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 Post subject: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 4:08 pm 
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Posts: 801
Location: Ironwood, MI
I'm restoring my childhood 78 RPM-only Webster-Chicago 60-1. It used a Shure W78 crystal cartridge which, of course, years have taken their toll and it is bad. The cartridge is a very simple affair whereby the needle is held in place by a screw that extends outside the tone arm. My intent was that, once I got the crystal cartridge rebuilt, I would just insert one of the many Pfanstiehl needles I have for my old Victrola. However in the course of my dialogue with the crystal rebuilder he mentioned selling me a sapphire or diamond needle. What is the necessaity of using a very expensive sapphire or diamond needle over the plain old steel ones I used throughout my many years of listening to "Little Golden Records" on this old Webster?


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Mon 08, 2018 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 606
Location: SW PA
The sapphire and especially diamond needles last MUCH longer than a steel needle. Not everyone does it, but you are supposed to replace the steel needle after every record side that you play. Although, I doubt that would be necessary if you are just playing Little Golden records vs older shellac 78s. I don't see why you would have to use the diamond or sapphire over steel, but maybe someone else will have a good reason. Steel needles are dirt cheap. You can buy packs of 100 on ebay for a couple dollars shipped.


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Wed 10, 2018 4:30 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
beat_truck wrote:
The sapphire and especially diamond needles last MUCH longer and you are supposed to replace the steel needle after every record side that you play.
Only play ACOUSTIC 78's (before 1925) with a steel needle because if you play electric 78's of the 40s and especially the 50's, a lot of those were pressed on e.g. various versions of Bakelite (Metrolite Deccalite etc) or vinyl (Vitrolac etc) and will be totally destroyed after just one play.

Even though the cartridge may LOOK the same as something that takes an old steel needle - I'd bet you a dollar to a donut that this was not the case originally.

If it's truly a crystal version of an acoustic gramophone head, the best stylus for those are the ``lambda'' (inverted 7) shaped stylus and nylon shank. These both reduce the tracking force by over half vs the straight-shank sapphires you can get (don't think they come in diamond anymore) and basically convert the tracking style into a more modern/streamlined type of design getting better sound and increasing record life.

More than likely though the correct stylus would be closer to the old Astatic sapphire type used by a lot of mfgers like RCA used in their 45 players where a short round metal shank with a flat side extends upwards to be installed behind the thumbscrew, and the actual stylus is mounted on a horizontal metal cantilever a few millimeters in front of the shank and supported by its' own stiffness.

The other choice if you can't find that is the sapphires on an offset shank or `` S'' type http://www.needles4turntables.com/78_rpm.htm - sort of reminds you of a 45 RPM adapter in miniature.
beat_truck wrote:
Maybe someone else will have a good reason why you would have to use the diamond or sapphire over steel on e.g. Little Golden Records.
Because any childrens' 45 or 78 from the same period 90% of which are ``duraplastic'' - the LGR 78's from the 40s up to about `54-`55 or so - the rest being brittle styrene or modern vinyl all three of which will get destroyed after one play on a steel needle.

Other examples of ``duraplastic'' vs styrene are the Simple Simon series of (usually orange label) six-inch 78s and the Robin Hood and Twinkle/Happy Time/Peter Pan type 45s and the 7-inch black plastic Columbia Playtimes with the tan label from the late 30's up to the mid 40's. Not exactly vinyl, but not styrene either.

The various styrenes are the multicolored Spear/Little John series of 5-inch 78's, most of the LGR 7 inch 45s and six inch and seven-inch 78s from the 50's and 60's along with most of the Mercury Blue Ribbon, red Columbia Playtimes orange and yellow Mercury Childcraft 10-inch 78s and the like (the 45s are modern vinyl) and Peter Pan 45s and 78s on 7-inch and 10-inch which again will be destroyed by one play of a steel needle.

Other materials that will be easily destroyed are the so called SuperFlex style of 78s from the late 40s from such labels as Capitol RCAVictor and Decca which are similar to the Duraplastic but still will not stand up to a POUND of force on a steel needle.

So if you have any of these that have NOT already been played with a steel needle - don't destroy them by doing so and try to lighten the head up as best as you can.

Once you get your sapphire stylus and you start playing all those kiddie records that have been ground into the dirt by the previous steel needle, you probably won't be able to hear anything over all the noise the steel needle made by carving into the vinyl/styrene/duraplastic, where records that have not been subject to this kind of abuse will no doubt play fine..

