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View Full Version : Feds raid Gibson guitars offices.



RonS
11-18-2009, 12:51 PM
http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/11/17/gibson_guitars_raided_by_fbi

vahn
11-18-2009, 01:12 PM
THATS CRAZY!!! that makes me sad...

Matt Clara
11-18-2009, 01:19 PM
I read about that on a guitar forum yesterday, and I find it hard to fathom someone going to great lengths to do something illegal, with no real gain to be seen. That wood can't be that much better than what is legally available, not enough to risk incarceration.

Ukulele JJ
11-18-2009, 01:19 PM
THATS CRAZY!!! that makes me sad...

Sad for whom? Gibson, or the trees?


JJ

Melissa82
11-18-2009, 01:23 PM
Sad for whom? Gibson, or the trees?


JJI'd have to say both. Sad they would go to that extent and sad that the trees are being destroyed for something a synthetic can do just as well these days.

HoldinCoffee
11-18-2009, 01:30 PM
Kinda makes me want to set all my ukulele free in the forest.

"You're home little fellas."

(Except the Fluke)

Pete Howlett
11-18-2009, 01:42 PM
This item is inconclusive unless I have missed something. Guilty until proven innocent? Let's not start throwing stones here yet,,,

Also you should know that Hamburg has been the traditional conduit for exotics. The connection in the article is vague and somewhat spurious. Madagascan rosewood has been available on and off for a few years now with Madinter in Spain carrying it.

I'm not defending Gibson - it's just there is not enough info here to make a reasoned judgement. Nevertheless, thanks for the heads up. I didn't realise there was a ban, then there wasn't and now I'm unsure,

It's great immitation rio rosewood though for fingerboards - there are 20 Howlett soranos out there with Madagascan fingerboards :)

ukantor
11-18-2009, 01:46 PM
I don't understand why a company like Gibson would buy illegally imported timber - if they did. My guess is that they may have been deceived by unscrupulous suppliers. Still, the Feds have to start with them, and trace it back through the chain of supply. It won't be easy.

Unfortunately, when wood is so valuable, someone is going to cut it down, and someone will buy it. If they can't stop criminals from killing elephants and tigers for their body parts, what chance has a tree got?

Don't it all just go to show----------------

John Colter.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 02:15 PM
If the story turns out to be true then those responsible at Gibson are idiots. Were they really trying to sneak it through Germany? Even if the charges are dropped, damage has been done to Gibson. Think we'll ever see a story about the charges being dismissed?
I've said it before, the feds take stuff like this seriously. When in doubt, don't use anything that might be endangered. It's simply not worth it.
And I'm sorry, anyone who thinks synthetics can replace wood "just as well", simply hasn't played a good solid wood ukulele. Nevertheless, I'm glad I switched over to particle board and Trex for all my building needs.

RonS
11-18-2009, 02:19 PM
Nevertheless, thanks for the heads up. I didn't realise there was a ban, then there wasn't and now I'm unsure,

It's illegal, the president of Madagascar can't change that.

RonS
11-18-2009, 02:24 PM
And I'm sorry, anyone who thinks synthetics can replace wood "just as well", simply hasn't played a good solid wood ukulele. Nevertheless, I'm glad I switched over to particle board and Trex for all my building needs.

Have you seen the Martin HPL guitars.

Made in Mexico from High Pressure Laminate, (depending who you ask, AKA particle board, aka Formica)

Surprisingly, they sound like "real" Martins

Melissa82
11-18-2009, 02:33 PM
And I'm sorry, anyone who thinks synthetics can replace wood "just as well", simply hasn't played a good solid wood ukulele. Nevertheless, I'm glad I switched over to particle board and Trex for all my building needs.MGM did a sound demo not too long ago. We had to guess which each Uke was and which we would choose based on sound. Surprisingly, one of the top ukes was a synthetic. :) But yes, the number one was a solid wood.

I saw so this thread turning into a wood vs synthetic one, lol.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 02:35 PM
Have you seen the Martin HPL guitars.

Made in Mexico from High Pressure Laminate, (depending who you ask, AKA particle board, aka Formica)

Surprisingly, they sound like "real" Martins

Haven't seen them, haven't heard them. Have you? I was speaking of synthetics, not composites. In any event I can't imagine the processes and chemicals used in making these materials are very earth friendly either.

