Gibson Factory Raided By FBI

Federal agents have seized guitars, wood stocks and computer data in a major raid on Gibson, the first since 2009.

9
Federal agents have raided the Gibson Guitar factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, computer data and guitars. Gibson's chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz accused the Justice Department of bulying their company, saying their wood is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and that the feds are using needlessly aggressive tactics. Agents last seized guitars and wood from Gibson in 2009, and the resulting case continues under the title "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms." On that occasion, the wood was seized to find out whether Gibson had been making instruments out of wood from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony which is known for making excellent fretboards, though according to the Wall Street Journal, this is not by itself an illegal offence. The current raid seems to be to discover whether wood sourced from India met importing requirements. Other instrument companies could be feeling the heat, with the potential for their businesses to see the same kind of raid on their stock. John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues guitarist, says "there's a lot of anxiety, and it's well justified." He once took his vintage guitars along on his travels, but no more. Now, "I don't go out of the country with a wooden guitar." Some musicians are reportedly settling for carbon fiber instruments to avoid the implications of transporting certain woods worldwide.

168 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    fastlanestoner
    wow...didn't know that wood was such a big deal. wtf? now I can't tour japan? I luled at the "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms." line
    121lespaul
    i feel like all this is gonna do is promote gibson and other companies to stop producing american guitars and send it to a foriegn country! Way to go U.S. Government get rid of yet another american made product! im ashamed to be an american right now!!
    beanerlove44
    Pit_ wrote: There probably was some halucinogen fungus infesting all that wood. Good thing they seized it, who would want trippin' guitars?
    I wood. But seriously, this is a bunch of bull. Eco-loving Libs... I love trees, animals, and the likes, but this is truly outrageous! Im still in shock that our taxes go to nonsense like this, instead of making out country a safer place. Or, paying off our tiny, little bar tab we've racked up...
    BornOfBoredom
    wow the FBI are ****in retarded using all these resources on somethin thats "according to the Wall Street Journal, not by itself an illegal offence." what a load a shit
    Who66
    jetwash69 wrote: Silversleep wrote: Just because you repeat things some college professors and a relatively few other elitists have said doesn't make those ideas superior to other opinions. The same goes for what I'm saying, by the way. But at least I acknowledge that and don't revert to name-calling. It's called intellectual tolerance, and the farther you get from center (in either direction) the less you see it.
    yes it does- see, college professors, scientists (you know,"elites" as in having synapsing neurons unlike the majority of this thread) and such are the INFORMED ones on issues like global warming. I don't really have an issue with the FBI prosecuting companies that might be abusing environmental regulations. that said, gotta love that they got a guy name John Thomas quoted in an article about wood.
    Igamikun
    That's why I play my Fenders! Most of their alder comes right out of Oregon where I live. I've even got some slightly faulty bodies for free from employees after a factory got shut down here. They work perfect for me!
    HectorBznRg
    To some comments above... We are not running out of trees obviously, but we are running out of TONEWOODS, which are the ones we make guitars with... You cant make guitars out of a ficus let me tell you...
    OctoberWind
    jsspang wrote: on3andth3sam3 wrote: they're supposed to run out of popular guitar building woods in under 15 years or so, so get them while they're still here. How stupid!!! I know you read that on this site, I read that article too. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Man has the ability to plant trees. They will never "run out of trees"
    But it'll probably take a while for trees that have been replanted to grow to a useable size. So we'll never "run out", just not have any suitable poplar trees for some time.
    oldmetallica
    this all a conspiracy orchestrated by Gibson as an excuse to raise guitar prices....just kidding. but this is ****ed. **** the fed.
    marshmellow666
    this is kind of like making food out of endagered animals, eating food isnt illegal but the killing of the endangered animal is yo
    cmford
    Skuzzmo wrote: EG Basswood takes 90 to 140 years to mature..... Hope everyone like Pine guitars.....
    Until the pine beetles eat all of those up... Quick, get your Gibson before the beetles do. Damn you Ringo!!!
    BasSXWarrior
    Solution. STOP CUTTING TREES AND WASTING THEM ON PAPER AND OTHER USELESS CRAP, Make all that useless CRAP WITH HEMP.... God this world makes me angry. We kill giant trees that change Co2 to oxygen (we're polluting ourselves with co2) and building more cars to put on the road with it. See where this imbalance is heading ?
    Skuzzmo
    OctoberWind wrote: jsspang wrote: on3andth3sam3 wrote: they're supposed to run out of popular guitar building woods in under 15 years or so, so get them while they're still here. How stupid!!! I know you read that on this site, I read that article too. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Man has the ability to plant trees. They will never "run out of trees" But it'll probably take a while for trees that have been replanted to grow to a useable size. So we'll never "run out", just not have any suitable poplar trees for some time.
