Tag: Gibson Guitars

Gibson Guitars to Admit Importing Illegal Timber and Will Pay Fines, US Drops Charges

Aug 6, 2012 – Gibson Guitars, whom JTMP had covered in an 2011 post about the dust-up when federal agents raided their factory and confiscated wood said to be illegal, have reached an agreement with the US government admitting they imported rare, slow-growth wood that is protected by the Lacey Act. Gibson Guitars became a cause celebre for right-wingers and "Tea Partiers" as a symbol of government overreach, and the supposed "over regulation strangling American businesses and killing American jobs."

But now NBC News reports that the president of the company, David Berryman, got a memo from a subordinate in 2008 who was in Madagascar reporting that the wood was illegal to purchase and ship back to the states; but the company apparently went through with the deal despite his warning. Gibson Guitars came to an agreement with the government, and the government has agreed to drop all charges. Gibson Guitars has agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, forfeit over $200,000 worth of illegal wood, and they will also donate $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote the preservation of rare wood and other slow-growth trees that are endangered and protected. Read more on NBC News here.

This is the dilemma with guitarists and guitar manufacturers, can we build guitars in a sustainable way? Is slow-growth wood truly the ONLY tone wood we can use? JTMP supports efforts in the guitar world using synthetic and quick-replenishing wood to help solve this crisis, like Martin's OMC Cherry that uses wood that is grown and harvested in an "ecologically responsible manner". Remember, it takes 500 years for one of these slow-growth trees to mature, and only 5 minutes to cut it down.

Gibson Guitar Plant Raided Raided by Federal Marshals, Wood Confiscated and Plant Shut Down


In stunning development, federal agents raided the Gibson Guitar plant in Nashville for allegedly importing illegal wood. In statements Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juskiewwicz  has repeatedly said he does not know why they were raided. Mr. Kuskiewicz said, "We had a raid with federal marshals armed, that came in, evacuated our factory, shut down production, sent our employees home and confiscated wood." Gibson is allegedly in violation of the Lacey Act, a conservation law passed in 1900, and repeatedly amended over the years to ban the practice of trading resources illegally obtained.

Mr. Juskiewicz also said, "The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier." Gibson Guitar has been partnering with the FSC and Greenpeace for years, and has shown to be serious in embracing sustainability and being environmentally conscious in selecting the wood they use in the manufacture of the guitars, so this has been perplexing to many people. In 1996, Gibson was one of the first guitar manufacturers to make some of its instruments from wood certified by the non-profit Forest Stewardship Council. Current estimates are up to 60% of their guitars are made from FSC-certified wood, with a pledge to get that up to 80% by 2012. On their website, they have a page showing the many causes and organizations they help support, including Global Green, an organization dedicated to sustainability and conservation. Below is a statement from Mr. Juskiewicz following the raid.

For a company statement, click here.