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Low profile Hot rod?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TheOutlaw, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. TheOutlaw

    TheOutlaw Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2012
    United States
    Any reason not to use one of these? Plan is for a on piece maple tele neck with heel adjust but its my first build so it could go sideways quick.

    Side note..
    I bought a hot rods bit a while back not sure if the same bit works for both regular and low profile or not. Ill have to look into that.
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    No reason not to use it. The regular hotrod is 7/32" x 7/16" or so. The difference is about 1/16 deep on the low profile IIRC , which is negligible to me unless your neck is pencil thin.

    It is a bit cheaper though.

    It also is 1/16" wider, so you'll either have to change bits or move your fence over to accommodate the difference in width. I suspect these low profile ones might be like the blue import rods.

    Given a choice...I'd stick with the full size hotrod, but that's me. The blue hotrods require more fiddly routing to accommodate the nut block and nut than the ease of just one straight slot for the Hot Rod.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  3. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 2, 2017
    corner of walk and don't walk
    The low profile truss rods I've used are metric sized.

    I've seen them with blue or black plastic wrap *, and there may be other colors as well.

    The ones I've used (and all of them I've seen) are 6mm (.236") wide and 9mm (.354") tall.

    I use a 6mm diameter router bit to plow out the channel in the neck.

    I've also used the original StewMac hotrods. Red plastic wrap *.

    They are 7/32" (.218" or 5.54mm) wide and 7/16" (.438" or 11.11mm) tall.

    The SM router bit for hot rods is .225" diameter.

    I didn't have a 7/32" router bit so I used a 3/16" (.188") and adjusted my fence to accommodate the extra width in two passes.

    The SM original hot rods (with the two round rods) are just slightly lighter than the rods that use one round rod and one rectangular bar.

    The StewMac low profile hot rod (red plastic wrap *) may be a little different animal than the other metric sized low profile truss rods - I really don't know because I haven't used them. They may be sized 6mm X 9mm or not.

    Maybe some one who is familiar with them could give us the exact size?

    SM doesn't call out any dimensions for their low profile rods, they just give dimensions for the routed out channel size required, which is 1/4" (6.35mm) wide X 3/8" (9.52mm) deep.

    Oh yeah, just to add to the mix :), there are the Hosco hybrid rods - titanium and steel.

    I picked one up recently for a special neck build. It's width is the standard 6mm, but it's not quite as tall. It's 8.5mm tall, so it's a slightly lower profile than the norm. It is considerably lighter (and also more expensive - double or even triple the cost) than the all-steel rods. It has a steel round rod and titanium acting rod and blocks.

    Pre-lubing the threads on these hybrid rods before installation with a long lasting lubricant is a "must-do".

    Dis-similar metals sometimes react with each other, which can cause problems, especially with threaded connections.

    I always, as a matter of practice, pre-lube truss rod threads before installation - it's cheap insurance against thread seizing ;). It also gives you a chance to observe that the rod is functioning properly.

    What the heck size router bit do you use? After all, we are talking about small increments of difference.

    Some folks use a 1/4" diameter bit to route the channel no matter what truss rod they use, and then bed the rod in a couple of small dabs of silicone sealant so it won't rattle around or vibrate in the channel if the rod's tension should go slack.

    Other folks are more specific with size and clearance, but no matter what, there has to be enough clearance for the rod to operate freely without hanging up.

    I like to route the channel very close to the truss rod's width, allowing just enough extra width (a few thousandths) to guarantee free movement. I like technical solutions, but I don't use any silicone for bedding. That's not to say my method is any better or worse; it's just the way I'm used to working. But, I'm always looking for a new and better way to improve function.

    For me, that's the real beauty of this forum; it's a great place to share ideas and learn something new. I'm a little older, from the time when you had to go find a book to learn something new. Or search out an individual who was willing to share specific information. Or go find a place that offered training, like a school or an apprenticeship. Or try to learn on your own through extensive trial and error. We can learn enough, right here on this forum, to build a f'n guitar! To me, that's still pretty amazing :).

    John Nicholas likes this.
  4. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    I've made a few one piece necks with heel adjust and double action rods. I rout a 13/16" deep channel with a 1/4 inch bit and the rods I use go in but are quite tight at the heel end. I adjust my jig just a hair on each side to get the channel wide enough for the adjustment part.. The thing to remember is when your doing the back contour to not go too thin at the first fret or you risk having a skunk stripe so thin that it'll pop out when you adjust the rod. Ask me how I know. I usually make the neck no thinner than . 86 to .88 at the first fret. After shaping and sanding the contour I flood the skunk stripe with thin CA and have never had a problem since.
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