RoHS isn’t the most common acronym emerging from the lips of the everyday guitarist, but it’s more than likely to establish itself as a swear word over the coming months.
…It will become increasingly difficult for UK guitar stores to source boutique pedals & amps unless the overseas manufacturers toe the line with EU guidelines…
RoHS (pronounced “Rose”) stands for the “Restriction of Hazardous Substances”, an initiative implemented by the European Union in 2006.
In layman’s terms, it means the restriction of the use of six materials in the manufacture of various types of electrical equipment. These substances include:
Being brutally honest, I can’t even read the last 3 substances on the list above, let alone understand what they are and how they’re used in the manufacturing of electrical goods! A Google search later, it seems these substances are potentially life threatening. Having said that, have you ever Googled when you have a headache? Don’t – Google will convince you that you have less than 24 hours to live.
Allegedly, UK businesses were given a 4-year window to rectify any practices in manufacturing or selling goods that conflicted with RoHS compliance. As 2011 looms upon us, the process of scrutinising numerous UK businesses has begun, with the EU/British Government clamping down extremely hard on manufacturers and retailers who do not comply accordingly with RoHS compliance; this involves hefty fines (£1000’s) and in some cases, prison sentences.
Are you a fan of using boutique pedals? Do you collect or trade vintage guitars and amplifiers?
If you can answer “yes” to either of these questions, it’s more than likely you’re going to be very disappointed and frustrated over the coming months.
The boutique and vintage guitar market (especially boutique products manufactured in the USA), potentially utilise the use of materials restricted by RoHS compliance; with various paints, PCB’s, solder joints, batteries & metal components all containing elements that are frowned upon by the EU.
It will become increasingly difficult for UK guitar stores to source boutique pedals & amps unless the overseas manufacturers toe the line with EU guidelines.
This leaves me pondering;
I really don’t know the answers to these questions. However, UK based stores such as Vintage & Rare Guitars who specialise in selling boutique effects pedals, amplifiers and vintage guitars (most of which I would presume are sourced from the USA and overseas) are going to face very challenging times as the EU enforce RoHS compliance.
It’s going to be interesting to see how international manufacturers address the frustrations felt by UK/EU businesses and how retail outlets such as Vintage & Rare can evolve with the changing times.
As a guitarist, I’m left feeling slightly raw by the EU legislation; I love walking into stores such as Vintage & Rare, viewing the amazing collection of items for sale. It’ll be a shame if legislation hampers our love of all things vintage and boutique. After all, I’m not too familiar with many reports covering the Rock ‘n Roll deaths of guitarists who spent their evening repeatedly licking the lead-based solder joints of their favourite boutique pedal.
What are your thoughts on RoHS compliance and the impact it’s going to have on the UK guitar market? Please add your comments below.