Guitars, Amplifiers, Tariffs, CITES

Anyone have any experience moving guitars and amplifiers from the U.S. to France?
We plan on moving to France and I need to decide if I should keep any of my guitars and amps. I’m interested in what the tariffs might be and also the new CITES regulations concerning rosewood and mahogany and what documentation might be required.
Two of the guitars and two of the amps are from the 1960’s, and I have no documentation as to the purchase price, value or the wood used in the guitars’ construction.
Also, does it make a difference if we brought the items with us or had them shipped?

Any help would be appreciated.


I truly have no idea… but a quick Google brought this:

Thank you Stella!

I think getting rid of nearly everything before our move would make things a lot easier, but I would love to be able to keep some items that are rare and impossible to replace, even if it involves paying tariffs, but the rosewood issue may be another matter. I would hate to have my guitars confiscated!
Thanks, I’ll keep following the news for any new developments on CITES regulations. It seems that maybe it hasn’t been finalized yet.


I brought 2 Fender Strat and a Gibbo les pul with me in the car from Ireland when we moved and didnt declare any of them. I dont know what the wood is and to be honest neither would the authorities. If you ship them then declare an estimated value not a collectors value. You shouldnt have any problems declaring to the customs and excise if you have owned them longer than 6 months. You could also write your own bill of sale !!!

Thanks for the reply Robert!

I think guitars entering France from the U.S. are treated differently than those from other EU countries. But two of my guitars were built before the original CITES law took effect so I don’t think that will be a problem. I think I’ll sell the rest, including the amps, so I won’t have to deal with transformers to match the 220 volt current. Also, I’ve never owned a Vox AC30, and I think that is what I really need! I would like to buy another Les Paul one day but I assume the cost would be higher in the EU than in the U.S…

Thanks again Robert.

Peter, my apologies i was thinking about EU - EU travel. More than likely your gear would be under scrutiny when it comes into the country. Yep i would think a Gibbo is a little bit more expensive, althought it doesnt have to be.

Have a look at these two internet sites Peter. I can vouch for both of them having bought instruments through their websites…You will find amps et al here…
You can change the settings to English. Thomann is German based. Woodbrass has a huge shop dedicated to guitars in Paris …
Anyway it will give you an idea of prices, happy viewing :smiley:

I’m with Thomas on bringing your most cherished guitars with you, I see no need to declare what they are made of !

Thanks Thomas. Now I’m leaning towards selling all of my musical equipment just to make the move smoother. I’ve looked up prices on some websites and they seem fair enough.

Peter… think about it, then think some more. Once a treasured possession is gone - that’s it.

OK, once you thought long and hard - go with your gut feeling and, whatever the outcome, you will know that you made the best decision at the time.


Thanks Ann!

I just looked up those websites and the pricing seems fair enough (as long as the value of the dollar doesn’t fall too much). Now I’m leaning towards selling all of my musical equipment just to make the move smoother. Although, two of my guitars were built before the original CITES laws went into effect, so they might be exempt from those regulations. I’ll have to look into that.

Thanks again!

Thank you Stella.

Yes, I still have to do some thinking about those possessions, but in the meantime I can at least begin selling other items, which I expect might take some time.

Thank you for your thoughts.

I am with Ann on the musikhaus Thomann. I have purchased most of my Equipment over the years from them. Excellent pricing. I personally would keep the most cherished pieces as Stella said. Once they’re gone they’re gone.

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Thanks for the information and advice. I still have a lot to think about, but this has been a help.