RonS
11-18-2009, 02:57 PM
Haven't seen them, haven't heard them. Have you? I was speaking of synthetics, not composites. In any event I can't imagine the processes and chemicals used in making these materials are very earth friendly either.


Yes I did try one. I'm thinking about getting another Martin, a HD28V this time around. There was a HPL in the room and I played it for a little.

I'm betting you are right, the process in making these may not be earth friendly.

Edit in:
http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/DCX1E.htm

etkre
11-18-2009, 03:02 PM
Have you seen the Martin HPL guitars.

Made in Mexico from High Pressure Laminate, (depending who you ask, AKA particle board, aka Formica)

Surprisingly, they sound like "real" Martins

Are those the ones with a thin black top and a fake wood veneer? If it's what I'm thinking about, they sound horribly thin.

RonS
11-18-2009, 03:06 PM
Are those the ones with a thin black top and a fake wood veneer? If it's what I'm thinking about, they sound horribly thin.

Check the link I added in my post above

etkre
11-18-2009, 03:12 PM
Oh, I didn't realize it was a solid top. Whatever I played had a fake top and sounded awful and was way overpriced. I think my buddy has a model like that. His sounds very nice.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 03:21 PM
Yes I did try one. I'm thinking about getting another Martin, a HD28V this time around. There was a HPL in the room and I played it for a little.

I'm betting you are right, the process in making these may not be earth friendly.

Edit in:
http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/DCX1E.htm

Wow, I'm speechless. High-pressure laminate. Are we talking Masonite here? Like wall panelling? Is the "grain" pattern printed on? I'd honestly be embarrassed to work on the line making those at Martin. To each is own. At least the top is spruce. Maybe.
To be fair, it's a good alternative to those where price and the Martin name are of prime importance. And it IS saving wood for more quality instruments.
I'm running out to Walmart for some wood grain contact paper.

RonS
11-18-2009, 03:32 PM
Wow, I'm speechless. High-pressure laminate. Are we talking Masonite here? Like wall panelling? Is the "grain" pattern printed on? I'd honestly be embarrassed to work on the line making those at Martin. To each is own. At least the top is spruce. Maybe.
To be fair, it's a good alternative to those where price and the Martin name are of prime importance. And it IS saving wood for more quality instruments.
I'm running out to Walmart for some wood grain contact paper.

It's like formica, or maybe like the flooring that has a printed wood grain on top of a substrate.

The top is solid spruce but it's not a top grade.

Did you notice the neck?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 03:39 PM
[QUOTE=RonS;257914

Did you notice the neck?[/QUOTE]

It looks perfect. I'm betting some sort of plastic?

thejumpingflea
11-18-2009, 03:44 PM
MGM did a sound demo not too long ago. We had to guess which each Uke was and which we would choose based on sound. Surprisingly, one of the top ukes was a synthetic. :) But yes, the number one was a solid wood.

I saw so this thread turning into a wood vs synthetic one, lol.

And all of these sound samples were taken on a cruddy camera mic, by the same player, and each uke with Aquila strings. Youtube has bad quality on top of that.

In person I think you'd change your mind. Being someone who has owned and played many laminate and solid body ukes I can speak from personal experience that a solid wood instrument is leaps and bounds better than a laminate.

Melissa82
11-18-2009, 03:52 PM
And all of these sound samples were taken on a cruddy camera mic, by the same player, and each uke with Aquila strings. Youtube has bad quality on top of that.

In person I think you'd change your mind. Being someone who has owned and played many laminate and solid body ukes I can speak from personal experience that a solid wood instrument is leaps and bounds better than a laminate.I'd still prefer to pick the environmentally/endangered species friendly instrument, but that's just me. :)

Spooner
11-18-2009, 04:04 PM
I have an uke made out of manatee.

RonS
11-18-2009, 04:07 PM
It looks perfect. I'm betting some sort of plastic?


Plywood, Martin calls it Stratabond.
The neck had a real nice fell to it.

haole
11-18-2009, 04:07 PM
Gibson's reputation is pretty bad now as it is (employee horror stories, quality control, price-gouging, etc). Whether having a stash of illegal wood was intentional or not, this isn't going to help them much.


off-topicness...

