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Truss rod decisions, LMII vs Hot Rod

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Marn99, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Marn99

    Marn99 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    17
    95
    Nov 25, 2016
    Brookfield, WI
    Hey everyone,
    So about a month ago I bought a dual action truss rod from LMII for my Walnut Telecaster build but I've been looking at the other truss rods on the market and I've been thinking if maybe I should return the LMII one for a Stewmac dual action Hot Rod truss. Not only is the Hot Rod less expensive it also has the traditional nut shape for a fender. However, there are only about 10 reviews on Stewmac, and even though those reviews give it a 4.5 out of 5 I would like some more input.
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I've tried most of them including making my own from rod stock. The hotrod is the easier to install requiring one straight slot made in 3 passes or so. The blue imports are the hardest ones to install, since they are not perfect rectangles like the hot rod, they taper down a bit towards the adjustment nut. That nut is wider than the rod requiring a third rout or tweak. I have used an LMII one, but it's been so long ago, I can't recall what the installation was like.

    I did buy the specially sized bit for the hot rod, but lately have just been using a 7/32 straight bit instead.

    https://www.amazon.com/Freud-04-111-32-Inch-Diameter-Straight/dp/B00004T7BA/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1484153291&sr=1-1&keywords=7/32+straight+router+bit

    You can get away with a 3/16" bit if it is long enough by moving your fence over 1/32 or so, and doing the last pass a bit wider.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    Marn99 likes this.
  3. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Meister

    119
    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    I use the StewMac truss rods, but there are two (perhaps significant) downsides of them:

    - They require a goofy non-standard channel, which requires their goofy non-standard router bit. Unless you already have a 7/32" bit laying around, of course.
    - It requires a fairly deep channel, 7/16" deep, vs ⅜" deep for the LMII. The difference is only 1/16", but it's worth noting.

    On the upside, you can get the StewMac ones with several different adjustment options, including a spoke wheel.
     
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  5. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    Stewmac has a two way rod as well. I use the blue ones that Marty mentioned because they are a lot cheaper, work great and cutting the wider portion at the adjustment end is max 5 minutes with a sharp chisel. I'm sure they all work just fine but it depends on the ease of installation you're looking for. In your case I wouldn't be sending the LMII one back and just use it.
     
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  6. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    34
    Oct 22, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Bitterroot guitars started carrying a new blue one that does not require the giant adjustment nut channel. I routed it all with my 1/4" bit, but I think it widens out just a few thousandths at the adjustment nut, so I decided to route that section a tiny bit wider by bumping my router fence perhaps 20 thousandths each direction.
     
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  7. Dunkerhook

    Dunkerhook Tele-Meister

    133
    Jul 29, 2011
    New Jersey
    I buy Bitteroot rods, too. I never really thought of the router bit change as a drag. Just a necessary evil made simple with a couple of notches added to my jig. The Bitterroot rods are less than half the price of Stew Mac. Paid for the extra Whiteside router bit after 2 necks.
     
    John Nicholas, DrASATele and Marn99 like this.
  8. Marn99

    Marn99 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    17
    95
    Nov 25, 2016
    Brookfield, WI
    I think I will return the LMII truss rod and buy a Stewmac Hot Rod for the purposes of having an accurate square sides and easy installation. On the topic of Bitterroot guitars though, I am trying to save as much money as possible on pickups. I have a traditional wiring set from Stewmac but I want cheap pickups for now because I can always upgrade them later. What is there to be said for the Bitterroot pickups?
     
  9. Dunkerhook

    Dunkerhook Tele-Meister

    133
    Jul 29, 2011
    New Jersey
    Never tried Bitterroot pickups. I have bought nuts and toggle switches from Bitterroot -- which are fine, too. Anytime I wanted to try cheap pickups, I bought used Duncan's on eBay or bought GFS.

    Also worth mentioning...for strat pickups, Rose Pickups are a great deal -- around $75 a set. Ken is great to do business with, too. His tele pickups are great, too, but at about $50/pickup, they are a fair price, but not what I would call a bargain.
     
