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government legalities

cactus t. picker

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Here is a copy of a comment I posted on the New York Times article about the settlement with the federal government. I would appreciate any feedback.




I have always loved Gibson guitars, mandolins and banjos. Their tone, craftsmanship and appearance are inspiring to me. In my life I have owned several Gibson acoustics and electrics (chinese Epiphones included) and hope to purchase a Gibson RB-250 banjo some day. The RB features an ebony fingerboard that truly contributes to the bright sound that the banjo is known for, and so is a desirable feature to me.


I have seen man-made materials being used in place of traditional tropical hardwoods with great amounts of success- Gibson uses such a material called Richlite to make the fingerboard for a new electric guitar model called the Midtown Custom. I have played this model and the board feels very comfortable. It is jet-black in color (like the most desirable ebony) and has a reputation for stability against humidity issues. I understand that dealers are having difficulty getting enough Midtowns to satisfy demand.


It is hard to determine exactly what happened with Gibson and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, but it makes me think of the past use of natural ivory for piano keys. The materials used now do not dry out, split or warp, and are unquestionably acceptable to the most discerning pianists. It seems time to reassess our choices of materials for other musical instruments as well. I wonder if Gibson will build me a Mastertone banjo with a Richlite fingerboard and help me save some money.

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