Originally Posted by noodles
I've heard people say Martin doesn't dye their ebony as heavily 3-4 times, but I've never seen it mentioned anyplace where it wasn't hearsay or conjecture.
I know some of the acoustic makers have idiosyncartic views on some woods.
Ebony does naturally have brown streaks like you say. I have an ebony wallet type thing from a woodworkers convention that has it clearly visible. My explorer has it faintly visible around the first fret. You can rarely see it on Jacksons though, although with time maybe the dye will wear off a bit more.
Historically luthiery shit is more restrictive than buying pen sized blanks or whatever, since not all woods grow in such a way that you can get the right sized blanks for the purpose you need them for easily. I think the history is it was originally dyed for consistency between ebony fretboard blanks, but in modern guitar making it's just dyed due to traditions and expectations.
I've seen one or two guitars with all ebony necks. Like not just the fretboard, the whole fucking neck. Those are gorgeous, but you don't see them often because obviously an all ebony neck is ungodly heavy.
It's definitely historically dyed on other instruments. The ebony you see used for shit like clarinets and bassoons has been dyed for a uniform black. I've never seen an undyed example on a violin or a cello either.