The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Jason Wolverton
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The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Jason Wolverton » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:49 am

Well, it happened to me. And I'm the guy telling people to try spruce and maple instead of rosewood....

I recently sent an instrument overseas. I was a little concerned due to the lack of tracking info but chalked it up to the USPS's low tech systems. Turns out that the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife confiscated my shipment because of a random (yeah, right) search of my package. Personally, I think instruments are being specifically targeted, but who knows....

Oddly enough, I got in trouble because of the shell on the instrument...

Be careful, folks. It's not just spook stories anymore. Seems like a real crackdown- even on small volume luthiers such as myself.
"I have discovered (to my joy) that it is life, not death, that has no limits."- Florentino Ariza

oc chuck
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by oc chuck » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:09 am

And look what there putting on the back burner.

Do you know...?
Will they return the guitar?
Reason why?

"Oddly enough, I got in trouble because of the shell on the instrument...
Was it the abalone ?

Let us know what happens next.

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Jason Wolverton
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Jason Wolverton » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:22 am

Abalone and MOP... and he said some parts appeared to be rosewood.

I had to pay nearly $200 for a permit and some fine (I guess), and they're going to forward the instrument to the buyer. I'm very concerned that they obviously opened the case to examine the instrument. Do you think these people have the slightest idea of how to treat a delicate instrument? I doubt it. It's not like you can argue with these people. I just try to be pleasant and comply. But I'm not happy about it.
"I have discovered (to my joy) that it is life, not death, that has no limits."- Florentino Ariza

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zupfgeiger
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:42 am

Nasty story. Good luck for you and the buyer...
The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain)

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Michael.N.
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:57 am

If I send a guitar overseas I avoid anything that might peak their interest. Shell is one. I stopped using rosewood several years ago apart from the very odd instrument that went to local sales. I even use sapele for the neck rather than cedro or mahogany. I'm perfectly fine using more local temperate woods because I don't hear any tonal advantage with exotics. I've refused requests for rosewood guitars, maybe that's a little foolish but I've made my bed as they say. At least if I send a guitar overseas I rest a little easier. Still a bit of a worry with possible shipping damage but I certainly don't need to compound it with worry over customs getting all excited about it. Easier life.
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Les Backshall
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Les Backshall » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:25 pm

Shell has been an issue in the US for a while. There are posts on other forums of guitars being impounded going back to 2011 to my knowledge.
And both LMI and Stewmac stopped exporting it some years ago. Probably best to avoid it if at all possible.

Les
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Jack Douglas
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:57 pm

Scary story! And it’s a wake up call about my own preference for Brazilian Rosewood and Abalone for the 7th fret dot marker. I’ll definitely choose another material if/when I get another guitar.
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Justfun
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Justfun » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:28 pm

thanks for Posting Jason.

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Beowulf
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Beowulf » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:30 pm

Jason Wolverton wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:22 am
Abalone and MOP... and he said some parts appeared to be rosewood.

I had to pay nearly $200 for a permit and some fine (I guess), and they're going to forward the instrument to the buyer. I'm very concerned that they obviously opened the case to examine the instrument. Do you think these people have the slightest idea of how to treat a delicate instrument? I doubt it. It's not like you can argue with these people. I just try to be pleasant and comply. But I'm not happy about it.
Do you think this might have been avoided by getting a permit in the first place? Or was the permit you had to pay for not a CITES permit?
1971 Yamaha GC-10

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Jason Wolverton
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Jason Wolverton » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:07 pm

Yes. If I had a permit and filled out an eDec this could have been avoided. I now have an export permit that's valid for a year- $100. Additionally, the declaration form (an eDec if you do it online) is $93. That's what one has to pay each time shipping shell products or rosewoods overseas. I understand why some makers don't ship internationally. All this stressful red tape and worry if your shipment will reach it's destination without being impounded takes the fun away.
"I have discovered (to my joy) that it is life, not death, that has no limits."- Florentino Ariza

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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by souldier » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:05 pm

Man that is terrifying. Sorry to hear about your sour experience. If I were a luthier, this story would probably be enough to keep my shipments local. Would it be alright to ask where you were shipping to and what rosewood was used? Where was the instrument intercepted and confiscated? No worries if you don't feel comfortable answering these questions.
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a human
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by a human » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:35 am

So, what do you do if you possessed a vintage guitar of rosewood and likely other forbidden substances for 55 years and decide to move overseas? It has already traveled back and forth five times, but not since 1972.

What do international performers do?
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The rest come and go.

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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by jim watts » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:49 am

It seems Fish & Wildlife has proposed a guitar passport for frequent crossings. I'm not sure what the status of this is, but here's a Fish & Wildlife web page that deals with the subject.
www.fws.gov/international/permits/by-ac ... ments.html

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Brian McCombs
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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Brian McCombs » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:46 pm

They have a job to do, we have to preserve our planet and resources...I totally get it. The idea of them opening the case and pawing all over it is disturbing.....like there isn't enough risk out there to be concerned over.

pipe dream: A third party service that is accredited/certified to be compliant to an international standard in the identification of exotics and controlled materials....that can (for a reasonable fee) approve your shipment prior to arriving at customs. The port can give it the obligatory X-ray and dog sniff.....but by virtue of the certification held the approved third party....it is a pass and it is allowed for shipment without having to scrutinize the contents.

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Re: The last thing you want is a call from the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Post by Douglass Scott » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:56 pm

Living in Canada roughly 80% of my sales are international, all of them with rosewood but no shell, and I get these kinds of calls pretty often. They used to stress me out, but they usually seem like a new employee trying to impress the boss, or maybe fulfilling a quota.... Their questions are usually a little odd. Just comply with the rules by including all the necessary paperwork, even more than you need. And be cooperative on the phone. It sounds like you did both so you should be safe, keep it up. When buying rosewood now we pay for the permit to export it from the country we are buying it from, then we spend time applying and paying for the permit to export the finished guitar ... it's part of our job now so we have to charge a little more and carry on. :)

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