    EG Basswood takes 90 to 140 years to mature..... Hope everyone like Pine guitars.....
    judo_john
    espal wrote: Well, I guess if their chairmen go behind bars, they'll get A LOT of ebony wood
    YOU! my good man. ARE A LEGEND! XD
    Mad_Blue
    Mainer wrote: Pit_ wrote: There probably was some halucinogen fungus infesting all that wood. Good thing they seized it, who would want trippin' guitars? I Would!
    DMT anybody? Sorry Double Post
    Geo.~
    "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms" thats a great porn movie lol
    wolvenrick
    i got myself a nice gibson les paul from 2008 are they going to raid my home now? wonder if it will be worth something later on xD not that i'd ever sell it but you never know what you're children do with it when you're dead!
    shaggy-mess
    InterYoSista wrote: fastlanestoner wrote: wow...didn't know that wood was such a big deal. You mong. This has to be the stupidest thing ive read. Wood is obviously not only important to guitars(although your guitar is probably made of air) but to the rainforests that are being demolished at the alarming rate they are. As for touring Japan, just be grateful if you ever get out of the caravan park.
    Some one appears to hate everyone. Chill out bro, what happened to peace and love.
    bassetrox
    i_am_metalhead wrote: I wish they would raid Gibson for making sub-par instruments. There should be a law against lowering the quality of your product and riding on your name. =(
    +1
    metalhed0294
    "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms."
    Wait, we're in a court case against wood? WTF?
    Flynn Oslo
    Is that what my ****ing tax dollars go towards? How about do your job and go and bust some criminals.
    Xelested
    jsspang wrote: I'm European anyway. Land of the free. HAHA, you mean land where everything cost 3x more because of taxes, and everyone lives in broom closets because no one can afford a house!!!
    Countries don't run on happy thoughts. Maybe you should take a look at that US Debt Clock?
    flyneye
    You can damn bet some whiney-ass enviro-nazis are behind this. No one would even suspect illegal wood if some know-nothing enviro-liberal didn't go off on an attention-***** thing and start singin' "OOO, well I'll just say this big guitar company is using illegal wood, that way they'll have to switch to recycled cardboard and I'll be a HERO. I really can change the world just like the commercial said". Yeah change the world alright, make it a lousy place to live. If enviro-fools want to start changing the world they should leap into the Grand Canyon like lemmings. JUST FOR STARTERS.
    travs2448
    flyneye wrote: You can damn bet some whiney-ass enviro-nazis are behind this. No one would even suspect illegal wood if some know-nothing enviro-liberal didn't go off on an attention-***** thing and start singin' "OOO, well I'll just say this big guitar company is using illegal wood, that way they'll have to switch to recycled cardboard and I'll be a HERO. I really can change the world just like the commercial said". Yeah change the world alright, make it a lousy place to live. If enviro-fools want to start changing the world they should leap into the Grand Canyon like lemmings. JUST FOR STARTERS.
    Amen to that!!! honestly only a liberal WOULD do this to one of the few remaining reputable American companies! and people wonder why no one does business or manufactures stuff in America any more?
    Mainer
    Pit_ wrote: There probably was some halucinogen fungus infesting all that wood. Good thing they seized it, who would want trippin' guitars?
    I Would!
    Rockwell92
    Why is everyone getting angry already. If I understand the article correctly the FBI is going to check if the wood is illegal (if it is, that's Gibson's mistake). Isn't that supposed a good thing? And going as far as mentioning the whole 'police state'stuff, I mean seriously? That's going way beyond the point. And who the hell cares if some lame professor is too chicken to travel with his vintage guitars. That's his opinion, remember the other 99% of the guitarists in the world who perform everywhere around the world?
    zomgguitarz1234
    CaliforniaKid wrote: DrCOOL wrote: More wasted time, money, and man power on pointless shit. Way to go America! Thanks for making us look like more of a sorry joke than we already do. This.
    Yeah we should save all our money and let huge companies plow through rain forests and eradicate all the wood that is extremely important building material. I mean who needs extremely valuable resources when we're all losing a few bucks out of our pockets!?
    KenG
    nnb wrote: wes_jett2008 wrote: on3andth3sam3 wrote: they're supposed to run out of popular guitar building woods in under 15 years or so, so get them while they're still here. i've played a few carbon fiber guitars, and although they play amazingly, to me, it doesn't come close. You are aware that wood is a renewable resource right? You are aware that most of the wood there looking for is from trees that are 100's if not 1000's year old? Not to get into an argument over wood but there is a different in the quality.
