Hello! First time poster but (relatively) long time reader here. I am working on a kung fu short film and am currently stumped concerning a particular sound effect. Any suggestions would be so, so great. Here is the setup:

There is a man bound with natural fiber rope and partially elevated off the ground over a knife. The rope is fed through a pulley and then secured to the ground. I know in my mind's eye...er...ear in this case, exactly what I'm looking for as far as an exaggerated rope tension "sound," but am having a tough time finding or describing it. Can anyone think of anything connotative? I have spent time on SoundSnap and running through things I could record, but haven't found the ticket yet.

Also, a big shout out to Tim Prebble for his amazing sound effect collections at Hiss and a Roar. This project would be a lot tougher had I not bought the Swishes and Vegetable Violence collections.


Matt Tibbs

9 Answers 9


Wicker! Take a wicker basket and wrench it in opposing directions with each hand. It totally sounds like heavy natural fibers under tension - because it is - but the dryness makes it louder and more dramatic than actual rope. Worked for me, but a cheap experiment to try out regardless!

  • @NoiseJockey, I totally wouldn't have thought of wicker, but that's why I posted! I will give that a whirl. Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Matt Tibbs
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 5:33

A foley artist I met a few years back used an old Leather Wallet which they twisted and rubbed their thumbs over. This created a stretching/creaking/squeaky sound. You could use any other tense and strong material, I created a similar sound pushing my thumbs into some tense paper.

This would create a starting point and you should get enough material to cut together/pitchshift and play around with.

  • @Audious Sound I will definitely try that and report back...I'm also grabbing some leather shoes to twist. Thanks!
    – Matt Tibbs
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 5:31
  • + 1 on the leather too... used and approved. a thin leather jacket that you twist and pull on.
    – Sam
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 10:29


I just had to post this vid. Its more like a wood creak, but with rope involved:) That little box is just great thought out! Check out the other Roger Gregg vids. He is really inventive.

Best wishes,



You can make some good rope sounds by getting a big handful of long thick succulent grass and twisting it with your hands. Its fairly quiet though so better to do it in a quiet studio with good recording gear.


Welcome, Matt!

If you have access to a microphone and recorder, I recommend you doing some performances on your own rather than continue to scour online libraries. Some useful props would be:

  • Rope
    • Hemp
    • Nylon
    • Fiber
  • Leather
  • Rubber
    • try a bungee cord

That should get you headed in the right direction. Have fun - and post the results for all to hear!


Years ago I needed a simillar sound and I used a leather, pleathure, or just plastic (can remember) bag, wet my hands slightly and rubbed it. Worked well.


I found that after all the great suggestions here, wicker indeed made the most appropriate sound for beefing up that rope scene, closely followed by old leather.


I find that you need to layer it depending on the action of the screen. Leather with wicker has worked for me in the past- a leather belt twisted together to get the tension and then the wicker for the organic compounds of the rope. Has worked for me.


I've had good luck wrapping a piece of rope around a dried piece of wood with the bark still on.

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