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Questions & Answers / Intro 101
Answering some of the most common questions.

Do I to need to replace the needle
after every play of the record?

YES. The needle tip gets worn down during the play of the record, it is ADVISED to REPLACE the needle after every play of a song to help keep the record in good shape. The grooves of the record file away at the metal tip and make the needle tip dull. Using a dull or used needle will eventually chew away at the grooves of the record, making it unplayable and sounding aweful. The needle is meant to take the brunt of the force as it is being dragged and bounce around in the record grooves.

This isn't a ploy to sell more needles. This is a fact and not replacing them will scratch up your records. So be aware that there is no such thing as a MULTI-Play needle. I advise everyone to use a needle once and discard. Replace after every play of a song (2-3minutes). This is why I try and keep my prices low so you can afford and enjoy your historic music for more decades.

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Which Needle tone should I choose?
Your needle will make a difference in the tone you get from your player. If possible, you should always try to replace a used needle with one of the same tone. If you do so, your flat disc record will sound like it was originally intended to. The problem with this method is that dull needles can actually cause minor damage that adds up over time. Eventually, your record will be stripped bare to the point that it's not good at all. You can choose to play your vintage music only rarely or to use a needle that will minimize the damage but not give a historically accurate sound. In terms of longevity, the best choice is to have a digital recording made for you to listen to and then you should keep the records and cylinders for display. This allows you to enjoy your music while retaining the value of your collectibles.

Steel needles were used on the manual windup phonographs as well as on some of the early electric ones. There are four types: (Spearpoint offered by Chamberlain exclusively)

Soft tone - Used to mute the sound for a softer, quieter tone. The manual players did not have volume control, and this makes it a simple thing to control the volume of the music. The soft tone will also help to mask the buzzing that can happen with a scratched record.
Medium tone - They're exactly like they're described and create a sound that's in between the soft and the loud.
Spearpoint - Almost looks like a fountain pen nib with the same thickness as the loud, these needles are used to emit a medium, clear sound.
Loud tone - Using these antique phonograph needles allows you to hear a louder version of the music, and they work best on records made prior to 1920.

It's important, since you're often working with one-of-a-kind antiques, to change the needle after every one play. This will keep it from damaging your record with a dull needle, as steel needles aren't built to be particularly long-lasting. Also, since the needles aren't expensive, it should be easy to keep a ton of them on hand. If you have a phonograph without volume control, consider keeping all three types of needles on hand as well.

Make sure that you know what make and model your record player is before ordering so that you get the right type of needles. Once you've got that information, you can find antique needles at this website.

Using the right needle for your antique phonograph or vintage audio equipment is an important part of keeping both your antique player and your vintage records in tip-top shape. There's no point in cutting corners with these antique machines as something as simple as a dull used needle can ruin one of your old records forever.

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I push the needle into the reproducer and it's too short?
Don't shove the needle all the way into the hole of your reproducer. It should fit just enough into the hole so your thumbscrew can tighten onto it and hold it into place securely. You should have a lot of needle sticking out.

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The needle won't stay in the Reproducer after
I tighten the Thumscrew all the way?

There's a good chance your thumbscrew was either broken or replaced by the incorrect thumbscrew with too short of a threaded shaft to hold the needle into place. Sometimes these get cracked, stolen or lost and then replaced by the Phonograph seller by using one they find in the common screw section of your local home store. If it's not squeezing the needle into place, you may need to find an actual replacement that works in your reproducer that will hold the needle into proper postion.

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Why does my record stop spinning when i place the needle on it?
The very first thing that comes to mind is that your mainspring is either broken, cracked or gunked up with old solified grease. You will need to have it looked at by a phonograph technician that specializes in repairing old phonographs or you can do this yourself. The main reason it stops is because there is not enough tension on the spring after being wound up. If your phonograph has two springs, and one is broken, it's only getting half the power it needs to rotate the turntable plate.

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Why does my ABBA and AC/DC album sound bad?
Please make sure you are playing the correct type of record for your antique phonograph. Plastic albums from 1950s to current are not supposed to be played using a metal needle. The substate of your Abba album is made of plastic, much softer than the Shellac records that were produced in 1890 to 1940. You should not be playing modern records on your old victrola.

