Can I use Stewmac Spoke nut Hot rod TR on a telecaster neck?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by dav70ita, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. dav70ita

    dav70ita TDPRI Member

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    Hi,

    I’m building a two pieces neck for a telecaster guitar and I need to choose the truss rod. I want to use a truss rod with a spoke wheel at the heel and I know that the Stewmac hot rod spoke nut is considered one of the best quality TR. But I also know that it could weaken the neck and cause a crack. I contacted Stewmac support to ask them if their Hot rod TR could be used in my project and they did not recommend it. (Stewmac answer: “The recommendation is more for the neck size than the truss rod quality. If it is going to be a bigger neck (or you are installing carbon fiber neck rods to strengthen the neck) you can use the Spoke Nut Hot Rod Truss Rod. If it is a thinner neck and removing too much wood will greatly weaken it, we recommend the Hot Rod Low-profile 2-Way Truss Rod.”). I don’t know what can be considered a big or a thin neck but I have watched a video where David Fletcher is installing the Stewmac TR in a neck build that I consider to be thin. And I think that this man knows what he is doing. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZSDzBv_rIA). The alternative to the Stewmac TR would be a TR from Philadelphia Luthier, which is thinner than the Stewmac. I annexed some pictures showing the neck measures that I’m planning to build at the 12th and 1st fret with the channel for both truss rods, The Stewmac TR (red) and the Philadelphia TR (Blue). I think that at the 12th fret is not a problem to use the Stewmac TR but I wonder if at the first fret, the wood left underneath the TR is too thin (0.17” – 4.2 mm). I would like to hear opinions about installing a Stewmac hot rod TR at the heel of a thin neck. Thank you.

    Trussrods.jpg
     
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Short answer...Yes you can use it. Most would put the wheel hanging out the back. Some people incorporate the wheel at the end of the neck by drilling in the end and then making an access at the top. I've installed stewmac hot rods in my fender necks on and off since they put them out. No issues. The truss rod nut works the same on all of them...pressure pulling the lower rod backward. At one time the hot rod was the only type of that kind available. Do you think they'd recommend them in a neck...of course they did.

    It's the same rod as the other rods that length, just with a different type adjustment nut.

    The hot rod doesn't weaken a neck any more than any other type of double rod. That's a bunch of nonsense you heard. The slot is 7/16" deep. Stewmac's Low profile rod is only 1/16" shorter in height. Same with the Philly Luthier's supply one. Actually the deeper the rod the easier it would be to correct a bow for a normal sized neck carve.

    Other rods may be a hair shallower but that is of little consequence unless you are making a really thin neck. These rods work by the anchor block pressure and the rod touching the fretboard or neck at the middle of the length of it.


    If you put the wheel out the back, you probably will have to make provisions for it behind your neck pocket.


    Here is what a vintage rod looks like....notice how low it goes. It works by trying to straighten out the neck by pushing up on the wood as it tries to straighten out itself.

    The bottom line is unless you are making a pencil thin neck then it should be just fine. This of course means using dried and stable wood with good joinery and gluing technique.

    tele neck.png


    Here's that neck with an 18" long rod inserted into it. The nut inside means the other end is in thicker wood under the nut.


    spoke nut.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  3. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    First off, that's an excellent graphic you posted up showing the difference between the two rods :).

    In my mind (which can be a strange place ;)), the question would be more about whether it's a one-piece or two-piece neck.

    I don't see a problem using either truss rod in a two-piece neck where you've got a glued on fret board. The route for the HotRod is only 2mm. deeper, and with a glued-on fret board you are going to have an excellent opportunity for a good glue joint. The joint is wide open and easy to glue and clamp.

    On a one-piece neck, I see a little different situation because instead of gluing on a fret board, a skunk-stripe gets glued in. Again, the HotRod is only 2mm. deeper, but now that extra 2mm. is coming off the depth of the skunk-stripe, lessening the gluing surface it has, and the skunk-stripe doesn't have a whole lot of gluing surface to begin with.

    To be sure of having a solid glue-up with the skunk-stripe, I think it needs to be fitted pretty precisely. If it fits too tight, the glue gets wiped off when forcing it in; if it's too loose, that's not good either.

    Unless I'm looking at things wrongly, the skunk-stripe has to pick up pretty much the same load as a fret board would be subjected to by the truss rod.

    That's just some of the weird stuff I think about when building a neck :).

    I just want to build a neck that has the least chance for problems or a failure down the road.

    I've used both styles of spoke-wheel truss rods, the StewMac HotRod, and the low-profile one from Philly Luthier. The spoke-wheel diameter is smaller on the HotRod than the low-profile rod, if that makes any difference to you.

    For now, I've settled in on using the low-profile one from PLS. They are well made and about $5 bucks cheaper than the SM HotRod.
     
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  4. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

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    All my Tele builds have spoke nut StewMac Hotrods. No problems with any of them. They all have one piece neck with fretboards glued on (does that make it 2 piece then?).:rolleyes:

    IMG_0472.jpg IMG_5115.jpg 040.jpg
     
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  5. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Nice looking group photo there Crafty!!!!!

    DC
     
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  6. dav70ita

    dav70ita TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for your opinion. I’m happy to know that the Stewmac Hot Rod TR can be installed on my neck building. Anyway, I have another question. As you said; the spoke wheel TR can be installed out of the neck (vintage style) or at the end of the neck making an access at the top of the fretboard (modern style). The last one is the way I prefer. But I imagine that the best way to install the TR at the end of the neck with an access at the top of the fretboard is reversing upside down the TR (putting the wheel upside). Watch annexed picture. If I install the TR in the normal position, with an access from the fretboard (modern style) I think that the spoke wheel would be too low. Do you recommend to reverse the TR for a modern access from the freboard?


    Hot_Rod_TR.JPG
     
  7. dav70ita

    dav70ita TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for your reply. The neck I'm building is a 2 pieces neck, with the fretboard glued. So, I think that there will not be a "crack" risk.
     
  8. dav70ita

    dav70ita TDPRI Member

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  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The stewmac wheel diameter is 1/2" D according to the text. It should be where I drew it, which is under the glue line of the fretboard. I personally wouldn't recommend putting the rod upside down. People may do that, but I am not one of them. I have to believe that if the rod action were the same flipped, that stewmac would say so.

    Reversing it would mean having it impact the fretboard. With the normal installation, it doesn't.
     
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  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I just built a Tele neck with the Hot Rod spoke wheel truss rod. Came out great. I installed the rod upside down, so the wheel would be closer to the surface, and I buried the wheel in the heel of the neck, not extended out like some I've seen.

    The only caveat is that you have to adjust the rod 'backwards'. Counterclockwise to tighten.

    I got the idea from this guy, and he says he asked StewMac if it was OK to install the rod upside down, and they confirmed that it was.




    Please disregard the off-center dots. My first neck. I have no idea what happened. :rolleyes:

    20200121_141102.jpg
     
  11. dav70ita

    dav70ita TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. Yes I have read that the only difference when reversing the Stewmac Hot Rod TR is that you have to turn the wheel counterclockwise to tighten, but that the TR will work properly taking in consideration this reverse adjustment procedure. I Think that it's not a problem when the guitar is built for private use. It could be a problem when the guitar is builded to be sold, if the person who will adjust the neck is not aware about that.
     
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