Gibson Commemorates Fed Raid with Government Series II Les Paul


Two years after Gibson factories in Tennessee were raided by government agents, the venerable guitar manufacturer has released a special Government Series II Les Paul. As the press release explains:

Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville—only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended—it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson's history. 

…Each Government Series II Les Paul also includes a genuine piece of Gibson USA history in its solid rosewood fingerboard, which is made from wood returned to Gibson by the US government after the resolution. 

Reason TV reported on the Gibson case back in 2012. Original text from February 23, 2012 video is below. 

"They…come in with weapons, they seized a half-million dollars worth of property, they shut our factory down, and they have not charged us with anything," says Gibson Guitars CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, referring to the August 2011 raid on his Nashville and Memphis factories by agents from the Departments of Homeland Security and Fish & Wildlife.

The feds raided Gibson for using an inappropriate tariff code on wood from India, which is a violation of the anti-trafficking statute known as The Lacey Act. At issue is not whether the wood in question was endangered, but whether the wood was the correct level of thickness and finish before being exported from India. "India is wanting to ensure that raw wood is not exported without some labor content from India," says Juskiewicz.

Andrea Johnson of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) counters that "it's not up to Gibson to decide which laws…they want to respect." She points out that Gibson had previously been raided under The Lacey Act for imports from Madagascar.

This much is clear: The government has yet to file any charges or allow Gibson a day in court to makes its case, much less retrieve its materials. "This is not about responsible forestry and sustainable wood or illegal logging, this is about a bureaucratic law," argues Juszkiewicz, who testified last year before a congressional hearing convened by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). It is, he says, "a blank check for abuse."

About 6 minutes.

NEXT: Is Hawaii's Anti-GMO Movement Really Just Anti-Science?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. With that HIDEOUS color I’m guessing Gibson doesn’t really want to sell any of these guitars.

    1. It needs to be gold and black.

      1. what Patrick said I’m shocked that a mom able to get paid $5552 in four weeks on the internet. did you read this site link ..,.,..,.,.,., jobs80
        (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

    2. I considered buying one and trying to get Obama to sign it at some point in the future.

    3. You’re nuts. That a great color.

      However = needs PAFs. Don’t like the open pickups. Also, where is this black pickguard?

      here’s the other color they sell, with the stamped pickguard

      I like the tan better.

  2. made from wood returned to Gibson by the US government after the resolution.

    Good. Last I heard, they weren’t getting the seized materials back.

    The pigs also raided the guitar factory in Bozeman, I believe.

    I know a guy who works there. He whines about what an evil right wing nutjob Juszkiewicz is, but he still goes to work and cashes the checks.

    The courage of your convictions is expensive.

    1. The courage of your convictions is expensive.

      Funny how the cost quit being a factor for me a while ago.

  3. Andrea Johnson of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) counters that “it’s not up to Gibson to decide which laws…they want to respect.”

    That’s Obama’s job.

    1. Ooh, burn!

  4. Once again it’s one of the alphabet soup agencies operating under the executive branch that’s responsible for this bullshit. Is there any doubt that Obama has finally finished a coup and rendered the other two branches of fedgov null? Congress is just a joke of a rubber stamp for crying out loud.

    1. The next three years are going to consist almost entirely of this kind of bullshit: Obama and his loathsome brownshirts punishing his political enemies. It has already started in fact.

      1. Wasn’t that the point of his SOTU?

      2. it’s what the last 5 years have been

        1. You know what, you’re absolutely right. Not sure what in the world I was thinking there.

    2. Dear Congress,

      Perhaps now would be a good time to go to Pelosi’s office, take your balls back from her and strap them back on. Get your Big Boy pants out of storage, while you’re at it.

      No love,


  5. I did a little quick googling, and i can’t find a news report about a Bozeman raid; must have been a garbled third- or fourth- hand version of the story about the Nashville raid.

  6. Seen at the gym this morning… I assume the person driving it was the soccer mom complaining about her kid’s gluten allergy.

    1. Link goes to tumblr login. What’s it supposed to be?

    2. So I saw your post earlier today, then went to the grocery store and saw that car’s exact opposite!


        but damn, the car *itself*, sans any bumperstickers, speaks volumes. That’s a truck that says “I aint gonna honk = you best just get the fuck out the way”

        1. I like that both of these people seem to have bought vehicles in their team colors. The little TEAM BLUE compact car v. the big TEAM RED shit-truck is just too perfect.

          1. Nice. Didn’t even occur to me.

            Also, the TEAM RED truck probably doesn’t even have a catalytic converter. Should be leaking oil.

  7. Someone in the Government must have a grudge with Gibson? Why would any reasonable person do this?

    1. Well, they’re not reasonable, and the answer is: because they can.

      It’s possible they have a beef with Gibson, but would it really surprise you if some bureaucrats and their pet SWAT team just wanted to get out and knock some heads?