As for synthetics in instruments...yeah, the Martin laminates sound pretty bad and are super overpriced. A few years back I saw two "koa" dreadnoughts in Guitar Center that had identical woodgrain on the top.

Huh? :eek:

At that point, you're paying for the Martin name only, and it sucks that they're cheapening their legacy by putting that name on weak instruments. Didn't they used to have a "Sigma" line for imports? Solid-top, laminate-sides/back instruments generally sound pretty decent, but for the price of that Martin, I'd take a Canadian-made Seagull and a weekend vacation to Maine. ;)

Carbon fiber instruments (ex. Rainsong, Composite Acoustics) are wonderful, though! Not sure about their environmental impact, but I guess that their weatherproof-ness does lessen the need to junk 'em and buy a new guitar.

Still, I'm excited that the future Moore Bettahs will feature particle-board construction and your choice of melamine or foil finishes. Finally, a custom I can afford! ;)

etkre
11-18-2009, 04:20 PM
As for synthetics in instruments...yeah, the Martin laminates sound pretty bad and are super overpriced. A few years back I saw two "koa" dreadnoughts in Guitar Center that had identical woodgrain on the top.

Huh? :eek:

At that point, you're paying for the Martin name only, and it sucks that they're cheapening their legacy by putting that name on weak instruments. Didn't they used to have a "Sigma" line for imports? Solid-top, laminate-sides/back instruments generally sound pretty decent, but for the price of that Martin, I'd take a Canadian-made Seagull and a weekend vacation to Maine. ;)

That's funny. I tried that koa Martin and laughed. I bought a Seagull. I just wish Seagulls had a Martin-esque headstock.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 04:30 PM
Still, I'm excited that the future Moore Bettahs will feature particle-board construction and your choice of melamine or foil finishes. Finally, a custom I can afford! ;) [/SIZE]

I'm not ready to make a formal announcement just yet, but I am starting to save all my corrugated boxes and gum wrappers.
And Melissa, kudos to you for sticking up for the environment and to your beliefs. I totally respect and support that.:)

zog
11-18-2009, 04:52 PM
I have a martin Dx1-R solid spruce top laminate back and sides. The neck is a wood laminate that looks like stained plywood edge grain. Wheen I got it I was looking at Epiphone Hummingbird but after playing the Martin It won hands down way louder and better bass, I jam with lots of guys that have D-28's D-41's and this is just as loud and sounds the same. Martins are real big up here in Alaska, lots of bluegrass players.
Chuck, you can just copy the most awesome top you have and make a thousand duplicates, now if you can figure out a way to do the inlays....

Like our X gov says, "Drill baby drill!"

camface
11-18-2009, 04:54 PM
I'd still prefer to pick the environmentally/endangered species friendly instrument, but that's just me. :)

I don't think TJF is saying endangered wood is better (although some of it seems to be), he is just saying solid wood is better. There are plenty of non-endangered trees out there that sound great as tops.

Darrel
11-18-2009, 04:55 PM
It's illegal, the president of Madagascar can't change that.

I'm no lawyer, but I think it the Madagascar President's has the power to make it legal for his country to export anything he wants, but that doesn't mean every other country in the world has to make it legal to import it. I think that's what your getting at - he can't change our import laws?

I wonder what percentage of the guitars siezed will be returned if this turns out to be a misunderstanding?

-darrel

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-18-2009, 04:57 PM
now if you can figure out a way to do the inlays....

Silly, that's what the gum wrappers are for. Bling!

Melissa82
11-18-2009, 04:59 PM
I don't think TJF is saying endangered wood is better (although some of it seems to be), he is just saying solid wood is better. There are plenty of non-endangered trees out there that sound great as tops.I know that's why I said environmentally/endangered species friendly. But my point was that everyone has a different opinion about what is the best sounding "wood" based on moral and sound/feel/experience type.

RonS
11-18-2009, 05:00 PM
I'm no lawyer, but I think it the Madagascar President's has the power to make it legal for his country to export anything he wants, but that doesn't mean every other country in the world has to make it legal to import it. I think that's what your getting at - he can't change our import laws?

I wonder what percentage of the guitars siezed will be returned if this turns out to be a misunderstanding?

-darrel

That's right, it still illegal to ship to most countries.

http://www.cites.org/

camface
11-18-2009, 05:32 PM
I wonder what percentage of the guitars siezed will be returned if this turns out to be a misunderstanding?

