounding tones and its spongy feel due to the porous nature of the wood. We have though been spoilt with Rosewood and the clamps around this particular species have started to close.

On the 2nd January 2017, a new Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into effect. This law doesn't prohibit the export or import of Rosewood species but importers and/or exporters will now need to provide a variety of different permits each time their rosewood products cross a border. This also makes it difficult for travellers travelling with instruments made out of Rosewood.

"Rosewood is the world’s most trafficked wild product, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, accounting for a third of all seizures by value, more than elephant ivory, pangolins, rhino horn, lions and tigers put together."

Guitar manufacturers and luthiers have adapted before and they will again. According to the UN Office of Drugs & Crime, Rosewood is the worlds most trafficked wild product. Our view on the matter is that CITES laws have come into effect for a reason. The earth and its natural resources are being exploited and we refuse to deal with scrupulous and shady merchants in order to continue our supply of Rosewood, we will comply with the legislation and allow the natural stock of Rosewood the opportunity to recover.

After careful consideration, we have sourced Poplar as an alternative wood type to replace our Rosewood fretboards. Poplar Laminate is not an endangered species and its characteristics are almost identical to Rosewood in all regards. The one somewhat noticeable difference is that it is a softer wood to work and play with.

We will continue our supply of guitar parts, but the role of Rosewood in that supply is for the time being at least, non-existent. Hold on to whatever Rosewood items you currently have - seeing it on Blackbeard's Den or any music store might be a thing of the past.

1 comment

  • Werner: February 25, 2018

    I understand the whole rosewood thing. No problem. But soft poplar as a fretboard. Sorry you are gonna lose me as customer. Rather then go for embuia or something similar. Definitely not poplar.Even as a laminate!

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