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Wed 10, 2018 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2528
Location: Haledon NJ USA
The Webster-Chicago 60-1, with it's original set-screw cartridge, was meant to use an osmium metal tip needle with a curved shank.

The last Webster-Chicago 60-1 that I overhauled, I used an Astatic 51 cartridge with a 3-mil sapphire stylus and it played very well. The currently available replacement for the Astatic 51 is the Pfanstiehl P51-3 which should work well in the Webster-Chicago 60-1.

https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Thu 11, 2018 5:42 am 
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Joined: Feb Thu 24, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 801
Location: Ironwood, MI
I'm really out of my area of expertise but I know now that I came to the right place. Thank you Ken, ndiamone and beat truck for putting me on the right track.

Inasmuch as I would love to use my old Webster 60-1's Shure W78 cartridge with its distinctive thumb
screw, I have decided to take Ken's advice and will buy the Astatic from Gary at VM. I don't like the fact that ndiamone is probably correct and I have clawed many disks to death over the years. So it will
be sapphire and Astatic.

I had all sorts of intentions. I watched the Youtube video in which the guy cuts a piezoelectric sounder and thought, "Hey! I can that THAT." Then I read the comments here on ARF and was quickly dissuaded from using his method. I've got some old FT-243 crystals and earlier tonight I went and got one and experimented with trying to come up with some sort of an arrangement to use a crystal's quartz but as time wore on I became bored with the project. I also contacted one of the crystal restorers (who I had a negative experience with some years ago with a botched idler wheel rebuild). His price went up to $55 from $40 from the time his info appeared on ARF. I was still willing to pay it but then the comments here on ARF were none too flattering for his cartridge rebuilds either. So Ken...thanks. I'll be ordering that 3 volt Astatic tomorrow.

Oh yes...and ndiamone...I am going to make you cringe. You obviously are a man of immense knowledge about this stuff so what I am about to tell you you might not want to know. As Charlie Harper once said, "once I tell you, I can't un-tell you;" but remember this was my childhood phono. When needles went bad I had to be resourceful because 8 and 10 year olds' salaries weren't as high as they probably are nowadays so I'd cut heads off of brads (small nails) and use them in the cartridge. Now, aren't you sorry you read on?

Thanks guys for the helpful information. Next I will move on to electrostatically flocking the turntable and I am sure when I'm done, the walls, floor, ceiling and I will all be bewhiskered to match.


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Thu 11, 2018 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2377
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
telegrapher wrote:
What I am about to tell you you might not want to know. I'd cut heads off of brads (small nails) and use them in the cartridge. (As such)I have clawed many disks to death over the years. Now, aren't you sorry you read on?
Brads, pins, busted off sewing needles etc etc etc. These were all used en masse by 2 or 3 generations of similarly poor kids with which to play their records on similarly-designed phonos. Which is why most kiddie 45s and 78s are VERY hard to find in PLAYABLE condition nevermind GOOD condition (i.e. enough to record into the computer from and restore digitally).

Just remember - like their 45 counterparts - most of the 1955-on Little Golden Records 78s and Disneyland/Mickey Mouse and a whole host of others - are cut with a one-mil mono LP stylus instead of a 3-mil 78 stylus.

Basically there's three kinds of LGR's for 6-inch and 7-inch (and some of the others follow the same rule).

1. The original series with the colored labels and no white semicircle w art - 1948-52-ish. 90% of these have no lead-in groove and plenty have no leadout or lock groove either. Duraplastic and 3-mil 78 groove.

2. Second series with the white semicircle on the label 1952-ish to 1956-ish. Some titles are duraplastic, some styrene and some are 78 groove and some are LP groove.

3. Stencil/screen printed - either blue, green or black with no paper label at all 1956-ish to the end of the run. Every title is styrene and every title is LP groove. Seven-inch LGR 78s to my kowledge are all LP groove and all styrene.

Columbia Playtime red 6 inch or 7-inch vary. Earlier titles are 78 groove - later titles are LP groove. Same with Mercury Blue Ribbon

Peter Pan colored vinyl 78s. Never seen any 6-inch but TMK all the 7 inch and 10 inch COLORED duraplastic are all 78 groove. The later black ones that double inventory w their 45 brothers are almost all LP groove. Same with 10-inch LGRs and Mercury Childcraft etc.

Cricket is a crapshoot. Most 7-inch and 10-inch 78s whether on the ``flower'' label or the regular yellow label are styrene and 78 groove but some are surprises.

Voco are all vinyl and all 78 groove.