    Marn99 likes this.
  10. DrASATele

    DrASATele Friend of Leo's

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    I believe the bitterroot stuff is a kin to artec pups on eBay which is basically GFS to some degree. GFS supposedly have there pickups wind to strict pre-set standards. Depending on what sound your after GFS are hit or miss just follow the reviews that you can find on any of their models those seem to be the best predictor as to whether or not they are worth the $.
     
  11. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 4, 2010
    Athens, GA
    +1 for LMI. Flat channel, shallower than other rods, super easy to set up and route.

    The Bitterroot/StewMac/Grizzly rods with the larger adjustment end work great too, and that cut isn't too hard to set up. I usually cut it with a 1/4" bit and then change to a 3/8 for the adjustment head while the fence or jig I use to route it is set up.
     
  12. Dunkerhook

    Dunkerhook Tele-Meister

    133
    Jul 29, 2011
    New Jersey
    OK. You all have me LMI-curious. :) Next time I buy from LMI, I'll add a rod to the order.
     
  13. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Of course everyone suggesting the harder to install rods have some necks under the belt already I believe......:).
     
  14. twocup

    twocup Tele-Meister

    My daughter gave me a 5 pack of the Bitterroot rods for Christmas :). I haven't tried them yet, but I've got 3 necks on my bench in need (once it warms up enough for me to work in my shop). I've used some of the import hardware and found fit and finish hit or miss, but overall functional, and sometimes surprisingly good. I made my own radius block, partly because I'm cheap, and making the stuff to build guitars is almost as fun as building guitars, almost.
     
  15. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    For installing the bitterroot rods (the ones with the solid nut welded to the rod) this bit from Amana is the bomb for the rounded part:
    Amana 45903.jpg
    It took me a while to find a core box bit with a 5/16" diameter that cut deep enough to do it for headstock adjust but this one does it. These two both have the bitterroot rods with 1/4" wide, 3/8" deep flat-bottomed channels, with just a couple inches of the 5/16" round-bottomed channel for the nut and adjustment access. Comes out real clean.
    IMG_4061.JPG
    I place the front of the adjusting nut just below the string nut. You could use a 3/8 core box but it'd be a little bigger than needed.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
  16. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    111
    Jan 21, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    Rex - I'm really interested in your procedure for installing the nut at the headstock. That's always been the downside (to me) of the dual acting rods. They're easier to install but you have to adjust them at the heel. I assume you couldn't install the stew mac hot rod with a neck adjust. I'm also curious about what you mean when you say "a box bit that cut deep enough". That bit looks like it would go all the way through a neck.
     
  17. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    111
    Jan 21, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    Sorry - I saw other threads that say that you can install the hot rod at the neck. I guess the stew mac low profile is the same as the LMI or Bitterroot truss rods. I still am curious about any special procedures with the headstock adjustment installation.
     
  18. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    Here's how it looks after coming off the router table:
    IMG_3909.JPG
    Important that you don't move the fence from where it was for the 1/4" wide by 3/8" deep (I find a I can use just a hair shallower depth) channel that houses the skinny part of the rod. Here is how far I take the 5/16 round bottomed rout:
    Bitterroot Truss Rod Install.JPG
    Start with the core box bit shallow and sneak up on your depth so that with the truss rod lying in the slot the nut just clears the wood all the way around. THEN, take a piece of scrap and run it across the bit and you'll have a depth adjusting gauge for future jobs (same with the 1/4" bit - I use a Whiteside 1/4" spiral upcut for this.)

    What I meant about enough depth on the core box cutter was so that I could use it on the router table and still get the cut deep enough. After I glue on the fretboard, then I thin down the headstock and the routed slot gets exposed like in the previous pics you asked about. It gets covered up when I glue down the fretboard but re-exposed when I sand back on the ROSS to make the headstock transition radius.

    Hope this helps.

    Rex

    EDIT - looks like this on the other end:
    IMG_3910.JPG
     
  19. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    111
    Jan 21, 2013
    Pittsburgh
    Rex - awesome. Thanks for the instructions.
     
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