Help Gibson Guitars Stay in Business

I don’t know if you caught this in the news or not, but Gibson has had some problems with some wood that they’ve imported (been doing it the same way for years on end) and as a result, they’ve got problems with the federal government.

I won’t get into the finer points of the story, but if you’re interested, you can find more details herehere and here.

Suffice it to say that Gibson has done its best to be on the right side of the law in this issue, but they’re catching flak regardless.

Anyways, Gibson has reached out to everyone on the internet to give them a hand, and hopefully lend some weight to the petition. I’m doing my part, and re-posting their email below.



We at Gibson wanted to thank you for all your support. For anyone wondering how they can make a true impact and tell the government how they feel–here’s how!
Simply Click here and sign the petition to help make the Lacey Act fair. By signing you can ensure that you’ll be heard—and that your message will go directly to the President.


On Wednesday, August 24th, 2011, agents for the U.S. government executed four search warrants on Gibson Guitar’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The raids forced Gibson to cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service executed the search warrants for ebony and rosewood that was imported from India.

The federal officials claim that Gibson violated the Lacey Act, which stipulates that a company cannot import wood in a manner that’s against the laws of the country the wood is coming from. However, Gibson has complied with Indian law and no concerns have been raised by the Indian government.

“Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.”

Juszkiewicz believes that the Justice Department is bullying Gibson without filing charges. This is the second time Gibson has been raided by the federal government (the first was in 2009), yet no charges have been filed and the materials confiscated on both occasions remain in federal hands.

Gibson is reaching out to all Gibson Guitar fans, Gibson Guitar dealers, artists, musicians, members of the media, bloggers, politicians and anyone who loves the guitar to sign this petition and demand:
• The current investigation of Gibson will be stopped and brought to a fair and conclusive settlement
• The Lacey Act will be amended to provide clear guidance on how corporations can comply
• Consumers will not be prosecuted for owning or transporting instruments for their own use
“Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights,” Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”
For more information go to

Leave a Reply 13 comments

Jim Smith - September 29, 2011 Reply

I’ve been a guitar and bass player, collector and general hobbyist for many decades. Love the history of instuments and their makers.

I like Fender, Squier and Danelectro instruments, and am passionate about Vox instruments and their many copies and replicas.

The non-SG Les Pauls have never interested me in the slightest, but I think the Gibson ES-335 is one of the great masterpieces of electric guitar design and sound. I also like many of the classic Epiphone models Gibson has continued to manufacture.

Rumors I have heard on the street and online have said Gibson treats their USA factory employees like Shinola, and the decline in the quality of their instruments I’ve observed over the past few years seems to support that. Meanwhile, workers at Fender’s Corona, California plant seem to be happy campers by comparison.

I don’t know the validity of the government’s beef, and hate to see any American legend have tough times, but maybe it’s indirect karma backlash?

    charles williams - December 3, 2011 Reply

    hey dh jim get with the program the workers i know have nothing but good to say about gibson and most of what you here on the street is dumb the goverment was out of line

Mark Zimmerman - October 5, 2011 Reply

I have been a devotee, admirer and customer of Gibson guitars since 1976 when I purchased the Ebony (black) Les Paul Custom, from Manny’s in NYC.
In 1991 I purchased a sunburst Les Paul Standard. It is dyn-o-mite.
I hope Gibson can extricate themselves from this legal matter as soon as possible.

Jim Smith - October 7, 2011 Reply

Gibson, like Martin, is an American legend and institution that will never die. Enthusiasts, investors, well-to-do musicians or combinations of the above will always be there to step up and buy the name, design patents, etc.

Based on other guitar brands’ experiences, production should be interrupted briefly, if at all.

Retail giant Sam Ash, manufacturing conglomerate Yamaha and even (Dark Side alert) Fender are candidates that immediately spring to mind.

I am the second owner of my father’s Washburn parlor guitar, received by him as a gift at the age of 12 in 1923. My middle chose a Washburn D10 as his first acoustic at the same age in 1997.

    Jim Smith - October 7, 2011 Reply

    Meant to say middle SON.

    And his first electic was a reissue Danelectro U2, reintroduced in 1998.

    Instruments have a tiny fraction of the number of parts that go into most other significant consumer product investments. Cad-cam, lasers and other advances have improved quality by making parts interchangeable, rducing skinlled labor man-hours. So the survival/availability of great, proven designs is not the challenge it was in the past.

Dr T - October 10, 2011 Reply

It appears that the time is coming when using the traditional woods on the guitars that we have all known is coming to an end. Cry all you want to, but we (collectively) are going to have to think of something else.

Which brings into focus my next point. I have recently purchased an Ovation (Applause), and I find the sound and the feel of the instrument to be quite acceptable…
in fact, very good. Even the plastic compound they use on the neck is VERY good. I am not a industrial scientist, but I have a feeling that even trash plastic mixtures could be used with surprising results…however there is a BUT to that, and that is there is no “bragging rights” related to plastic products…and my reply is “get over it folks”. Get over the idea that you must brag about everything that you have. It’s ridiculous! Find another way to make yourself feel special. It’s time to change, and let’s get going.

    charles williams - December 3, 2011 Reply

    another dh has spoken

Jim Smith - October 10, 2011 Reply

Thanks for your input, Dr. T!

Fender is charging a premium for their recently introduced pine-body Telecasters. Doubt if there will be a shortage of maple for necks, and we can do without a rosewood cap if necessary, I’m a recent convert to maple fretboards.

The woods used are VITAL to the sounds produced by an acoustic guitar. But in the case of electrics wood is 1% of the sound at most IMO. It’s almost all in the pickups and amp. Les Paul proved this by building electric guitars with bodies made from railroad ties and even the metal rails!

Django Reinhardt, one of the GREATEST guitarists of the 20th century, put his name on plastic acoustics produced by Maccaferri in the early ’50s. These were not toys but serious instruments, collected to this day. Who knows, maybe carbon fiber or another advanced material will contribute to an indestructible acoustic, equally at home onstage or at the beach.

Paul Robinson - November 14, 2011 Reply

I also read all manufacturers are importing the same woods; but Gibson is the only one that is non-union and donates only to the Republican Party? So why is Eric Holder not going after the rest of them? Think about it….there is no acceptable answer.

    charles williams - December 3, 2011 Reply

    well spoken paul thats what dh jim and dh dr t are notsaying and what real guitarist wants aplastic or carbon fiber guitar and even electric guitars the wood makes the sound and the neck useful idoits like them are why we hav eric holder in thr first place

    BR - October 31, 2015 Reply

    That doesn’t surprise me at all. Obama has to have his greasy little had in everything that is good so he can tear it down. Idiot!!!

geoff hampson - November 29, 2011 Reply

i am sad to hear gibson are going through this bullying , and it should stop , why do it to one manufacturer and not the others , i have owned five gibsons in my life , i received a gold star from gibson for my continuos support and i still own a gibson les paul 60s special , and i love it . god bless you gibson and dont let them get the better of you . ps , by the way guys , this is a petition not a forum , sign it or get out and go play your fenders !

Douglas MacMillan - December 23, 2011 Reply

The current investigation of Gibson should be stopped and brought to a fair and conclusive settlement. Does the government want all guitars to be made in Asia? How about protecting American jobs and American brand names. Certainly these agents have better things to do or are they that hard up for work? Perhaps a little dowmsizing would be in order as they seem bent on destroying jobs.

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