It's as sweet a sound as you can imagine. A $10,000 guitar expertly crafted by the hands of Dave Berkowitz, a master luthier in Washington, D.C.
But Berkowitz's guitars include fretboards and bridges made from Indian rosewood and ebony, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service declared to be illegal to import in its actions against Gibson Guitar back in August. Now, every time Berkowitz uses that wood to build his immaculate instruments, he is potentially breaking the law.
"I use the exact same ebony and rosewood fingerboards that were confiscated in August from Gibson," Berkowitz told Fox News.
Does that mean he is "engaging in illegal business practices?"
"Well, technically speaking, yes, because they have declared the materials I'm using illegal," he said.
But whether the Indian rosewood and ebony that Berkowitz and Gibson -- and so many other guitar makers -- use is really illegal depends on who is asked.
According to the Indian government, fingerboard "blanks" -- the wood that will eventually become a guitar's fretboard -- are legal to export.
"Fingerboard is a finished product and not wood in primary form," Vinod Srivastava, India's deputy director-general of foreign trade, stipulated in a letter dated Sept. 16. "The foreign trade policy of the government of India allows free export of such finished products of wood."
The U.S. government disagrees. In its affidavit to search Gibson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers fingerboard blanks to be raw materials, not finished product -- illegal to export from India and, therefore, illegal to import into the United States.
What's more, according to the complaint, the Gibson wood was imported with an incorrect tariff code, which was off by one digit from the correct code. Luthiers Mercantile International, the company that imports the wood for Gibson, claims that was a simple clerical error. The difference in the codes refers to the thickness of the wood -- more than or less than six millimeters in thickness.
Read more: After Gibson Raid, Other Guitar Makers at Risk of Breaking Law | Fox News