CITES – Information

More and more wood species are being put on the list of endangered plant species today.
In 2019, all types of rosewood were placed on Appendix II. What are the consequences for guitarists and bassists?

On this page we attempt to answer the most important questions

What is CITES anyway?

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)….is a long list of animal and plant species in which it has been agreed worldwide which animal and plant species deserve protection and to what extent. Appendix I lists items such as elephant ivory, tortoise shell and ria rosewood.

Why does rosewood have to be listed on CITES?

One third of all traded species in both volume and monetary value now consists of legally or illegally felled rosewood trees (e.g. Dalbergia Latifolia, East Indian Rosewood). China imported an average of 350 logs per hour in the second half of 2016. Per hour. (source: John Thomas, The rosewood forests in Southeast Asia are being plundered and there is only one way to do something about it: regulate the trade. All species of rosewood and bubinga were protected by CITES as of January 2, 2017. Justifiably. Rio Palissander (Dalbergia Nigra) has been on Appendix I for years and is the most sought after and therefore probably the most valuable wood in the world. And Indian rosewood is often indistinguishable, especially not by customs officials, so all rosewood is now protected. From January 2, 2017, anyone who wants to export logs, planks or instruments with rosewood parts must be able to prove that it comes from a legal source.

What does that mean for the (bass) guitarist?

We estimate that more than 60% of ALL guitars and bass guitars in the world have a fingerboard made of some type of rosewood, generally East Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia). Since you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have a (bass) guitar at home, and there is a good chance that it has a rosewood fingerboard. Take a look at the fingerboard: is it dark brown? There’s a good chance it’s Rosewood.

Have you had your board for years and do you enjoy playing on it? Keep playing, you don’t have to do anything. Do you want to buy or sell your instrument in the EU? Then there is not much to worry about. Make sure you keep the receipt!

Do you want to take your guitar outside the EU for a gig, tour or move? Or do you want to sell your instrument to someone outside the EU? Then pay close attention to the following:

The Musical Instrument Certificate

Anyone who wants to take or sell a guitar outside the EU would be wise to apply for a Musical Instruments Certificate on the government website soon. The application costs €45. You must demonstrate in your application that your (bass) guitar was legally obtained (purchase receipt). You must also provide information about the instrument, such as the name of the manufacturer, the year of manufacture, the serial number and, if necessary, photos. It may take some time before the request is processed.