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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guitar News - Gibson Raided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agents at Nashville Factory

UPDATE: Due to some of my readers personal opinions as of late. I feel I need to do an update. There have been ongoing discussions all over about what actually happened at the Gibson factory raids. Some have even stated that Gibson is lying about how the raids were done. The most "hate" I have gotten here is for my use of SWAT photos (these are not photos from the raids in question). However Gibson have indeed stated that agents with automatic weapons raided the factory, and nothing of this have been denied by anyone. Although some of you continue to ignore this.. Anyhow this is an interesting video that sheads more light on this situation.

Here is a interview with the Gibson CEO by youtube user lesleyblooddotcom


Transcribed first minutes of video:

lesleyblooddotcom: How did this start, how did the problems with the federal government start here. You're awareness of them.

CEO: Well the first, we knew we had a problem was in November 2009. When we were having a key executive retreat and we got a call that homeland security was raiding our guitar factory. And at first we thought it was a practical joke, but the panic in peoples vioces told me that, you know it was for real. So I immediately jumped in my car and went down to the factory. And sure enough there were, you know. Several dussin of SWAT attired people with automatic weapons and bullet proof wests. And they had evacuated the plant made all the employees stand out in the parking lot. They had grabbed several of the employees, put them in small interrogation rooms with 4-5 armed people and were verbally, you know intimidating them. And then they went about and confiscated, you know almost a half million dollars of worth of wood and some guitars. And you know they wouldn't tell us why. I personally went up to agents and said what is this about, why are you here and what do you want. And their response is we cant tell you that is sealed. And so that's the most we knew for months. We still...

lesleyblooddotcom: You had no communication this was, this just came out of the blue??

CEO: No warning, no we are doing something wrong, no we are having a problem. You know it was just an ordinary day and all of a sudden we are treated like drug criminals..

For more have a look at the rest of the video interview with the Gibson CEO.

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News of interest today is this story. Gibson Guitars have been raided by federal agents. And it's not the first time either. It turns out this is the second time in less than two years that Gibson have gotten a unsuspected visit from the law.

Well what could Gibson have done to get this kind of treatment you might ask. It turns out that in order to make a guitar like Gibson do, you need good quality wood. That wood part is pretty obviouse. However some woods are illegal to use, and the sad thing is. Woods that make for great acoustics in guitars are illegal to use.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents had suspected Gibson of smuggling some of these illegal woods from India in order to make the fretboards for their guitars. The agents seized stock from Gibson's Nashville factory, woods seized included rosewood, and ebony. But that's not all they seized as well as other items travel records, shipping documents, guitars and hard drives.



This is what Gibson have on their site about the matter:

The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.


On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.
The wood the Government seized on August 24 is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and is FSC Controlled, meaning that the wood complies with the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an industry-recognized and independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC Controlled Wood standards require, among other things, that the wood not be illegally harvested and not be harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights.

In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.

Wow that sure is something reading that, imagine you sit there at you're workbench someday building a guitar.. All of a sudden BANG door flies open in comes a bunch of agents with machineguns and yelling, GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR, GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR.. FEDERAL AGENTS.. And you look up and have a couple of gun barrels pointing at you're face. Better not move, you might get you're head blown off over a matter of wood.


Well that might not be what happened but we all have seen the movies, reality shows with these kinds of raids. I would not like having guns pointed at me. And I don't care if it's federal agents.


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Guitar Pro 6: chord diagram, digital tuner, guiitar fretboard HideMyAss.com

Some thoughts about guitar courses and guitar lessons online

Pointers when you buy guitars like electric guitars and acoustic guitars with all the guitar gear avaliable


Nowdays you can find electric guitars for sale and acoustic guitars for sale on the www. You can even find some nice pa speakers and guitar gear if you want. But back in the day and probably even still today, it's a common thing that you would look around, maybe in the newspaper or go to town to look if you could find an acoustic electric guitar for sale that you like. Most would go to a music store that have electric guitars for sale or acoustic guitars for sale and then spend some time in the music store playing before they make the decision and buy a guitar. Now let me tell you that going to a music store would probably be best for a beginner because he or she would then also get advice from the store about what guitar gear and guitar accessories that would be best to look at also for the beginner guitar player.


But we guitarists that have been playing now for many, many years are more and more starting to look on the www when it's time for us to buy guitar however we are not always after new ones though. I have been having my eye on one acoustic electric guitar for sale now for some time, it's a Yamaha but it's the handcrafted one and it's got a great guitar sound. However if I go ahead and buy guitar at the local store that would cost me a bit more, so that's why I have been turning more to WWW music stores that have this acoustic electric guitar for sale. Most of the time. However because it's a handmade guitar few stores have it in stock. So I'm still searching but maybe someday I will find a place that have my acoustic electric guitar for sale so I can be happy with my buy.


