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Please note that as of August 28, 2019, the World Trade Organization and members of CITES have determined that Musical Instruments and Musical Instrument Dealers are not subject to the “General Rosewood” regulation put into place as of January 1, 2017.  If an instrument has less than 10Kg of mass associated with any Rosewood (Excepting Brazilian Rosewood, which is still endangered and subject to all CITES regulation), said instrument will not require CITES certification or a permit from the USDA.  It may, in my own professional opinion, be a good idea to have the USDA certification (not CITES), but the USDA permit or “passport” associated with your instrument, if you travel extensively.

Please see the following articles:

The Strad on CITES Exemptions

NAMM and their report on CITES

Again, Brazilian Rosewood is still protected, as I personally and professionally believe that it should be as such.  This also makes most of the language below moot, for all intents and purposes.  I have fought constantly to have a voice of reason and logic in this regard, and finally, reasonable minds have prevailed.  Almost 3 years of this nonsense, and much heartache for many, me included, will come to a conclusion come the end of November, 2019, when the new rulings take legal effect.  Hooray for common sense!  That will be all.  Thank you for your kind attention.  Richard F. Sayage


There is much to be concerned about as a dealer of musical instruments regarding the latest CITES regulations put into effect as of January 2, 2017.  These regulations also affect clients abroad that wish to purchase instruments from Savage Classical Guitar who live outside of the United States of America, including Canada and Mexico.  Rest assured that my staff and I are working on research, documentation, a Master File with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and their Division of Management Authority.

Make no mistake, this is a large undertaking for all agencies involved, including SCG (us).  There are permits, time restrictions, monies, lists to be created (current inventory) and paperwork trails that need to be created upon our importing of guitars, as well as the paperwork needed for Domestic guitar builders, who must provide paperwork in line with CITES regulations, aside from the Lacey Act regulations.  This means more work for all involved, from the luthier to SCG as a dealer and potential Importer/Exporter of finished instruments.

This new legislation, which has gone into effect as of January 2, 2017, encompasses all Rosewoods, not simply Brazilian Rosewood.  Cocobolo, Madagascar, all CSA Rosewoods, African Blackwood (yes, its a Rosewood), East Indian Rosewoods, etc are part of the new legislation.  As far as we know, bridges and headstocks made with any kind of Rosewood are under this mandate as well.  Less expensive guitars, with Rosewood necks, are also affected.  All stockpiles, guitars, from a luthier and dealer viewpoint, must have a catalog and declaration of ownership regarding the wood source or the guitar provenance.  This includes guitars and wood stocks dated before 2017, and certainly anything dated 2017 or later, moving forward.

Do we agree with the legislation and the burden upon luthiers and dealers?  That’s neither here nor there.  It must be done, and we are working it very hard.  Failure is not an option in this regard.

A question might arise as to expected cost increases?

  • This has yet to be quantified.  Permit costs are not expensive.  The time involved in the learning process, the application process, etc is more valuable, to both the luthier and ourselves.  I do not have an answer for any of you as yet.  I will hope that the costs will be nominal, certainly going forward as the learning curve tilts more towards an equilibrium point of relative seamless scale.
  • Answered – the cost for CITES and Lacey Act Paperwork will be $200 for guitar eligible for International Transport.
  • Please note that not ALL guitars are Eligible.  I have added a row to the bottom table listings for CITES Eligibility.

Might there be delays in getting a guitar shipped, for example, to the UK or Japan?

  • The answer is yes, most assuredly.  Timeline for proper paperwork to be filed is, for now, being measured in months.  Again, I assure you, that paperwork is in the process of being filed with USF&W, a master file is being created, and I am hard at work preparing for at least 150 permits to be issued (partial permits, as there is no way to know which guitars will be bought Internationally).  I have my staff working on this as of last month, preparing for compliance with all US and International authorities involved.
  • As of July 2018, we are seeing 3 months minimum to process CITES paperwork through the US F&W – whereas the USDA permit process can happen in one day?  I have nothing further to add on that.  My silence is menacing however.

Is my purchase guaranteed with SCG?

  • Yes, again, most assuredly.  I back and guarantee all purchases, funds, guitars as well as insuring them thoroughly.  It is all part of my cost of doing business, and I happily do so for the protection of my clientele.  Saying this, there are no refunds simply because the process is taking too long.  Your funds are safe, but subject to a 10-20% fee upon refunding your monies if you choose to not wait for your paperwork to come through official channels.  I am disclosing this clearly so that there is no misunderstanding.  There is time and effort and actual monies passed along for the completion of said paperwork.  It will take time, at least at first.  I do not know the future, and will not sit here making “out of thin air” predictions.  Government agencies are difficult to begin with, especially when they do not know what they are doing.  Getting a straight answer from them (my personal experience) is a pipe-dream.  There does exist a caveat in all of this, as explained in the following page.  Please read it thoroughly, as there are zero exceptions to this policy

What about guitars that are built in 2017 and going forward?

  • This, at the very least, is the straightest answer I can provide.  All luthiers must catalog and have paperwork for their supply of wood, purchasing of future wood stocks as far as their own workshop is concerned and paperwork for that particular guitar using registered woods.  That paperwork must accompany any guitar sent to me, which, of course, will then be forwarded to you as part of the “paperwork” package that I provide with every guitar.  I wouldn’t suggest losing it as it will be an important part of your provenance for any particular instrument, proof of legality, allowing you to register with USF&W so that you may travel abroad with your guitar, if you so wish.
  • Please note that many stocks from luthiers are pre-Convention, but if the guitar has a date of 2017 or later on it, they may not have the paperwork to define “legal” as per CITES conventions.  Bear in mind that this caught many if not all luthiers by surprise.  They didn’t think to keep origin paperwork, or they inherited the woods used from an older luthier, etc.  No paperwork means no International Transport.
  • What that means is the guitar cannot be legally transported along International lines.

Helpful links (maybe not so helpful, but at least something  LOL)…

There are many questions.  I do not have answers as of yet.  We are working on them.  As I know more, I will post to this page.  You are always free to call me at 631-335-5447 with any intelligent questions. My best, always! Rich – call me at 631-335-5447 – my personal email is here  rsayage1 at savageclassical dot com