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Chinese guitars: Madagascar rosewood?

Desert Dancer 25 May 10 - 08:25 PM
Shanghaiceltic 25 May 10 - 08:30 PM
Collingsgirl 25 May 10 - 09:37 PM
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Subject: Chinese guitars: Madagascar rosewood?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 25 May 10 - 08:25 PM

Was your inexpensive Chinese-made guitar made from illegally exported rosewood from Madagascar? Something to consider. Please.

NY Times: Shaky Rule in Madagascar Threatens Trees

""The rosewood is piled up near the rivers; no one is trying to hide anything," said Guy Suzon Ramangason, the director general of the organization that manages many of the parks. "Chinese businessmen pay the exporters and they in turn pay off the controllers like the police and the government."

"Malagasy rosewood — reddish and superbly grained — is among the world's most sought-after timber, especially since Asian sources of similar trees have been depleted. In China, the finished wood is primarily used to make replicas of antique furniture and musical instruments, some for export."

The challenge is to both to reduce demand so that the selling price is less than the fines, and to find economic opportunities for the locals that don't involve plundering their diminishing resources.

Never an easy thing.

~ Becky in Long Beach

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Subject: RE: Chinese guitars: Madagascar rosewood?
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 25 May 10 - 08:30 PM

The Malagasy rosewood is used to fake the older hongmu (red wood) furniture, which was originally made with localy grown rosewood which is very heavy.

I have a number of old pieces I bought in Shanghai.

With regards musical instruments it is often used in the flat harp and zithers as a base.

Having seen the locally made guitars in Shanghai I do not think they would use it too much as they are very cheap and very nasty.

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Subject: RE: Chinese guitars: Madagascar rosewood?
From: Collingsgirl
Date: 25 May 10 - 09:37 PM

I've got a weakness for fine guitars and have a Collings OM3 on order with Madagascar Rosewood back and sides. The wood choice is an upcharge and given the recent ban on importation of Madagascar Rosewood, it will become even more expensive. Brazilian Rosewood has become very problematic (and expensive); only those woods that were in the United States or Europe before the import bans can be (legally) used. Additionally, even if one has a legal Brazilian Rosewood instrument, if traveling outside of the US with the instrument one risks seizure upon return (from an article in the Fretboard Journal). Luthiers such as Collings, Martin's custom shop, Santa Cruz, Goodall, etc are very legitimate and won't use woods without the proper "provenance" but trafficking in these rare and endangered woods is a problem.

I once saw a photograph of a Steinway grand piano made of Brazilian Rosewood. Lordy.

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