A head for a tape drive system has a plurality of transducers formed on a substrate and protected by a cover bar, with a tie bar bonded to the cover bar. The tie bar extends along a tape-facing surface beyond the cover bar, enhancing the structural integrity of the head. Wear bars may be bonded to the substrate, cover bar and tie bar. Alternatively, the tie bar may have a notch within which the substrate and cover bar are bonded. The tie bar reduces misalignment and instability of the transducers, providing increased storage capacity and greater reliability and durability of the tape drive system.