A Guitar Player's Guide To CITES: All You Need To Know

December 20, 2016

A Guitar Player's Guide To CITES: All You Need To Know

A new CITES regulation taking effect on January 2, 2017 will control the sale of any guitar which contains rosewood. Find out how it'll affect YOU!

Rosewood fretboard.

As we all know, rosewood is commonly used in many electric and acoustic guitars. But from January 2, 2017, trade of any instrument containing any amount of Rosewood (including East Indian rosewood, Honduran rosewood and Kosso - known as African Rosewood) besides cocobolo and African blackwood. In total, 300 different species of rosewood will now be protected, under the new trade restrictions. 


CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. 

A CITES summit took place last September, in Johannesburg, South Africa, when Governments decided to crackdown on illegal trading of Rosewood.

How Will CITES affect YOU as a guitarist?

  • In short - the sale of any guitar which uses rosewood will be affected one way or the other, because of the new regulation - but only if the guitar is being sold to a different country than your own. Over 100 nations are subjected to this new ruling.
  • All sellers must apply for a CITES certificate, proving source of rosewood is legal, if shipping a guitar to a different country.
  • Ebay and Reverb sellers will be subjected to regulation, too.
  • Prices might go up as manufacturers and dealers will seek to offset the extra fees they'll have to pay.
  • Rosewood fingerboards can become less popular, as manufacturers might move to different types of wood to avoid the extra bureaucracy.

Do you want to know more? Subscribe to our CITES updates mailing list and make sure you'll get any more news as they become available, and get our FREE CITES GUIDE in pdf format when you confirm your subscription!

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