-darrel

And I wonder how many people who bought the illegal instruments are screwed in trying to resell them. Or who are very fortunate to own very rare instruments?

KenjiBeast
11-18-2009, 06:25 PM
...Very weird. Well, I reckon all we can do is wait to see how this all pans out. It's a very sad day for the art of instrument building if the allegations turn out to be true. Music should be environmentally sustainable.

erich@muttcrew.net
11-18-2009, 09:31 PM
...Also you should know that Hamburg has been the traditional conduit for exotics. The connection in the article is vague and somewhat spurious.

True, and there are all kinds available here, both over and under the counter.

On the other hand, the whole environmental scene and save the forest movement is really strong in Germany. Hamburg and Stockholm have been named Green Capitals of Europe for 2010-2011. So you have to wonder.

erich@muttcrew.net
11-18-2009, 09:47 PM
It's like formica, or maybe like the flooring that has a printed wood grain on top of a substrate.

I guess they can remove the statement "Appearance may vary".


"Honey, let me cut those onions for you. Where's the cutting board. Oh, never mind, I'll just use the back of the formica guitar. Can you get it out of the dishwasher for me... "

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-19-2009, 05:58 AM
I guess they can remove the statement "Appearance may vary".


"Honey, let me cut those onions for you. Where's the cutting board. Oh, never mind, I'll just use the back of the formica guitar. Can you get it out of the dishwasher for me... "

Too funny!!! :D

Pete Howlett
11-19-2009, 10:25 AM
Judge and jury? Are the instruments made with ilegal wood? I thought this was an investigation....

mzuch
11-21-2009, 11:39 AM
Interesting article (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/south-africa/091018/madagascars-natural-resources-pillaged-amid-political-chaos) on what's happening in Madagascar.

JT_Ukes
11-21-2009, 12:22 PM
i have an uke made out of manatee.

jtespotd !

RonS
11-22-2009, 02:27 AM
Thanks mzuch

Vic D
11-29-2009, 12:00 AM
I was sittin at the desk one night chillin, relaxing if you will, and my mind was wondering here and there and I was thinking about like, like man, what in nature is lightweight and strong.. something that could be duplicated with say a hemp composite. And I was like (cough) umm... oh yeah I was like "a wasp nest!".. then like umm... nah a honeycomb! Yeah! So I google honeycomb guitar and guess what, being done.

http://www.guitarsessions.com/mar05/guitar_maker.html

Ever see Ford whacking his hemp car with a sledge hammer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rgDyEO_8cI

So that's what I'd like to build in the future... a honeycomb hemp ukulele... yeah man.

Matt Clara
11-29-2009, 04:12 AM
I was sittin at the desk one night chillin, relaxing if you will, and my mind was wondering here and there and I was thinking about like, like man, what in nature is lightweight and strong.. something that could be duplicated with say a hemp composite. And I was like (cough) umm... oh yeah I was like "a wasp nest!".. then like umm... nah a honeycomb! Yeah! So I google honeycomb guitar and guess what, being done.

http://www.guitarsessions.com/mar05/guitar_maker.html

Ever see Ford whacking his hemp car with a sledge hammer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rgDyEO_8cI

So that's what I'd like to build in the future... a honeycomb hemp ukulele... yeah man.

Dude, the feds will raid you for that, too! Unless it's for medical purposes. You got a script for that uke, fella?

Vic D
11-29-2009, 06:08 PM
Dude, the feds will raid you for that, too! Unless it's for medical purposes. You got a script for that uke, fella?

Oh that's right... hemp ukes are only allowed in like 14 states. Looks like I'll have to move to a friendlier spot before I build the hempalele.

ukantor
11-29-2009, 10:54 PM
For cutting out the shapes, will you use a hemplate?

Ukantor.

erich@muttcrew.net
11-30-2009, 10:29 AM
For cutting out the shapes, will you use a hemplate?

Oh, officer, um, you mean the hemplate in my back seat, um, it's like this, um, my grandma suffers from glaucoma and I'm on my way to her house right now...

Link
11-30-2009, 10:38 AM
In regards to the original post..

Wow. They got raided. Maybe now instead of charging $2,000 for a $500 quality guitar, they'll charge $3,000 to help them with the legal fees.

Gibson sucks.