But All My Other Records Play Okay! You Might Need A New Stereo Needle
Gerard Is The Needle Expert At Record Town
Gerard is shown here changing out a needle on a turntable.
Here at Record Town we are fortunate to have Gerard P. Daily available with his infinite knowledge of music history and related obscure facts - and yes his insane knowledge about phonographic needles! We think we are the only store around with our very own "Needle Meister" like Gerard. If you need a needle - Gerard at Record Town is your go-to!
In his first edition of "The Record Town Lowdown", a series of articles where Gerard shares tidbits from his many years at the store or interesting glimpses into the Fort Worth music scene during the last 40+ years.
In this article, Gerard let's us in on how he got acquainted with phonographic needles and a little on how to tell when you need to consider replacing yours. Now let's hear from Gerard....
Mr. Bruton founder of Record Town
I started at Record Town in May of 1975 after graduating from TCU. My first official tasks when I began working there was to tear out the "Billboard Top 100 45 Records Chart" every week, and move the records up and down the top 10. I was also to check the bins and make sure everything was in its proper place and, above all, I was to shadow Mr. Bruton, watch whatever he did, and emulate it.
Back in those days, music came on vinyl and cassette. And if it was on vinyl, then you played it on a record player that used a phonographic needle, also called a stylus, (if you wanted to use a high-dollar term for the same thing). On the wall behind the counter, thumb-tacked to a bulletin board was a sign that Mr. Bruton had cut out from the Pfanstiehl catalog. It read “But All My Other Records Play O.K.” Then, underneath in bright red letters was the word WARNING with three red Exclamation Points. Then came the explanation that if your needle skipped on a new record, but all your other records played, this was a leading indicator that your needle needed to be replaced. However, if this failed to convince you, Record Town had invested in a microscope that allowed you to view the tip of the needle once you had taken it off the record player to get a clear view of it's wear.
If your needle skipped on a new record, but all your other records played - this was a leading indicator that your needle needed to be replaced
Phonographic needle scope purchased over 50 years ago to help Record Town customers see the wear on their needles. It still works today but is not often used.
There are an incredible number of needles just like there are an incredible number of car parts. I had to learn how to look for distinguishing features such as how the needle attached to the cartridge, whether it was a needle that flipped over or whether it zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I could go on and on.
A box of scrap phonographic needles illustrating the staggering variety in the various styles available.
As records began to recede into the background and began to be replaced by the cassette and the CD, the need for people to know how to tell if their needle needed to be replaced became unimportant and "the sign" got retired
When Record Town was bought by the present-day owners, it came with a bunch of needles extending way back to the “days of the obscure 78”. Needles from companies with names like Fideltone, Decca, Permo-Point and many others even more obscure were brought over to the new store. The reference library includes exciting titles like "Set Model-To-Needle Guide For Phonos Built Between 1964-1974". Gradually people dusted off the family console and tried to get it going again. There has to be a needle on it to play records. If there is no needle - one has to be procured; and if by chance there is still one on it - there is a need to be able to tell if the needle is still usable. How does one tell if the needle needs replacing?
All of a sudden, the sign that once was retired now becomes totally relevant again. Even the needle scope still works.
Funny how things that were cast aside as irrelevant just a few years ago have come back around.
Ponographic needles from long ago companies. Some might be useful in reviving an old family console.
Subscribe to our articles blog feed to be notified about new articles. https://recordtowntx.com/blogs/articles.atom