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Who is "Victrola"? Where did the monkier come from?
The Victor "Victrola" was born in the early 1900s and the word "VICTROLA" was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1906 and still current to this day and used by RCA/Sony Music Entertainment. In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs, record catalogs and Artists signed under their label. Below is a image of one of the original "Victrola" from Victor Talking Machine Co.

Today, there are many small companies using the generic word "VICTROLA" to sell things such as coffee beans, coffee shops, small electronics, modern electric toy record players, and other various items, that have no relation or significance to the original "VICTROLA" from Victor Talking Machine Co. and RCA. These small company's logos may and can be registered with the USPTO, therefore, protected from any use. But the words; Victrola, Phonograph, Gramophone, are all public domain and part of the English language dictionary, for everyday use.

People can and do use the moniker "VICTROLA" when they are refering to an antique phonograph that's made of wood, usually hand crank, with the speaker inside the cabinet. The word, Gramophone, is a British word, usually refering to the Phonograph too and used to describe these and Outside Horned phonographs. Either way, Victrola, Gramophone and Phonograph all are used today when talking about Antique phonographs from the early 1900s.

This advertising sign below is from late 1930s and showing one of the electric record players from RCA. It had an electric pickup and used a special stylus to play its records.

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What volume does the needles produce?

Each needle will create a soft to loud volume when used. Soft Tone are the thinnest. Loud is the thickest shaft available. Volume is a personal preference thing.

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Will the needle work on my phonograph?

As long as your hand crank phonograph Reproducer/Sound Box has a small thumbscrew to hold them into place, they will work. Sometimes this is missing or the threaded shaft is not long enough, so there is no way for the needle to stay in place. NEVER use metal needles on vinyl records!!!

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What direction does my tone-arm go?

The tone-arm and reproducer should always be dragged and not pushed on the record.

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What records can I play using the metal needle?


Metal Needles are meant for the hard Shellac records from 1890s to 1930s. Anything after the 1930s may have been produced of a different substrate (depending on the company at the time) and often too soft for the metal needle. Be certain you are playing the correct record on your Gramophones.

Therefore, if you are playing a record from the 1940s, you have a possibility of ruining the record as these were most likely meant for a electrical pickup phonograph stylus. Do not play any record albums from 1950, 1960 and so on using a metal needle! So some of those big-band and jazz records you have from the 1940s are most likely meant to be played on a electric pickup phonograph! Be aware and play at your own risk on these later discs. Please educate yourself about these old phonographs.

Some of the more common brands you can play using the metal needle is Victor and Columbia from the early era. These records were made of a very hard Shellac and not plastic like the later 12 inch albums. Please know what year your record is from before using a metal needle on your wind-up old phonograph.

DO NOT play Edison Diamond Discs (Re-Creation) and Pathé records with a metal needle as these are meant for special stylus made for that particular phonograph and record made by Edison and Pathe. Do not play Edison cylinders with a metal needle too.

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I have a antique Victor Victrola from the 1920's.
Can I use metal needles on it?

If you are a proud owner of the original vintage Victor Victrola and have the Reproducer that holds the needle into place, then YES, these will work for you and your shellac records. Below is the logo of the Victor Victrola, that is usually on the underside of the wooden cabinet lid. Click onto the link for Types of Phonographs to see more Victor Phonographs.

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Can I use metal needles on my Edison Diamond Disc records?
NO! You can't use metal needles on your Edison phonograph with the Edison reproducer. Edison made his own special records, called Edison Diamond Discs, that were meant to be played with his own special reproducer, that had a diamond tip stylus. Playing any other brand of record with this reproducer will destroy them. Below is the record labels of the Edison discs, Embossed or paper.

Edison information from Wyatt Markus. Go to his site to see more and for Edison Parts.

The only way you can play the standard style 78rpm records such as Victor, Columbia, etc. with the Edison phonograph is to get a special adaptor that has the correct reproducer on the end, that uses the metal needle for those particular flat discs.

For more Edison Phonograph information, Click the photo above or click here

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I just bought this new modern toy record player,
will your needles work on it?

NO! These new toy record players you see being sold today use a special plastic electric pick-up stylus. Metal needles are meant for old Victor Victrolas, Columbia Graphaphones, and hand-crank Gramophones from the early 1900s that require a metal needle to play the shellac records of that era.

