What is CITES?
CITES are a worldwide, environmental body that act to protect endangered wild fauna and flora. In 2017, largely in order to crack down on illegal furniture trade, they added all species of Rosewood to their protected species list. In effect, this now means that when any product containing Rosewood crosses International borders, it requires an import and export permit.
The impact on the Music Industry
Many musical instrument manufacturers have reluctantly come to the decision that the cost of obtaining a permit for the use of Rosewood is not financially viable, and as a result have discontinued lines of instruments containing Rosewood. Companies such as Fender, Pono, Kala, etc, are no longer using Rosewood for fretboards and bridges, and are using other woods such as Walnut, Pau Ferro, etc.
Noah Ukuleles Rosewood / Spruce Series
All Noah Ukuleles are handmade, and use a variety of solid woods. Fortunately, the wood which we use on our bridges and fretboards does not in fact belong to the Rosewood species. It is a dark hardwood which certainly resembles Rosewood in appearance but belongs to a different genus – Sindora, instead of Dalbergia.
However, we do use Indian Rosewood on the back and sides of our Rosewood / Spruce Series. Much of this wood we have reclaimed from old furniture which means that it is not possible to prove the origin of it and obtain necessary permits. As a result, the decision has been taken to discontinue the Noah Rosewood / Spruce Series and so there will be no more of these made going forward. This is obviously a great shame, but of course I am fully supportive of all measures undertaken to protect endangered species and it is up to instrument manufacturers to turn to other woods which are not under threat.
Currently, I still have a small number of Rosewood / Spruce models in stock in all sizes and they are available to buy from my website shop. Providing you are based in the UK and are not planning to take a ukulele outside of the EU, as an instrument owner you will not have any problems with CITES laws. As Rosewood instruments become increasingly rare, it is expected that the price of them will increase so now might be a good time to add one to your ukulele collection 🙂