    Sorry not 1000's of years old! a coupleof hundred at most is mosre likely, tress do have a life span. Any tree obatining it's maximum life is likely unsuitable for use anyway.
    flyneye
    Maybe if they put their money where their big damn mouths are and BOUGHT some land in SUDAN and set it aside for the RARE ebony they seek to preserve, then enviro nuts could actually make the damn difference they're robbing us to do, but be actually EFFECTIVE!
    jjbarnes
    Anjohl wrote: I don't want to support this trend of unsustainable wood exploitation, but I would *never* play a guitar that wasn't made of wood. That being said, the problem is that there are WAY too many guitars made each year. All these terrible chinese imports, these throw away dispoable guitars that noone will keep and cherish...this is why we need more domestic guitar production. Gibson produces a sub $700 MIA SG/LP line. If you cannot afford 5-6 hundred dollars for a guitar, find another hobby.
    What about those of us who love to play guitar, but are poor? I only play epiphones because I found an epiphone that I absolutely love playing and it was less than $500. Epiphone is also Gibson's cutting edge/research guitar as well. I don't see any coil-tapped gibsons or Gibson LP Ultra IIIs, only epis.
    Mad_Blue
    Geo.~ wrote: "United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms" thats a great porn movie lol
    ++1 HAHAHA I was thinking the same thing...I have some foreign wood I would like to see the FBI try to take over....come on ITS A TREE!!! I love nature just as much as the next person if not more but come on that's why we replant after cutting down and how does wood not meat requirements?...Did I miss this in making wood 101? Did I not rub it the right way?
    Mad_Blue
    *picks up guitar and strums a g-chord* I play these songs in dedication to everybody here ....Why can't we be friend's?...Why can't we be friend's? And The Beatles put it best....Can't we all live on a yellow submarine, beneath the waves in the sea of green, with all of our ffiend's on board and many more of them living next door...with sky's of blue and seas of green on this yellow submarine?
    jetwash69
    Who66 wrote: jetwash69 wrote: Silversleep wrote: Just because you repeat things some college professors and a relatively few other elitists have said doesn't make those ideas superior to other opinions. The same goes for what I'm saying, by the way. But at least I acknowledge that and don't revert to name-calling. It's called intellectual tolerance, and the farther you get from center (in either direction) the less you see it. yes it does- see, college professors, scientists (you know,"elites" as in having synapsing neurons unlike the majority of this thread) and such are the INFORMED ones on issues like global warming. I don't really have an issue with the FBI prosecuting companies that might be abusing environmental regulations. that said, gotta love that they got a guy name John Thomas quoted in an article about wood.
    "...Some college professors and a relatively few other elitists..." Not all college professors. And I said "elitists", not "elites". After a bachelors degree, two masters, and with professional certifications in progress, I can tell you it is difficult to find a lot of professors (or scientists) who will completely agree on anything. And you'll find the whole political spectrum represented in academia--including those with beliefs you view as uninformed. Since you brought up global warming, perhaps you should read the recent article in the Economist (not your right-of center -type publication) that basically attributes global warming to sun spot activity. And yet still advocates carbon controls (too much money to be made from that cash cow). I stopped supporting "environmentalist" causes after working with too many of their leaders and once they dropped their guard revealed their real motivation was anticapitalism. Their fights weren't making a significant difference for the environment, but they were doing significant damage to local economies--while hypocritically lining their pockets with unethical fundraising practices. Regardless, my only real points were watch out what you vote for because you may not like it if you get it, and beware of intellectual intolerance whether it comes from the far Right, the far Left, or anywhere else. The first indication is name-calling, and that often foreshadows weakness of justification in the argument.
    limpidgreen345
    Everybody's a philosopher now. Good to know. It seems to me this whole wood ordeal is a solution in search of a problem.
    limpidgreen345
    Black Hazard wrote: Then again, 99.9% of the stories posted here are fake bullshit.
    That's the worst kind of bullshit!
    OldRhoadsFan
    Think I'll put in an application for the FBI....I really need a Les Paul Traditional Plus in Cherry Sunburst.
    buddhatheory13
    Wow. To the gentleman who mentioned European money being more valueable, that is in fact true. However, that means you would be using less of your currency, not more, to equal what we have to use. For example, if your currency is worth twice that of the American dollar, you would be using 1 half the amount of currency we would use in order to make a purchase of an item valued at said dollar amount. Not trying to argue, and I don't necessarily disagree with you; but to call someone out for making an uninformed statement, you should probably think about what youre saying first...
    Black Hazard
    Wow, you'd think the FBI would have better things to do than play guitar. Then again, 99.9% of the stories posted here are fake bullshit.