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How to clean your old 78rpm disc records
Things You'll Need: • Mild hand dishwashing detergent • Soft washcloth or soft bristle paintbrush
• Lint-free cloth • Distilled water

1. Rinse the 78 rpm record with water, taking care not to get the label wet.
2. Mix a few drops of dishwashing soap (Dawn) (a mild type) with water. Apply to the record using a clean, soft cloth (shammy) or a small clean soft bristle paintbrush. Wipe the record in the direction of the grooves, never across the grooves. Use light pressure to remove stubborn dirt spots. Never use Rubbing Alcohol or Alcohol based products such as Windx on your records.
3. Rinse the record again in water to remove the detergent solution, again taking care not the wet the label.
4. If your tap water is hard and tends to leave spots on your dishes, follow it with a rinse of distilled water. If your dishes have spots, good chance your records will too. Use distilled water rather than your tap water.
5. Dry the clean 78 rpm record by dabbing it with a clean, lint-free shammy cloth. Do not wipe across the grooves.
Let sit flat on dry towel for at least 12-16 hours so that they dry before playing on your phonograph. Do not try to speed drying by placing under a hairdryer, microwave or oven.

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I hear a thump when I crank up my phonograph?

When you crank up the phonograph, a thump occurs. This can be a number of things. But the most common reason is that the lubrication grease inside the spring housing is getting dry and the spring is sticking. The only way to remedy this is to have the motor cleaned and the springs regreased. Leaving it as it is will eventually ruin the springs, possibly breaking them. Below is a photo of a typical Spring in a Victrola.

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There's no tension when I crank my phonograph?

This is most likely due to either cracked springs or springs that released from the pin within the barrel housing case. The springs within the case will have to be removed, cleaned, fixed/replaced and regreased. See the next question.

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I want my broken phonograph fixed. Who do I call?
There are several repair services across the nation and you can find these via Google search. I do not fix phonographs.

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I need a small part to fix my own phonograph
(Micas, gaskets, springs, felt, screws, and more)
There are several repair services and parts sellers across the nation and you can find these via Google search. I no longer sell parts unless I find something special.

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I see "New Old Stock" on some sales listings,
What does that mean?

New Old Stock (NOS) really means, "I have something that is old and never used". This is a fancy way to say, "Buy it cuz it's old and pay more money for it". In my eyes, NOS is just a way to get people to buy something readily available for more money. I don't advise using OLD needles even if they look unused.
New needles are affordable enough and you know you're getting brand new.

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Can I play common 78rpm discs on my
Edison and Pathé Phonograph?

Edison and Pathé (Pronounced, Pah-tay), are the only records that use a special stylus that lasts much longer than the standard metal needle. These were constructed of either a Sapphire or Diamond tip.

Edison used the Diamond stylus and was made to play its Diamond Disc records. These are not meant to be replaced after every play of a edison record.

Pathé use a Sapphire stylus and were made to play Pathé discs at 90rpm. These are not meant to be replaced unless cracked or missing.

Using these two different stylus on your old shellac records can ruin them instantly. Never use a metal needle on Edison or Pathé records. The only Pathé record that actually uses a metal needle are called "Actualle" made by Pathé.

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What is the needle/stylus for my Edison?

Edison decided to use his own technology and his own style of records. He called his records, Diamond Discs. You can identify these records from other 78's because they are about 1/4 inch thick. They also will have Edison's face embossed or on the label too. The Edison phonograph stylus was meant to play thousands of records without replacing. The stylus was made of Diamond tip. These were not meant to be switched out like the common metal needles. These are still available although may need to be replaced by a professional repair service. They can also get more spendy.

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What the heck is a Pathé Needle/stylus?

Early Pathé records were made to use the Sapphire Stylus, which looked like a glass ball at the end of a metal shaft. These were meant only for Pathé records that spun at 90rpm. This stylus lasted a longer period time if taken care of and for many plays of records. Using this on the standard 78rpm records can ruin them. Pathé eventually stopped production of their special "Vertical" Cut records and created the record called "Actuelle" that used the metal needle and spun at 78rpm. Some Pathe phonographs can fit and use metal needles but you need to only play the correct records that required the metal needle on your Pathe phonograph. Please educate yourself before doing this.

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I need new needles for my phonograph, where do I go?

Since 1991, You can buy them from the original needle source, right here.
etsy buy needles for victrola phonograph antique gramophones and phonographs that use the needle on shellac records.

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