Worries about bone frogs through US Customes
I have been using a German/Czechoslovakian bow with a cow bone frog for all my classical repertories, and I like the aesthetics of the bone frog very much. But lately, I have been hearing stories about violinists getting their bows confiscated while passing through U.S.Customs, even if the fittings on the bow are made of bone and not ivory.
Is there a way I can get my bows through customs other than changing the frog? Will a certificate clarifying that the bow is ivory-free from a luthier do?
I know that fittings of these kinds have practically no impact on the acoustics or handling qualities of the bow, but I like the aesthetics of those white accents so very much that I would much prefer not changing the bone fittings if not absulutely nessasary.
A certificate should do in most circumstances, should they even ask. A good thing to do would be to have two copies - one on your person and one with the item in question.
Experience has shown you have no idea what some idiot customs agent is going to do, and yes they may well have trouble telling the difference between bone and ivory. Not sure a letter from a luthier is going to help, either, best bet is to take a different bow on your trip, unless you are actually moving countries, then you have to risk it.
I agree with Lyndon.
Thank you, Michael, for replying,
Thank you, Lyndon and Carlo, for your replies,
I don't travel now. However, I do know that US Customs agents can be brutal. As I know many people in the musical community who do travel internationally, be extremely careful about what you bring in. If it is essential to bring this particular bow to the USA then hire an import-export agent who will work with customs. However, expect a hassle as nobody can tell the difference between Ivory and Bovine Bone.
Get the proper CITES paperwork for it if you plan to travel over international borders with it.
I've heard of tree frogs but not bone frogs. Do they live in Pernambuco trees?