Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

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yogary9
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Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:22 am

Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by yogary9 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:12 pm

Hello experts, noob question here about CITES and travelling with a personal guitar into the US. I would like to bring a guitar from Japan to the US and would like to understand what to expect with respect to CITES. This is a personal instrument, not to be sold. I am not in the business of making nor selling guitars. I will be entering the US through San Francisco airport and carrying only 1 guitar and nothing else that could be scrutinized. I have done some research, including reading docs on fws.gov, CITES related posts here on Delcamp, and listening to this podcast on the subject: https://www.fretboardjournal.com/podcas ... hn-thomas/
From what I have learned, as long as there is no Brazilian Rosewood (appendix 1), this can pass as a “personal effect” as it would be imported for no commercial purpose, and the instrument is less than 10kg (22lbs) and therefore not require CITES documentation. So, the task at hand, and what I am asking the group for advice on is whether or not this guitar might possibly be deemed by customs as having Brazilian Rosewood in it, because I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, and I’d prefer to not deal with any paperwork if I don’t have to.

The guitar is a Yamaha FG-600J. It is not a high end guitar by any means (can be purchased used in Japan for a few hundred USD). I have searched all online references to the materials used in this guitar. There seems no doubt about the top (spruce), neck (mahogany), fingerboard & bridge (ebony). However, I have found the back and sides to be called various things:
- “Jacaranda”. Long thread on these forums titled “Kohno & - Sakurai Guitar Fan Club ….” In which Jacaranda and use of this term by Japanese luthiers is discussed, and whether or not it always equates to Brazilian vs Honduran vs CSAR Rosewood. My read, is that the “Jacaranda” label doesn’t always mean Brazilian…
- “Honduras Rosewood”: this model is referred to as having Honduras Rosewood on a couple of for sale ads (e b a y and j-guitar)
- “New Jacaranda”: a Japanese language blog referred to this guitar as using New Jacaranda for the back and sides

The price point suggests to me that it is not Brazilian as my impression is that a guitar with Brazilian in it would be more costly, but I could be very wrong here.

I’m attaching some photos of the guitar back/sides here and am hoping that you experienced folks can advise whether or not there is risk with me bringing this in without paperwork? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
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Rasputin
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Re: Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by Rasputin » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:00 pm

I'm no luthier but I don't think you can tell by looking. You would have to ask Yamaha. I think you would be pretty unlucky to have a problem but I can't say I have flown in to the US with a guitar.

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Michael.N.
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Location: UK

Re: Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:22 pm

Doesn't look like Brazilian to my eyes, nor does it look like Indian. Let's call it Honduran and have done with it.
Historicalguitars.

yogary9
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Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:22 am

Re: Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by yogary9 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:08 am

Thanks folks for the advice. One thing I forgot to mention: This guitar is fairly old. The model was only made in 1974 and 1975 and this one is date stamped as 1974. So, whereas I would not expect a new or recent guitar that sells for $500-$700 to have Brazilian in it, I thought that maybe a 1970s guitar that sells for this much today could.

Being that it is this old, asking Yamaha is an exercise in mining the web for old literature. I have done a lot of that :) I have not found any product literature or brochures on this guitar. It was a model sold only in Japan, and only for less than 2 years. However, Yamaha used to maintain and share a "Yamaha guitar archive" document which lists dates and materials of their historical lineup. Yamaha no longer exposes this but fortunately a snapshot is captured here: http://yamahavintagefg.com/the-yamaha-guitar-archive/ In this document, the FG-600J is listed as having Jacaranda back and sides, and there are many discussions on these forums that say that "Jacaranda" is sometimes actually Brazilian...

All this being said, I tend to agree and hope that as Rasputin said, I'd be pretty unlucky to have any problems coming in with 1 personal guitar like this. However, listening to the podcast that I linked to in the original post, it seems that I can't be really sure unless I either have paperwork, or I'm 100% confident that it is not brazilian (and even then, how could i prove that...).

wchymeus
Posts: 206
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:49 am

Re: Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by wchymeus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:17 am

What you are showing is not a classical guitar, maybe posting this in the luthier forum or somewhere else on the net would be a better idea.
Your back does not look like Brazilian (I agree with Michael N).
I cannot guarantee you - of course - but it's not uncommon to see folks travelling with their guitar nowadays, so risks that custom checks your CITES paperwork are very very slim. The year it was built also helps if I am not mistaken with CITES. I believe you are ok.
Now I hope for you that you will be able to keep it with you in the cabin... otherwise, you better have a BAM or something sturdy for a long haul flight in the luggage compartment...
Field 2014, Oberg 2013, Vincente Sachis Badia 1977

yogary9
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:22 am

Re: Rookie Question on CITES and Bringing a Guitar into the US

Post by yogary9 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:30 am

Thanks wchymeus, yea I thought after I posted that the luthier forum would be better, sorry about that! Regarding the year it was built, I'm not sure it matters for CITES? But if it helps me, great! Anyway, I will post a follow up here as FYI and let you all know how it went. Yes, I plan to keep it in the cabin with me... hopefully that ends up being the case!

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