You also have to watch out for a number of mid `50s regular i.e. non-childrens 78s e.g. the King label and a few others - that you are not supposed to play on here anyway regardless - that are also cut with a 1.0 or 1.5 mil stylus. While these won't get DESTROYED their lifespans WILL be considerably shortened as a result.

Some of these had 7-inch sized 45-RPM platter adapters that slowed the speed of the turntable down from 78 on the underside to 45 on top - and a number of childrens 45s were torn up on these players in this fashion as well due to oversize stylus and excessive tracking weight.

Notwithstanding the fact that so many of these early kiddie phonos that HAD a 45 speed
- or on which people used the aforementioned speed adjuster discs on - played their 45s with the same stylus and same tracking weight as they played their 78s just means all the 45's - whether styrene, duraplastic or vinyl - played on something like that will always be either unplayable or very close thereto.

Although it's a little bit odd - a lot of guys born in the late 50s to early 60s when a lot of Talking Toys were using straight-shank sapphire tipped styli (Mattel-O-Phone, Kenner Close N Play the Toys Я Us Geoffrey Music Master any number of talking dolls etc) - once the doll or toy would break/no longer play - guys would rescue the stylus out of it and install `em in these types of older players - and get away with it for awhile.

Those leave only tracking weight damage for the most part since they are a little big for mono LP/45 (1.6 mil or so) but a little small for 78 groove 2.7-3.0 mil) so you get a little bit of a fuzzy sound on 78 but not impossibly so - and a little bit of distortion on LP/45 but again not impossibly so - meaning some of them could be re-used in the same manner and sound fine without worrying about destroying something nice.

Oddly enough though - even though the vinyl and duraplastic 45s are going to be torn up regardless just like the styrene due to the oversize stylus and the tracking weight - the vinyl and duraplastic 78s do considerably better if they are not also thrown around the playroom and walked on and etc for years and years to become scratched up as well.

The aforementioned Peter Pan and Voco and CRG and SuperFlex and Vitrolac and SOME of the Bakelite and etc can still be enjoyed on something with a lighter - and correct size - stylus after being ground into the dirt on something like that - but don't expect a super-quiet surface. The styrene on the other hand as mentioned above will be unlistenable through the hiss induced by the previous carving.

The nice thing about the modern times is the fact that childrens' record collectors are becoming more and more scarce while collections become more and more plentiful as the older guys downsize or pass on with nobody to leave their gear to.

So if you make a list of records you have that are torn up - and ones that you used to have that broke or got too scratched up to use - there's a lot of guys - me included - that have boatloads of kiddie and kiddie-related 78s from the 30s and 40s on either pure shellac or the laminated style (Columbia some RCA etc) that - if taken care of properly in other senses - should give many years of enjoyment on this type of player.

Like many other guys I'm sure - this group of records I'm talking about are `used and only partially abused' vs the unlistenable trash we are talking about whose only future life would be as a tray in a packet of cookies or as the case to a CD - meaning they are not bad enough to throw away/recycle but not good enough to play on a modern magnetic cartridge and tear up the $168 stylus for 78.

If you shoot pictures of your collection - I can tell you what has a 78 groove and what has an LP groove along with what is styrene, what is duraplastic what is vinyl and what is shellac and then when you start getting discs in better condition you can restrict yourself to acquiring only those which would both play properly on that player as well as not getting torn up over time from repeated use thereon.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: 78 RPM Needle Question
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 7:23 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
Posts: 641
ndiamone wrote:
telegrapher wrote:
What I am about to tell you you might not want to know. I'd cut heads off of brads (small nails) and use them in the cartridge. (As such)I have clawed many disks to death over the years. Now, aren't you sorry you read on?
Brads, pins, busted off sewing needles etc etc etc. These were all used en masse by 2 or 3 generations of similarly poor kids with which to play their records on similarly-designed phonos. Which is why most kiddie 45s and 78s are VERY hard to find in PLAYABLE condition nevermind GOOD condition (i.e. enough to record into the computer from and restore digitally).

Just remember - like their 45 counterparts - most of the 1955-on Little Golden Records 78s and Disneyland/Mickey Mouse and a whole host of others - are cut with a one-mil mono LP stylus instead of a 3-mil 78 stylus.

Basically there's three kinds of LGR's for 6-inch and 7-inch (and some of the others follow the same rule).

1. The original series with the colored labels and no white semicircle w art - 1948-52-ish. 90% of these have no lead-in groove and plenty have no leadout or lock groove either. Duraplastic and 3-mil 78 groove.

