Introduction: Grado Headphones - Keeping the Cans From Sliding

About: “There's always something.” - Violet Baudelaire:

The headband on my Grado headphone cans has been sliding up the connecting rods for quite some time. I tried the cleaning the rods with alcohol like Grado suggested. Unfortunately, it made it worse. Their other suggestion was to bend the headband tighter. I really hate tight headphones and I wasn’t convinced that a tighter headband was going to overcome gravity. Also, having no idea of where to start bending and when to finish dissuaded me from this approach. However, the thought of bending gave rise to the flight of fancy you see above.

I thought I had come up with a great “one off” solution, model fuel line tubing clamps. The clamps arrived before the 5/32-inch fuel line tubing and I thought I would try the clamps with other materials. You need three or four hands to get the clamps over what ever you are using as friction pads. They are springs and go flying when they get loose from the pliers (frequently). Dad haz bought us toys?

Out of frustration, I figured the friction pads could be held in place with small cable ties while mounting the clamps. It turns out that the clamps weren’t needed. The small cable ties did the job perfectly and could compensate for friction pad thickness and be adjusted for compression. Additionally, they barely show from the front.

The cans are now very solid, and they won’t twirl on the rods anymore (good!).

Step 1: Parts, Tools, and Disclaimer


1 ea - 7/8” x 2” gum rubber band cut into 2 ea 5/8” x 7/8”

4 ea – 4” cable ties

Note: The friction pad material just needs to be something flexible with a high level of friction (rubber band, tubing, etc.) Leather did not work as well.




Sharp scissors

Small needle nose pliers

Cable tie tool or cable gun and cutting pliers

Note: The cable tie tool is the Klein Tools 86570 Nylon Tie Tensioning Tool. The Klein is a more capable tool than the gun but it also costs more.


I like this disclaimer from the author Samuel M. Goldwasser ( - “We will not be responsible for damage to equipment, your ego, blown parts, county wide power outages, spontaneously generated mini (or larger) black holes, planetary disruptions, or personal injury that may result from the use of this material.”

Add to that the usual admonitions to use safety equipment, be careful of hot, sharp, or rotating parts and equipment, and be cautious around electricity. Also, if you change it, and they can tell, it probably voids your warranty.

Step 2: Assembly

  1. Cut the friction pads to size.
  2. Start the ends on the cable ties (make loops). Decide on which way you want the block on the tie to face. Reverse it on the opposite side.
  3. Wrap one pad around the rod and secure it with the cable ties. Hand-tighten the ties and leave the tails on the ties.
  4. Repeat for the other side.
  5. Adjust the cans and friction pads to where you wear your headphones. The needle nose pliers can be used to help slide the pads "inch-worm" style. Push up on the bottom a little and then slide up the top.
  6. Turn the blocks and seams to the back.
  7. Tighten the ties two or three clicks. If you are done, cut off the tails. You may be able to get enough compression pulling it with pliers, but a tool is easier and more controlled.