The thing is that when you do come across a place that let you buy acoustic guitars and you find your acoustic electric guitar for sale or a place that have a lot of different electric guitars for sale you start to look at what more they got in stock. Like oh lets see, I could use new pa speakers and some guitar gear would be nice. I don't think you could have to little guitar gear because you are kind of limited in your guitar playing otherwise. Well I think it's like with everything else that in the end you come out with an even more expensive acoustic electric guitar or whatever it was than the one you had you're eye on.


Want the hear something silly? Did you know that now you can even get guitar jewelry I mean what is that? They didn't have guitar jewelry when I grew up, or at least it wasn't that "big". When I was a kid you would be lucky if you got a music stand or guitar case to go along with your new guitar. I think this have more to do with the fact that a lot of artists today have rap jewelry or music jewelry that they wear. You know there are also gold guitar picks now.. Well I don't think gold guitar picks are somethig that new but if you start to look at the whole picture. You begin to see with all this guitar jewelry and music jewelry with gold guitar picks and, did I leave something out? Oh yeah rap jewelry is not to be forgotten. So you know there is a lot of stuff out there.


Now I don't think you can have enough of either acoustic guitars or electric guitars but because you now easily can buy electric guitars on the www and easily buy guitars on the WWW you might want to think a bit about which guitars you want before you go on a spending spree. Make up a plan, look at your style of playing and go from there.


So now you have your guitar and guitar gear but how do you play?



Well everyone started out somewhere didn't we. I however did not take any guitar courses when I started out. Well actually now that I think about it I did take a basic guitar course back in middle school. But this was a few years before I really picked up the guitar and made a effort to learn to play guitar and play my first songs. And back then we only played some really easy chords, you know simple stuff. Now more than 13 years on looking back at how I have evolved as a guitar player I do see that I could have very much evolved quicker with guitar lessons online than without them.


However back then we didn't good guitar lessons online that you can get today. There are even some good free online guitar lessons out there now that would be suitable beginner guitar lessons for you young people. However I know that there are a lot of you "old" guys and gals out there that also want to learn how to play guitar and just because your not young and "nimble" does not mean you can't learn to play guitar also. I know there are some very good musicians out there that didn't start to play until they were middle age and it turned out that they could play really good.


When it comes to guitar lessons online you should not get turned off if you come across guitar lessons online that don't suit you. Because we all learn different. Some of us are quick learners and other (like me) it takes us a bit longer. And how well we learn to play guitar is not only up to you but also the guitar teachers. If you are lucky you find some guitar courses with guitar teacher that you like and stick with them.


But again we all learn different so what works for some might not be what works for you. Me on the other hand I tend to play guitar as a hobby, and because of that I don't like to play if I'm not in the mood. That's another thing that's great with online guitar courses because you get to decide when it's the best time for you to learn to play guitar not the other way around. Otherwise you would need to keep an appointment to your guitar course and be "forced" to play even though not really in the mood. On the other hand playing guitar makes me in a good mood, so don't get too upset about you sending your kids away to their guitar courses


You should look around at what guitar courses are available and if your a beginner then some beginner guitar lessons are where you should be looking for first. And even though you know a little how to play guitar already. I'm sure it would be good for you to start out with a beginner guitar lesson first because there are always something that you can learn. You would not want to "play wrong" for a number of years only to find out way later that you should not move your arm when you strum the guitar now do you? Well Steve Vai does that, and he's pretty good you know, but that's one thing that guitar teachers point out that you should not do. Move your wrist instad, that gives you better control. It's the small things like, holding a guitar pick and sitting straight that you miss out on without some good guitar lessons and I'm not kidding.


Something like that could happen to you if you don't get your basics right from the start. So go ahead and look around for some good guitar lessons online I have a selection on this page at the top if you are interested. And remember it should be fun, but it will take some practice but that's one thing that good guitar teachers should be able to help you with.

Songwriters and music producers usually started out after learning guitar

So now you have you're guitar and know how to play


We all evolve, with anything we do we get better and sooner or later we start to seek more challenges. The natural step for a new guitar player would be to either join a band or start a band. However some of you will go on and make your own music and become music producers or songwriters full time. There are a few things that differ though. If you're in a band, probably a small one.. What you really need is recording labels or a record deal to get you onto the big stage. Someone to promote music that you make, of course you can promote your music yourself. One thing you can do to promote your band is to join a music contest instead. That will help PROMOTE MUSIC because it will get people talking if you are good enough. There are some major record labels accepting demos that you can go to but if you promote your band doing music contests and win you might even get music promotion companies to get their eyes / ears open to your music and contact you.


There's no secret that music agents and music publishers are present in the crowd from time to time, and if you do good this will get you offers from recording labels for sure. If you're a songwriter or lyricist you probably want to sell music and the big question is how to sell music to record companies if your an unknown lyricist. There's no big secret really, if your music is good and you make yourself seen chances are you will get in contact with independent record labels and if you start to get out there and get yourself known, then upcoming bands will also be in contact with you.

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