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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And relevant to many exotic and rare woods I think.

Very refreshing to see responsible commercial decision making here, and an intelligent and conscientious pitch to us customers to understand the reasoning behind it.

 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
I'm only two minutes in, and he has yet to mention the elephant in the room: the furniture industry.
 

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Mutes the Meat
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Wirelessly posted (boobies)

I watched this last week and I applaud Bob Taylor for this.
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm only two minutes in, and he has yet to mention the elephant in the room: the furniture industry.
Its out of his control. He can only do what he can for what is in his control. I dont think railing against other industries with the same material requirements would do any good; it would make it a polemic.

As it is, I also applaud him for it, and hope that this sort of thinking catches on in business, and more importantly, that customers understand and support it. Hopefully it will spread to other relevant industries.
 

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I am Groot
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Bob Taylor is a giant in his industry, and he was willing to step in, buy up most of the harvesting operations in Cameroon, and work towards sustainable practices RIGHT NOW. I applaud him for that. :yesway:
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
I'm surprised he didn't mention spruce too. A lot of really good quality instrument-grade spruce is getting wasted in plywood for home construction.
 

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NICE BLACKMACHINE YO
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Its out of his control. He can only do what he can for what is in his control. I dont think railing against other industries with the same material requirements would do any good; it would make it a polemic.

As it is, I also applaud him for it, and hope that this sort of thinking catches on in business, and more importantly, that customers understand and support it. Hopefully it will spread to other relevant industries.
+100000000XP for the use of the word 'polemic', well done sir! Particularly since no one has ever used that word on here before. :lol:
 

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Metal Acolyte
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603 Posts
I applaud his efforts as well. I also like the idea of reorienting guitar culture to think of streaked ebony as a kind of "figured" wood that should be as sought after as any other beautiful tone wood. However, I would like to see an "ebonizing" dye process improved to the point where the dye doesn't rub off, so that any piece of ebony can be made completely black, at little added expense, for those whose custom guitar build(s) demand all black fretboards in order to capture the right "look" (something we metal heads in particular go for).
 

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Super Moderator
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8,927 Posts
He's also in a position to screw over Gibson and Martin by offering them only the inferior grades of ebony. I'm a little surprised that a much bigger company like Gibson didn't already try to purchase it's own supplier of exotic woods. Maybe if Henry J. hadn't been so busy dreaming up crap like the Firebird X, he would have seen to the tonewood situation.

Gibson's royally screwed at the moment because they have zero ebony of any kind on hand (and only thin strips of rosewood) in the shop after the federal raid. They've actually shut down the Historic division temporarily for that reason. You may have noticed that all of the new Les Paul Customs have baked maple boards. And yes, they look like ass.

It appears that Gibson knowingly brought in Madagascar ebony, so they've got bigger problems coming down the line.
 

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I am Groot
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It appears that Gibson knowingly brought in Madagascar ebony, so they've got bigger problems coming down the line.
Then it will be good to see them get roasted for it. I have no sympathy for them, and everyone bitching about the government going after poor little Gibson can eat a dick. If we don't practice sustainable logging, then the resources won't be around for us in the future. I don't even think this is an environmental awareness versus civil liberties issue: the government of Madagascar made harvesting ebony illegal, which means Gibson was buying poached lumber, breaking the law.
 

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Oh yeah!
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I hope this gets out to independent luthiers as well. Develop a better way for coating the new ebony to jet black if wanted but also support saving our precious woods. :yesway:
 

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Super Moderator
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I was sympathetic to Gibson when the raid happened, just because of the Kafkaesque bureaucratic silliness surrounding the Lacey Act. However, if Gibson was knowingly violating the law, they're stupid.

Of course, that's the government's side of the story. The actual truth may be more muddled. Gibson claims they were using a long-time wood supplier and didn't know about the legal issues in Madagascar. The government claims that info confiscated in the factory raid contradicts this. I don't know if any further enforcement proceedings are coming, but it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case.
 

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NSLALP
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Fuck you, Bob Taylor. I order custom toothbrushes made of only the finest ebony, and you're about to drive the price up royally. :mad:
 

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I am Groot
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I was sympathetic to Gibson when the raid happened, just because of the Kafkaesque bureaucratic silliness surrounding the Lacey Act. However, if Gibson was knowingly violating the law, they're stupid.
That's pretty much where I was at, since I thought it was excessive for the point of being sensationalistic when the story first broke. A guitar manufacturer, even a very large one, is small potatoes. Why not go after the construction industry? That's where all the real money, and most likely, the real violations are at. However, the more that comes out, the more it looks like Gibson was really, really stupid.
 

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Super Moderator
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BTW, it appears I was slightly off about the supply situation at Gibson. They apparently have pallets of ebony they can't use while they are waiting for the legal situation to be sorted out. The legal status of their supply is complex because of the multiple firms involved in the chain of custody from forest to factory. Gibson is alleging that the wood was legal but mislabeled at some point, while the government contend somebody from Gibson actually went over to Madagascar to deal in "gray market" stockpiles.

The other theory I've seen is that Gibson could get its hands on usable ebony and rosewood if they wanted (just like every other guitar maker can), but they are trying to "normalize" the use of shitty woods in such a way as to be blamed on the government. In other words, they were going to switch to laminated rosewood and baked maple anyway (they've even admitted this to some degree on their web site), but now they can say they didn't have any choice. Do I believe that? Maybe.
 

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Metal Acolyte
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603 Posts
He's also in a position to screw over Gibson and Martin by offering them only the inferior grades of ebony.
What constitutes an "inferior" grade of ebony? :confused:
 

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Slow Money
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14,612 Posts
also ebony that seems more likely to crack more severely, or with a lower density
 
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