Dimond Receives Rosewood Guitar Seized by U. S. Fish and Wildlife

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At the beginning of the year Dimond High’s band got a very unusual and expensive back to school gift.

The gift which was bestowed to all Anchorage School District high schools, was 10 custom-made rosewood Paul Reed Smith guitars, famously played by Carlos Santana and all worth a collective $54,000.

The guitars were being shipped out of the United States, but there was one problem: They were made out of rosewood, which needs a special permit to be shipped out of the United States, and these guitars did not have the permit.

According to Dimond High School band Director, Jason Edwards, while in transit, the guitars were seized in Hong Kong by the U.S Department of Fish and Wildlife and taken back to the USA. The closest place they could ship them back was to Anchorage.

Upon arrival to Anchorage, the guitars needed to be identified and were discovered to be Paul Reed Smith guitars. They were donated to ASD by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

During the band director training, before school started, ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop and ASD Music director, Bruce Woods, gave away the guitars with a number draw system. 

Edwards said first, Chugiak High was picked and got a brand-new guitar. Next they pulled another number and kept going until all guitars were in the hands of the high school band directors. 

As you may know, all the guitars are not created equally. The one given to Dimond is worth $7,000 and isn’t the kind of guitar that your high schooler gets to play every day. 

Two students who get to play the amazing guitar are senior Warren Garner, and sophomore Shockley Searcy. They have been playing in Dimond’s jazz band all of their years in high school and this was their special treat.

Both Garner and Searcy said, if they had the chance, that they would want the Paul Reed Smith to be their guitar, due to it being built well and having better tone and the legendary status of Paul Reed Smith guitars.

Garner said, “The biggest difference is that my guitar is only $200, and it is made by machines and works for my day-to-day playing, while the Paul Reed Smith is $7,000 and is hand made by a professional and with rosewood, while mine is plastic and the difference in tone is shocking.”

If given the opportunity, both would like this one-of-a-kind guitar to be theirs, due to the feel being much better along the fretboard and the tone being plenty richer due to the higher quality of materials. 

The only difference between the two is that Searcy feels that the guitar improves his playing while Garner says, “Nothing is really different, it just feels nicer and the quality of sound improves some.” 

If you are thinking of taking this guitar for a spin and wanting to test it, it looks like your luck has run out. The guitar is currently being stored inside of Dimond High’s vault, for safekeeping. 

In addition, Edwards said, despite his experience playing electric guitars, that this is one of the best and easiest-playing guitars he has come across. In addition to the Paul Reed Smith, Guitar Center generously donated three more guitars to Dimond, but not to the quality of the Paul Reed Smith.

Now with an abundance of guitars, Edwards cannot wait to have students playing them and for the community to have the special treat to listen to this one-of-a-kind guitar.

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