Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Music v. The Environment

Tonight on NPR, they described a Justice Department raid on the Gibson guitar factory for illegal use of endangered woods, specifically ebony and rosewood from Madagascar. Protecting the world’s rainforests is of critical importance. On the other hand, these guitars must look beautiful and sound wonderful. I wish I knew more about the type of wood used to make guitars. Apparently, some of these same laws apply to vintage instruments that were made before environmental laws were passed. In the early 1970s, I played an ebony clarinet and have no idea where the wood came from. It’s an interesting controversy.

I was positive the lead-out music would be Norwegian Wood by the Beatles. Nope. It was My Guitar Gently Weeps. If you’ve never heard that song on ukulele, click here.


Wyman Stewart said...

The guy definitely has magic fingers attached to magic hands on that ukelele! Let's hope the justice department does not raid his home and take his ukelele away because the wood is just too good.

Looks like the Justice Department wants to put the American guitar industry out of business, so it has to go overseas to China too. Otherwise, bring in a "wood expert" to ID any illegal wood, rather than shutdown the whole factory.

I ask, if a banned tree falls in the forest and Gibson Guitar hears it, must termites and Mother Nature be left to determine the banned tree's fate? Will every poor boy / poor girl in Kentucky, Tennessee, etc. be forced to register their guitars? Some have been passed down for generations; this, to ensure the guitars were not made from "now" banned wood 50, 75, 100 years ago or more?

Pardon me, time to go to my sound-proof rubber-room to scream and bang my head. Justice Dept. music will make you mad.

Ann Finkelstein said...

It's ridiculous to apply the rule to vintage instruments, and I hope everyone involved realizes they have better things to do. I also hope Gibson didn't have any illegal wood on their property and they can reopen quickly.