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A question for you old folkies


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This is kind of embarrassing, I'm a pretty audio savvy dude (just finished two years of school, woot woot) but I just got my first record player this Christmas. I have some questions regarding the records. Will it hurt the record to just drop the needle in the middle of the record (in case I only want to listen to one particular song)? What about handling the actual record... should I avoid getting my fingers on it like the bottom of a CD? Is there any way to clean records? I raided my dad's old collection but some of this stuff probably hasn't been listened to since he was my age (1970!!). Thanks for the help, bros and ladies.

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I am sure Samo will weigh in at some point, but here's what I know from the old days:

 

1. When going to the middle of record, carefully drop the needle in the blank space between tracks if you can.

2. Don't touch the black part of the record, just by the edges and label

3. There is cleaning stuff. We use Gruv Glide and a special cloth.

 

Oh, and with such old records, be sure to clean them before you play them.

 

Enjoy....

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I have some questions regarding the records. Will it hurt the record to just drop the needle in the middle of the record (in case I only want to listen to one particular song)? What about handling the actual record... should I avoid getting my fingers on it like the bottom of a CD? Is there any way to clean records? I raided my dad's old collection but some of this stuff probably hasn't been listened to since he was my age (1970!!).
Don't touch the grooves if you can help it. Clean the records with some fluid cleaning fluid if you wish with the grooves, not against them. Everyone assumes that these records are in good shape, but depending on how he handled them, they may be pretty run of the mill. Don't freak out about dropping (not literally) in the middle of a disk, it won't hurt the record and if the record isn't perfect (few are) it won't leave a mark. A reasonably good needle won't hurt a record anyway unless it is dragged across it hard. Older vinyl albums are amazingly resilient, but don't expect them to play perfectly. Hell even brand new albums have imperfections sometimes. The reason there are grooves with nothing on them between songs is that is where you can start in the middle of an album. A good eye and a bit of practice and you can hit that groove, but if you don't, don't panic.

 

So what does your father have? Just curious? Are they old rock or folk or jazz disks or what? Back in the old days (1970) records were not considered as some sort of holy item, they were something you played at parties, in bedrooms over and over and with friends. Stereos even had spindles where you could stack them so you didn't have to get up and change the disks. Often they weren't even that well taken care of because you could always replace them or they were played on shitty stereos. Again, don't freak out about them, just stick them on and enjoy them, surface noise and all.

 

LouieB

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My dad took pretty good care of his records, except for his copy of Born In The USA, which as a big scratch in the middle (which is fine, I'm not a huge fan of The Boss). There are two stashes, I've found one but the other one is hidden somewhere in the house, that's the one I really want, with his Beatle collection. One day... one day. He was a big Dead Head so I got pretty much all early Dead albums, including my personal favorite, American Beauty. I also found The Bands' Rock of Ages. I got a whole bunch of Clapton records and I think all of Hendrix's records. The only record of his that I found, that was released after I was born, was one of my all time favorite albums, Traveling Wilbury's Volume 1. Other records include, Stephen Stills, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Donovon, Small Faces, and Fleetwood Mac. So yeah, pretty much just rock music from the 70s, which is fine with me.

Also for some reason in high school I bought a few records even though I had no record player, these include Nirvana's In Utero, The Strokes' Room on Fire, and everybody's favorite album, Weezer's Maladroit. Before I left Vancouver a couple weeks ago I got Jason Molina's Let Me Go and Pyramid Electric Co and Songs: Ohia's Didn't It Rain.

 

Thanks for the help guys, it's greatly appreciated!

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Yup sounds like a bunch of my collection; some of what you mention are 60s through late 70s; some like the Wilbury's are from the 80s. All of these are fairly common for the period. You should have fun with all these and don't sweat it too much on any of these, they are probably in decent but not perfect shape, just enjoy them. Many of these albums and albums like them are still available in most used record stores (and even some resale or thrift shops.)

 

LouieB

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I would suggest you listen to the records all the way through. It makes sense you would want to hear some songs that were familiar individually, just don't forget to listen to the gems in between. Also, if the shrink wrap is intact, leave it on - I find that it helps protect the covers. I'm assuming your dad will see how you treat this group before he busts out the cream of the crop. Good Luck!

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