Another Little Teeny Detail-TRC

This is the front and back of an early wide bevel cover. Note the roll marks. They are on the earliest ones but seem to disappear around 1962.

That’s truss rod cover to those who don’t have the space to write stuff out. I hate it when my titles go on two lines. Anyway, this 10 cent piece of plastic, which you can buy on Ebay for as much as $250, is kind of overlooked. hey. I’ve pretty much overlooked it for about 18 months now. I coulda sworn I already wrote this. Surprisingly, the truss rod cover can tell you a lot in some instances. If you aren’t sure you’ve got a 64 or a 65, look at the truss rod cover. If the bevel is narrow it’s almost certainly a 65. If it’s wide, it’s 99% certain its a 64. I’ve never seen an all original 64 with a narrow bevel cover and I’ve seen one 65 with a wide bevel and it was a very early stoptail from just before they went to the trapeze. It is a part that didn’t change much over the early years-in fact a 58 looks just like a 64 on a 335. When you look at the 345, there’s something else to consider. All 345s are stereo but not all truss rod covers say “stereo” on them. The tricky part is that it isn’t exactly clear when they did the change since there is so much overlap. I’ve seen mid year 59s (A310xx) with the “stereo” cover and yet my early ’60 blonde doesn’t say “stereo”.  It appears that by very early in 1960-probably January, they all said stereo. That’s a very long transition. ES-355 stereos seem to follow a similar schedule. Here’s the weird wrinkle in 355’s. An unusual number of mono 355s have the stereo TRC. Probably laziness, although it’s pretty easy to spot the Varitone that gives it away. I’m pretty certain the truss cover would go on after they drilled the hole for the Varitone. But, what about the ones that say “Custom”. They seem to show up a fair amount as well. Here’s some conjecture since I’ve got no hard evidence…Anytime something was done for a customer that was out of the ordinary be it a custom color, a varitone on a 335, different fret markers, ebony board on a 335 or 345-stuff like that, the TRC often say “custom”. Clapton’s 335 did but there wasn’t anything custom about it. But keep in mind that this is a really easy part to change out, so who knows for certain what cover was originally on what guitar. Moving past 64, they were all narrow bevel and if you flip them over, they were black on the back-not white like the 58 to 64s. The earliest narrow bevel TRC’s are also two ply with a white back but later went to three ply b-w-b.  So, it’s a bit of a quagmire. Look for the horizontal roll marks to authenticate your really early 335 TRC but my 62 doesn’t seem to have them, nor does my 63. More research will be forthcoming on the “mysterious disappearing roll marks”. Probably the most useful bit of information here is that when you have an ambiguous 64-65 serial number, the TRC is perhaps the best way to sort it out if all else fails.

This is probably a 67 (low inlay) with the usual narrow cover. Looks like a 2 ply from here.




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