Mixing board marking tape- sticky enough but not too sticky

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Joined: 02/12/2009

To temporarily label our mixer channels, outboard gear and cables, we need a masking tape which is sticky enough to stay in place for a session, without leaving goo on the gear when the tape is peeled off. The black Sharpie marker is the easy part. Finding the right tape is a bit trickier.

Here's a case where recording studio folks can piggy-back on another industry to find the right product that meets are particular needs without breaking the bank. There are many varieties of masking tape designed for painters, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel. These differ in stickiness, width and color. The white tape is sometimes referred to as "artist's tape."

The trick is to find a tape of the right stickiness which is not blue (so we can write on it). Painters generally get their temporary masking tape in blue (Scotch's blue tape is UV and sunlight resistant for use outdoors).

The stickiness ("adhesion") is measured in the number of days it can be left in place and still be removable without leaving gum behind ("clean removal time").

A very detailed introduction to all of this is in "Scotch Painters and Masking Tapes Brochure (PDF 555.3 K)".

My favorite is the 3M Scotch 2065 "Masking Tape for Pro Painting," 1-inch width, light tan. The 2065 is a 5-day removal, medium adhesion tape, available in 1", 1.5" and 2" widths. It's sticky enough to stay in place on most surfaces but won't leave goo behind. It's available in a light tan color (much like traditional masking tape) or blue, so be careful when ordering.

Where to get it? The 1" 2065 in light tan is available at amazon.com.

In San Francisco, I also found it (for $2.98 in 2006) at the Home Depot Pro in Colma (across the street from the regular Home Depot, 91 Colma Blvd, 650-757-9360).

Here's some more example product numbers and prices from a 2006 promotional flyer for an MAB store (MAB is an East Coast USA paint store):
2065 1” 105-0351 Sale Price $ 1.89
2065 1.5” 105-0352 Sale Price $ 2.79
2065 2” 105-0353 Sale Price $ 3.59

It can be bought by the case (36 rolls) if you're a distributor, here's the product details.

Also try these paint stores: MAB, Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore (CA/USA), Kelly Moore, ICI or Glidden.

Other tape in the Scotch product line:

2070 = 7-day removal, extra-low adhesion. 1"x60 yards. Available in white. (Discontinued!)
This was not sticky enough on plastic/vertical surfaces (like some outboard gear), falls off in heat/humidity. Works OK on some mixing boards and leaves behind zero goo. This has been discontinued (2006)!

2080 = 60-day removal, low-medium adhesion.
Stickier than 2070 but less sticky than 2065? But this only comes in blue.

So that leaves the 2065 as the best option by Scotch!

for stickier tapes, see:

Also, I'd advise against leaving any of these tapes on gear or cables for more than a few months. Eventually they all leave goo behind, particularly in moist environments.

Finally, some good tips for removing the tape easily without leaving behind goo or tearing the tape (from page 7 of the Scotch brochure):

Angle of removal:
A 45° angle works best. Remove tape back on itself as shown in illustration. If adhesive begins to transfer, slowly remove tape at a 90° angle.

Speed of removal:
Moderate speeds are best. Excessive rate of removal may cause tearing. Very slow rate of removal increases tendency to transfer adhesive.

Does anyone else have a favorite brand to recommend?

Joined: 02/12/2009

I found an online source for another brand of board tape. It's white, in various widths. I can't tell what brand it is, nor how sticky it is. Not sure if it is sticky enough to stick to plastic/vertical surfaces:

Mixing Markertek Mixing Console Tape

It's more expensive than the Scotch 2065 but it is white and available online.

If anyone has tried this, please do report your findings here!

Joined: 02/12/2009

I just read (in TapeOp mag, essential reading btw) about another tape to try: 3M 233+ Automotive Masking Tape. It's low-residue and green, but apparently light enough to write on.


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