Finally got a Squier Strat!

Mossberg152

Squier-Meister
Jun 13, 2022
102
Lorain, Ohio
Thank you all for your kind compliments. I am happy with this guitar. A good place to start! Now my Squier education starts.

Any quick and simple answers about the "skunk stripe"? why do some have them and others don't? Is there an opinion as to whether the neck with the routing in the back are better necks than those without the skunk stripe?

What would the differences be between an Affinity Series guitar and an SE or a STANDARD? Would those differences be worth the price difference? This is my first Squier, but I can already see myself becoming 'very interested'. I have a trip coming up in a few months and I am already looking for music stores where I will be. I have already thought about how it would be easier and cheaper to take a guitar apart (remove the strings and the neck) and put it in my luggage than it would be to pack it and ship it home from this other country. VERY expensive to ship to and from this other country. Here is a clue. The city I will flying into is the home of the band "Cat Empire". If you haven't heard of them, take a listen to "WINE SONG" and "FISHIES". Interesting sounds. I won't be in that city long, will be heading a couple hours west of there, but am already searching on the internet...
 

Syco

Squier-Meister
Sep 11, 2022
293
Tuttle, Oklahoma
Thank you all for your kind compliments. I am happy with this guitar. A good place to start! Now my Squier education starts.

Any quick and simple answers about the "skunk stripe"? why do some have them and others don't? Is there an opinion as to whether the neck with the routing in the back are better necks than those without the skunk stripe?

What would the differences be between an Affinity Series guitar and an SE or a STANDARD? Would those differences be worth the price difference? This is my first Squier, but I can already see myself becoming 'very interested'. I have a trip coming up in a few months and I am already looking for music stores where I will be. I have already thought about how it would be easier and cheaper to take a guitar apart (remove the strings and the neck) and put it in my luggage than it would be to pack it and ship it home from this other country. VERY expensive to ship to and from this other country. Here is a clue. The city I will flying into is the home of the band "Cat Empire". If you haven't heard of them, take a listen to "WINE SONG" and "FISHIES". Interesting sounds. I won't be in that city long, will be heading a couple hours west of there, but am already searching on the internet...
One of the more charmingly nicknamed elements of Fender electric instrument anatomy is the so-called “skunk stripe.”
In guitar terminology, skunk stripe refers to the thin walnut strip running down the back of the necks of many Fender instruments. The purpose of this walnut strip is simple—it fills in the channel routed out of the back of the neck for placement of the truss rod. Fender necks are typically made of lighter-colored maple, so the darker walnut strip creates considerable contrast, and this is what long ago led to the affectionate nickname.
The design dates back to the early 1950s for Fender instruments, and possibly further back for other instrument makers (who didn’t necessarily use walnut). While some makers other than Fender continue to use a rear-neck-channel design, the term skunk stripe most often refers to Fender instruments that have it.
A one-piece maple neck/fingerboard with a skunk stripe was standard at Fender from 1950 to 1958, except for a few very early Esquire guitars that had no truss rod. When rosewood fingerboards were introduced on the Jazzmaster in 1958 and made standard on other Fender models in mid 1959, skunk stripes were rendered unnecessary because the truss rods channels on those instruments were routed into the front of the neck rather than the back, and then covered by the glued-on fingerboards.
Rosewood-fingerboard instruments with no skunk stripe remained the standard at Fender throughout most of the 1960s, though during this period a two-piece maple neck/maple fingerboard combination with no skunk stripe was available as a special-order option.
In general, skunk-stripe necks were around for most of the 1950s but absent for most of the 1960s, until its return in 1969 when a 1950s-style, one-piece maple neck/fingerboard once again became available as an optional feature. From 1969 to 1971, however, rosewood-fingerboard instruments still had no skunk stripe.
When Fender introduced the “bullet” truss rod system in 1971 on the Stratocaster, the truss rod adjustment mechanism moved from the body end of the neck to the headstock. This design entailed routing the truss rod channel into the back of the neck (as in the 1950s) regardless of fingerboard material, which meant that all “bullet” Stratocasters—maple- and rosewood-fingerboard models alike—were given skunk stripes. When other Fender models subsequently received bullet truss rod systems in the early 1970s, they too were given skunk stripes.
Finally, near the end of the 1970s, all Fender electric instruments, regardless of fingerboard material, were given rear-installed truss rod systems with skunk stripes.
Today, skunk-stripe necks are pretty much the norm on Fender instruments, except for authentic recreations of older instruments that didn’t have skunk stripes in the first place, such as American Vintage series 1960s models, other models that include vintage features but aren’t necessarily strictly vintage-style instruments (such as some Classic Player models), and several other instruments (such as various American Deluxe and American Special models).
 

65refinyellow

Squier-holic
Jun 29, 2015
1,928
norcal
Skunk stripe:

You will find these on many Fender type guitars in the Fender umbrella of companies and many copies.

Let’s look at the iconic Fender Stratocaster in its first ten years from 1954-1964.

In all of the first five years through 1958 and into 1959 there were one piece maple necks with a channel cut into the back holding the metal truss
rod covered over by a darker wood thus the “stripe”. Google the back of a 1957 Fender neck and you will see a dark skunk stripe.

This you know.

From 1959-1964, you will see that the fretboard is rosewood and the truss rod is installed just under the fretboard which is then laid over the top of the neck. These don’t have skunk stripes on the back. Google back of let’s say a 1962 strat neck and you will see it’s just plain maple on the back of the neck.

So as a general rule 1954-1959 strat necks have a maple fretboard and skunk stripe and on a 1959-1964 strat neck, no skunk stripe.

Some 1959 inch necks had a separate maple fretboard and skunk strip but that is quite rare.
 

Mossberg152

Squier-Meister
Jun 13, 2022
102
Lorain, Ohio
Thanks, all. question for Syco and 65refinyellow(and anyone else that might have knowledge of this): That is some great historical information and really helps put things in context. Thanks for that. BUT........ what is the significance of the SKUNK STRIPE vs NO SKUNK STRIPE on Squier guitars? As evidenced in my photos, this particular guitar does not have the skunk stripe. Did different factories that produces the Squiers have leeway with this? Some did, some didn't? Some specific models of Squiers did and some didn't? Any info would be great and far more than I know at this time.
Thanks.
 

Mossberg152

Squier-Meister
Jun 13, 2022
102
Lorain, Ohio
That's an awesome thing to know, Skydog! I'm slightly closer to 60 than I am to 50, and I feel like the world just keeps changing around me. Some things I would like to "keep up" with, but most things I don't care to. THAT would have been a cool thing to do.... pick up the phone receiver and tune a string of your guitar to it! Nice. Thanks for sharing that! I played mostly in the 1980's but did not know that trick.
 


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