What a strange set of standards we apply when it comes to wood. Where backs and sides and, to a lesser extent, soundboards are concerned, we are happy to pay a premium for colourful, unique or highly-figured woods. According to tradition though, components made from ebony must be jet black and are graded and priced accordingly. We can even buy dyes especially for the purpose of reducing interesting, streaky ebony to a boring, homogeneous black!
The ebony headplate pictured was rated as "second-grade" material, presumably because it wasn't boring enough. Make up your own mind!
I've applied a first seal coat of shellac on this neck and will spray another two before allowing it to cure overnight. Once the finish coats of KTM-SV have been sprayed, levelled and polished, I'm confident this ebony will look much better than second-grade!