About The Skunk Stripe

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Dean James, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. Dean James

    Dean James Tele-Meister

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    Just curious, here.

    I assume Fender routs a groove in their necks for the truss rod because drilling a straight channel through the neck & then sliding the truss rod in is not cost–effective. Getting the channel lined up straight probably involves a high failure rate, as well.

    So now they've got these grooves in their necks, with the truss rods placed inside. They fill the grooves with a length of walnut, smooth it out, coat it over, & there's your skunk stripe.

    What I'm curious about is, why walnut?

    It seems like most manufacturers would try to match the neck, using a piece of maple. Does Fender feel if you can't match it perfectly, it's better to choose a good–looking, but different, piece of wood, thereby letting the contrast become a style? (Rather than being an obvious, unattractive failed attempt at matching, that is.)

    Does the skunk stripe offer immediate visual confirmation that there is indeed a truss rod in there? Is there something about walnut that makes it better for the filler job than maple? Is it simply an aesthetic decision? Have they always done it this way? If not, when did they start, & whose idea was it?

    An idle mind may be the devil's workshop, but the workshop is only turning out innocuous little questions, today.
     
  2. rcole_sooner

    rcole_sooner Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The old style truss rods are not a straight channel so it would be hard to drill them.

    [​IMG]

    Some are just under the fretboard without a skunk stripe.

    Most of the Fenders are the walnut, which I guess they started doing and just kept up. I be they had left over trim pieces to use at one time.
     
  3. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    IMG_20120513_182235.jpg
     
  4. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think that is the answer.
     
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  5. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

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    Trying to match the wood would inevitably fail. A nice contrast works better. Just my opinion - no idea what they were thinking at Fender originally.
     
  6. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

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    Much much faster,easier and cost effective to use contrasting wood than to try to match the grain and color of each neck they make.
     
  7. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

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  8. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Knowing Leo, walnut must have been plentiful, cheap, and easy to work.

    Just guessing.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  9. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah. Trying to match the maple would look cheesy. So they decided on contrast, instead.

    And since they were just doing it for visual effect, not tone, why waste money on imported rosewood or mahogany when domestic walnut would have the same skunky effect?
     
  10. Dean James

    Dean James Tele-Meister

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    I'm a graphic artist, & that "if you can't match it perfectly, it's better to do something obviously different" is a rule of thumb I apply all the time.

    It's a matter of maintaining your credibility. An almost–match looks like you tried & failed, while an interesting contrast looks like you created a style.
     
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  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I wouldn't say that decent quality walnut was ever cheap, not especially plentiful either.

    But my Dad always had a substantial stash of it and built a sofa base out of 8/4 square material. If your tools are sharp (better be anyway) the wood was pretty easy to work (although more work than poplar) and it glued up well and is consistently hard and stable.
     
  12. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    What else might he have used? Oak? Cherry? Birch? What would have been cheap and plentiful and a good contrast and closish to Fullerton.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  13. WetBandit

    WetBandit Friend of Leo's

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    I think there's alot of good answers here, I also think the contrasting colors serve as a good locator if the need to remove the truss rod were to arise?

    That and I always thought it serves as a good guide for where your thumb should be placed for "proper" playing technique/position
     
  14. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

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    Because walnut is a better tone wood for a skunk stripe than maple? :lol::lol::lol:
     
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  15. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe Leo knew Roy Weatherby and bought some walnut rifle stock blanks from him.
     
  16. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Which perfectly describes why I never try to “play it like the cd”.:rolleyes::lol:
     
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  17. SAguitar

    SAguitar Tele-Meister

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    Because it was the right thing to do!
     
  18. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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  19. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    The skunkstripe was actually koa on 50s strats. Not sure when that started or when it ended. But the skunkstripe on my classic series 50s is also koa.
     
  20. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    And as an aside walnut is a fine wood for guitar necks as evidenced by its use on the French Selmer guitars.
     
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