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What to wrap custom truss rod with

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by #include <MK>, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. To my surprise, I cut my first thread yesterday and have made my first truss rod today, an adjustable rod or a variation of the one way twin rod system in Koch's book. I still have to wrap it with something, probably some kind of tape.

    I was wondering what those of you who make their own rods use to wrap them with? From what I've read, people have used:

    - fibreglass reinforced packaging tape (haven't heard of the fibreglass variety)
    - Koch suggests gummed metal (?) or strong fabric tape
    - Cumpiano uses gummed metal flashing tape, sounds the same as Koch. The thing is that this stuff is pretty wide at around 50mm or more. So, is it better to use say 12.5mm or 50mm wide tape?
    - LMI rods have heat shrinking material. I'm assuming that this is more expensive than tape, so if it is I won't use it

    Also, if you use tape, what width is it? Ofcourse, I'm interested in the cheapest way out depending on the benefits.
  2. 50 mm thick; isn't that 5 cm? Do you mean 50 mm wide?
  3. Ha, ha, thanks for picking that up Matthew. I'm sleep deprived today and I'll be crashing very soon...that's my excuse... Anyway, I've corrected it.
  4. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I don't know what part of the rod you're wrapping, but what about heat shrink?
  5. BeauLeopard

    BeauLeopard BLDesign Custom Basses

    Apr 14, 2005
    Rochester, NY
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think LMI and Stew Mac use heat shrink.
  7. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    the StewMac rods I've used have been covered in heat shrink tubing. it's pretty cheap when you buy it in a bulk roll at Fry's

    as far as sizing ... take a rod with you and test fit with the 3' sections until you find a size that fits snuggly, but not too tight.

    all the best,

  8. Heat shrink material sounds good and has benefits, and seems to be the material of choice for the larger stores these days. What are your thoughts on electrical tape, which is cheap and accessable? Are there any real issues with using it apart from how gooey it gets and using something (silicone or possibly a thin layer of tape at strategic points) to prevent it from making noise in the truss rod channel?

    Also, I've read that flashing tape protects against rust, but I don't think it'll rain in a truss rod channel maybe some slight moisture over the years or whatever to corrode the steel I don't know. The channels are usually pretty dry.

    Geoff, I'll be wrapping the steel rod part.
  9. On the Cumpiano book he makes a trussrod and wraps it in metal tape. Yesterday I had to replace the exhaust from my clothes dryer, the tape used for that would work pefectly.
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Shrink tubes or fabric tape works well. If you go for any tape, it should not be wide - the less the better.
  11. Good stuff, thanks for all the suggestions. It looks like tape is the go, whatever is accessable locally.
  12. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    My only concern with electrical tape would be how it breaks down over time (if you've ever pulled old tape of any kind you know what I mean). It shouldn't effect the rod much, but I just don't like having something like that hanging around inside my neck. Shrink tubing seems like a more permanent solution and would be my preference.

  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  14. Nate,

    You make a good point and I agree that the heat shrink solution sounds much better and probably makes for a more professional job. I figured that from the outset but wondered what others use and which tape would best suit.
  15. I use plastic drinking straws. They're free and very durable. The ones at McDonald's are too wide; the ones at Wendy's are perfect for my 3/8" steel truss rods. Just slide them on & go. Usually one-and-a-half or two straws will do.
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  17. And I am an idiot ... My truss rods are 3/16, not 3/8!!!
  18. So i would definitely advise against electrical tape... BUT I having no real experiance in this field... ive had bad experiances with the tape all around... heat shrinks cant be that expensive can they? furthermore, i think they would give it much more of a professional look... (not that anyone is going to be prying open your creation or anything... but you know..)

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