2. Second series with the white semicircle on the label 1952-ish to 1956-ish. Some titles are duraplastic, some styrene and some are 78 groove and some are LP groove.

3. Stencil/screen printed - either blue, green or black with no paper label at all 1956-ish to the end of the run. Every title is styrene and every title is LP groove. Seven-inch LGR 78s to my kowledge are all LP groove and all styrene.

Columbia Playtime red 6 inch or 7-inch vary. Earlier titles are 78 groove - later titles are LP groove. Same with Mercury Blue Ribbon

Peter Pan colored vinyl 78s. Never seen any 6-inch but TMK all the 7 inch and 10 inch COLORED duraplastic are all 78 groove. The later black ones that double inventory w their 45 brothers are almost all LP groove. Same with 10-inch LGRs and Mercury Childcraft etc.

Cricket is a crapshoot. Most 7-inch and 10-inch 78s whether on the ``flower'' label or the regular yellow label are styrene and 78 groove but some are surprises.

Voco are all vinyl and all 78 groove.

You also have to watch out for a number of mid `50s regular i.e. non-childrens 78s e.g. the King label and a few others - that you are not supposed to play on here anyway regardless - that are also cut with a 1.0 or 1.5 mil stylus. While these won't get DESTROYED their lifespans WILL be considerably shortened as a result.

Some of these had 7-inch sized 45-RPM platter adapters that slowed the speed of the turntable down from 78 on the underside to 45 on top - and a number of childrens 45s were torn up on these players in this fashion as well due to oversize stylus and excessive tracking weight.

Notwithstanding the fact that so many of these early kiddie phonos that HAD a 45 speed
- or on which people used the aforementioned speed adjuster discs on - played their 45s with the same stylus and same tracking weight as they played their 78s just means all the 45's - whether styrene, duraplastic or vinyl - played on something like that will always be either unplayable or very close thereto.

Although it's a little bit odd - a lot of guys born in the late 50s to early 60s when a lot of Talking Toys were using straight-shank sapphire tipped styli (Mattel-O-Phone, Kenner Close N Play the Toys Я Us Geoffrey Music Master any number of talking dolls etc) - once the doll or toy would break/no longer play - guys would rescue the stylus out of it and install `em in these types of older players - and get away with it for awhile.

Those leave only tracking weight damage for the most part since they are a little big for mono LP/45 (1.6 mil or so) but a little small for 78 groove 2.7-3.0 mil) so you get a little bit of a fuzzy sound on 78 but not impossibly so - and a little bit of distortion on LP/45 but again not impossibly so - meaning some of them could be re-used in the same manner and sound fine without worrying about destroying something nice.

Oddly enough though - even though the vinyl and duraplastic 45s are going to be torn up regardless just like the styrene due to the oversize stylus and the tracking weight - the vinyl and duraplastic 78s do considerably better if they are not also thrown around the playroom and walked on and etc for years and years to become scratched up as well.

The aforementioned Peter Pan and Voco and CRG and SuperFlex and Vitrolac and SOME of the Bakelite and etc can still be enjoyed on something with a lighter - and correct size - stylus after being ground into the dirt on something like that - but don't expect a super-quiet surface. The styrene on the other hand as mentioned above will be unlistenable through the hiss induced by the previous carving.

The nice thing about the modern times is the fact that childrens' record collectors are becoming more and more scarce while collections become more and more plentiful as the older guys downsize or pass on with nobody to leave their gear to.

So if you make a list of records you have that are torn up - and ones that you used to have that broke or got too scratched up to use - there's a lot of guys - me included - that have boatloads of kiddie and kiddie-related 78s from the 30s and 40s on either pure shellac or the laminated style (Columbia some RCA etc) that - if taken care of properly in other senses - should give many years of enjoyment on this type of player.

Like many other guys I'm sure - this group of records I'm talking about are `used and only partially abused' vs the unlistenable trash we are talking about whose only future life would be as a tray in a packet of cookies or as the case to a CD - meaning they are not bad enough to throw away/recycle but not good enough to play on a modern magnetic cartridge and tear up the $168 stylus for 78.

If you shoot pictures of your collection - I can tell you what has a 78 groove and what has an LP groove along with what is styrene, what is duraplastic what is vinyl and what is shellac and then when you start getting discs in better condition you can restrict yourself to acquiring only those which would both play properly on that player as well as not getting torn up over time from repeated use thereon.



Great post.


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