1. Be patient for your favorite song
So you finally picked up “More Songs About Buildings and Food.” That’s great, but if at all possible, resist the urge to skip ahead to “I’m Not In Love.” Sit on your hands if you must, take up knitting, eat some edamame…. just be patient. Your song will come. Oh, okay, can’t wait that long? Alright. Use the cueing lever on your turntable to raise and lower the needle. Your hands are never truly steady and it’s easy to slip up and gouge the grooves of a record or even break the needle on your cartridge. Never drop or abruptly pick up the needle on a vinyl record especially as it’s fading out. Over time you’ll start to hear ticks and pops as the vinyl is gradually getting gouged in those areas. Use the cueing lever and aim to cue up a song just before the music starts so that the needle SLOWLY drops in the silent area of the grooves and not in the areas with music. Also, wait for the music to fade out completely or stop before picking up the needle.
2. Do NOT stack vinyl records
Just don’t do it.
3. Wet playing a vinyl record is not a cure
(Apparently people do this? Who are they?) Never wet play a vinyl record in an attempt to quiet the crackle and pops. Doing so only forces the abrasive sludge deeper into the grooves as the needle makes its way around the record possibly doing irreversible damage. This makes the record sound even worse when the schmutz dries because it’s become crack filler. Plus, you could muck up your whole machine.
4. Keep your stinkin’ paws off the record surface
No matter how clean you think your hands are, oil from your fingertips or palms will transfer onto the record and become little dust magnets. Always hold a record by its outer edges only. If you accidentally touch a record it’s best to immediately clean it with a liquid record cleaner or isopropyl alcohol and making sure it is dry before putting it away.
5. Your T-shirt is not a record cleaner
Aside from protecting your modesty, t-shirts have a plethora of household uses; cleaning records is not one of them. For dry cleaning or light touch up, use a carbon fiber record cleaning brush as it actually discharges static and lifts dirt without damaging the vinyl.
6. Say NO to non-approved cleaners on your vinyl records
Do not use lubricants or solvents such as baby oil, lighter fluid… no matter what anyone may tell you. These fluids can cause a devastating chemical reaction that can permanently damage a record. Use products specifically labelled for cleaning vinyl records or get a cleaning machine. You can check out a quick how-to here
7. Wait for the record platter to STOP
Never place or pick up a vinyl record as the turntable platter is spinning. This will quickly scratch the flipside of a record. Always wait for the platter to come to a complete stop before doing anything.
8. Don’t mar that beautiful album cover art with tape
To keep your album cover as lovely as the day you got it, the best to place the record jacket in a poly outer sleeve and place the record in its inner sleeve behind it. Alternately, you can place the record in its inner sleeve inside a generic cardboard record jacket and save the original jacket in a poly sleeve for safekeeping.
9. Dropping records into a sleeve or jacket is a NO-NO
Though it may be a satisfying end to a good listening session, resist the temptation to let a record just plop into an inner sleeve and/or record jacket. Treat it as you would a sleeping baby: simply hold the cover horizontally and slightly bowed open. then gently slide the record in making sure it doesn’t bind.
1o. Never leave your records out of their sleeves longer than necessary
Put vinyl records away when you’re done. Remove a record from the TT as soon as you are finished listening to it to prevent it from attracting dust and dirt. The only time a record should be outside its protective sleeve and jacket is when it is actually being played. No excuses! (And really, that’s good advice for all your toys.)