“Is this the man who lured Taggert and Rosemont into a gross dereliction of duty at a strip tease establishment…Uh, it’s Rosewood sir.”
Ever since being lured into that gross dereliction of duty we have been struggling with Rosewood…maybe not his fault but still, right?!
At this point everyone is aware of the CITES regs that hit us in late 2016. We responded immediately by cataloging all of our Rosewood and working with the US Dept of the Interior and various other governmental agencies to establish a Master File so we could export Rosewood. According to our inside person at the time we were the first guitar company to successfully navigate the process. It should have been easy from there right? NO…and I could spend an entire blog on the pain for us and our customers for the next 6 months (I wont!) but the truth is the problem with Rosewood started much further back than that.
Acquiring Rosewood Guitar Wood – The Challenge
The ability to acquire consistently good Rosewood has been a struggle for quite a few years now. And it certainly seems to be getting even worse. I “dislike” about 60% of the Rosewood fretboards I see, “absolutely hate” about 20%, and “really like” about 20%. It’s just ugly, period (it’s not the suppliers fault, it’s just coming out of the ground that way!). Take a look at guitars from the 80’s…its hard to find a BAD piece of Rosewood. Dip back into the 70’ and 60’s and there are some gorgeous examples…and A LOT of them.
So, what do we do now?
If you had asked me 3 or 4 years ago if I thought that we would stop using Rosewood one day I would have said no…no way. Today, however I can see an end. The Pau Ferro we get is much higher quality, same with Katalox and any number of other woods that folks are beginning to substitute for Rosewood. We had a supplier pull some nice Rosewood out of a Church in Oregon or Montana or somewhere but, you know, how much more of that can you find? You can’t! The end is near, and you know what, it’s okay. We will all survive and be better because of it. We survived the breakup of the Beatles and embraced the Stones, we went from bell bottoms to straight legs; VCR to DVD to Netflix; Dave to Sammy…need I go on?
When you get ready to build your next neck and you want a darker fingerboard don’t start at Rosewood. Do some research, look at some of the other options out there, we think you will be pleasantly surprised. We will continue to be picky about our Rosewood and try to nab as much as we can but maybe now is the time to start changing. Don’t risk a banana in your tailpipe…