It was forced to change the materials it uses to make guitars after the federal government in the US clamped down on the manufacture of exotic wood, leading Gibson to change its methods to a fire-hardened wood called torrefied maple.
Nighthawk Studios are the first instruments to have the composite wood instead of traditional rosewood and ebony, but Henry Juszkiewicz, Gibson’s chief executive, has suggested that the move might be a temporary one.
He is lobbying the government over the country’s oldest federal wildlife law to cover illegal logging, called the Lacey Act, asking for it to be amended.
According to the Washington Post, Mr Juszkiewicz hopes to amend the law in order to provide greater certainty for instrument manufacturers and dealers about illegal logging and for musicians who have bought instruments made of illegal wood.
Gibson is also fighting to exempt any wood products owned before May 2008 from the law and protect those who unknowingly own illegal wood sources.
As for the new range of approved-material guitars, Mr Juszkiewicz has said that he will wait to see what Gibson fans think of them.
Last summer, federal agents raided Gibson factories in Memphis and Nashville and seized more than 10,000 fingerboards that were made from Indian rosewood. However, no charges have been filed and the manufacturer has – until lobbying is over – begun producing the composite fingerboards instead.
The iconic guitar maker prides itself on producing luxury instruments and earlier this year it released the highly-anticipated Gibson Firebird X electric guitar to huge acclaim.
Based on the classic 1960s Firebird model, the new version comes with the latest technology in electric sound, fourth-generation automatic tuners, wireless Bluetooth pedals and other features.
It is made from swamp ash, with a maple neck and fingerboard.
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