    2. As near as anyone can tell, Gibson is a non-union shop that didn’t give a bunch of campaign donations to Obama.

      Gibson’s primary competitor, Martin, is both a union shop and gave a lot of money in donations to Obama, so Martin’s use of the same Indian rosewood and Madagascar ebony is conveniently ignored.

    3. If they didn’t before, they do now.

    4. I have heard he is an outspoken Conservative. Not sure if this is true, but if true, and if Martin does not get treated the same way, and uses the same wood, then this is more proof, (somewhat), the State is way, way, way out of control

  8. Well, I don’t need any coffee this morning, as the adrenaline is flowing, and I’m about to bust a gasket! Did you see the pleasure that goose-stepping EIA agent derived while speaking about BS laws, and how goons raided Gibson’s plant? I personally have owned many Gibson’s over the years, as well as Martin guitars, Fender, Taylor, Paul Reed Smith, Carvin, and others, and I can tell you this: They all use the same woods! What the video didn’t point out is the fact that while Martin gives campaign donations to the Democrat party, Gibson does not. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the current neo-fascist regime to try to break anyone who is not on board with their policies. Also, Gibson does not have union workers. Follow the dots; follow the money! Ok, I need to get some ice to bring my blood back down below the boiling point.

    1. Alembic probably has the most exotic woods of any luthier. Of course, the fact that they’re a bunch of left-wing California hippies couldn’t have anything to do with them not getting raided, could it?

    2. [ Ok, I need to get some ice to bring my blood back down below the boiling point.]

      When you must bend the reloader bar on another 300 rounds of 5.56’s that you are willing to use, THEN your frustration will bear meaningful fruit.

  9. upto I saw the paycheck 4 $5359, I accept that my friends brother had been realy making money in their spare time at there computar.. there dads buddy has been doing this for only about 14 months and resently cleared the morgage on there home and bourt Lotus Elan. this is where I went, http://www.works77.???m

  10. Digital Currency Founder: U.S. Indicted Me For Not Giving FBI My Source CodeDigital Currency…..urce-code/

    The indicted founder of digital currency Liberty Reserve says the U.S. government began targeting him only after he refused to turn over the source code for his proprietary system to the FBI.

    Arthur Budovsky, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. from Spain, told a Madrid court that the FBI approached him in 2011 to obtain the source code for what he says was the purpose of undermining the service.

    “I refused. It’s like asking Coca-Cola for their secret formula,” he told the court, according to the Associated Press. “The truth is that the U.S. wants to protect its monopoly on financial transfer platforms.”

  11. I don’t care how ugly the finish is. Owning one of these would make me proud.

  12. the U.S. government began targeting him only after he refused to turn over the source code for his proprietary system to the FBI.

    “What’s the matter? Don’t you trust us?”

  13. This goddamn bureaucrat gets all uppity when questioned about the absurd stupidity of the law, and huffily counters that, “Uh, DUH!? We SAID we have *no intention to enforce that part on individuals…*

    What the fucking idiot fails to accept is that the law DOES say that individuals are in fact covered – just that they do not intend to enforce. Does it not occur to said bureaucrat that no one likes the idea of legal discretion being the choice of The Man? Make a law, or Don’t – but don’t create a fucking idiotic law then tell me it will only be ‘applied wisely’. And pointing this out is called a “disservice”.

  14. As a side note = I built a Tele-custom from Warmoth parts about 7-8 years ago that had one of the last Brazilian Rosewood bodies they had in stock (the guy who sold it to me basically said, “could be one of the last we ever see”). As far as I know there’s been almost zero new imports since the 1990s. Some people keep stashes of the stuff (PRS), but its become almost impossible to find new bodies being made with it. Fingerboards, yes.

    The body has figuring similar to the below (but Custom-Tele cut – ie. humbucker @ neck, single coil @ bridge).…..sewood.jpg

    Also – has a unfinished Canary-wood neck which I can’t recommend highly enough. Strongly recommend the Warmoth stuff overall for anyone with a Fender-style dream-build… Gibson-style/PRS/glued necks, not as much – not because its impossible, but the chance of screwing it up is a lot higher, and for the money you’ll probably do better from the factory.

    1. That’s cool. I’ve always wanted to build a Warmoth tele, but don’t really play guitar much anymore. Maybe if I get back into it that’s the way I’ll go.
      Don’t take it out of the country though, I’ve heard horror stories about people’s guitar getting confiscated at the border when they try to come back because the agent thinks they’re made out of some forbidden wood.

      1. The joys of living in the freest country on the planet.

  15. And after enduring the IRS audit that is coming in 3-2-1 Gibson should issue the IRS Les Paul: 18 strings but only 6 of them work. Or the Obama Les Paul: impossible to get a true tune.

    1. They should issue an Obama SG, for Shitty Government.

  16. My hope is that Holder will be be held accountable and jailed for his crimes. Obama is done, Holder is his instrument, this asshole deserves prison for a long, long time. He is one evil motherfucker.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.