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All records skip
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Author:  Elaine Jones [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  All records skip

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I fell in love with this Columbia Grafonola recently and bought it. It's my 1st antique record player, so I'm new to all of this.
First I'm curious how I can tell the year it was made. Any particular identifying marks?
Second, I've noticed that all of the records I've tried seem to start sticking (skipping) around an inch in. The arm (sorry I haven't learned the right terminology) seems fairly loose, but around where the records skip it seems really tight. Like the grooves in the records aren't strong enough to drag that stubborn thing any further. Is there anything i can do to loosen it?
Will get a better photo when the sun goes down.
Thanks in advance, Elaine

Author:  52089 [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip


Welcome to the hobby-slash-addiction! You'll find that very few of us stop after just one machine. Search the board for "phonospace" and you'll find 23 pages of people showing their collections.

As to your specific question. The Columbia tonearm base, the arm itself, and the "elbow" joint between them are made of cheap "pot metal" that degrades and swells over the years. You should be able to unscrew the base from the cabinet easily. Once you have done that, you'll probably find a screw that holds the elbow into the base. Remove this screw and separate the pieces. Wipe the joint clean, then lightly sand with emery paper or similar just until the joint turns freely. Put a drop of oil or very light grease on the joint and reassemble. Don't rush anything and don't force anything.

If you find that the parts don't separate cleanly, put the whole thing in the freezer for an hour or so and try again.

Let us know what happens, and good luck!

Author:  Phono48 [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

The arm must be free to move smoothly across the record. If it is stiff at any point, that will cause the needle to skip back. A photo of the arm will help identify the problem.

Author:  gramophone-georg [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

Sounds like one of the infamous pot metal arms that has swollen in a spot.

Author:  Jerry B. [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

Any phonograph tone arm must move freely both horizontally and vertically. The Columbia Grafonola tone arms were made of pot metal. Pot metal swells over time and introduces friction. The friction in your tone arm does not allow the needle to stay in the grove. It may seem like the record skips but the problem lies with the tone arm.

If you use the search feature on this forum you can find numerous threads regarding this problem. Depending on your skill level you can repair it yourself or have it repaired.

Welcome to The Forum. Jerry Blais

Author:  Elaine Jones [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

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thank you for your replies. I will try to remove it and clean it following the directions. It may be a few days, but I will post an update. Meanwhile, here are better pictures.

Author:  Curt A [ Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

It is probably the tonearm, as mentioned previously. One other thing, is the type of records you are trying to play... the one shown on your turntable is a "late" 78, probably 1940s or 50s. These machines play earlier records (1900s-1920s) better, since the records are made of a harder type of shellac. The machine you have is from that era and is made to play those shellac records with a steel needle (use one for each play or they will wear your records), where the later 78s are a softer compound and will sometimes drag the turntable to a halt. There are plenty of records available to play on your machine, however it may be music that is not familiar to you, but you will gradually come to enjoy it...

Author:  De Soto Frank [ Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

Hello Elaine, and Welcome !

I have a couple of Grafonolas similar to yours.

Your machine looks like a "Leader" model, probably made between 1914 and 1918.

If you can post a photo that shows the entire playing area, including the speed and brake controls, we might be able to narrow the date down better.

Sounds like the tone-arm is binding in its lower pivot ( the one that allows it to swing back and forth across the turn-table ).

Are you or someone in the household handy with tools and supplied with generous amounts of patience ?

If so, we can give you a procedure to loosen-up the tone-arm.

If you'd rather not take the risk, if you give us a general location, perhaps there is a forum member nearby who can help.

A general word of caution: the tone-arm and its mounting on Columbia machines are made of a die-cast zinc alloy known commonly as "pot-metal". The alloy formula used prior to WW II is prone to swelling, cracking, and crumbling. It is somewhat fragile, so repair attempts need to be somewhat careful.

Also, if this is your first foray into the world of wind-up phonographs and 78 rpm records, the steel needle is used only once (one side of a record), then discarded. Playing records with worn needles causes record damage, and can cause skipping.

In general, both joints of the tone-arm ( up & down, and side to side ) should move freely under its own weight, no binding through its range of motion.

When the Grafonola is in good working order, they are a nice machine. :)

Frank Mc Mullen

Scranton, PA

Author:  Elaine Jones [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

Anyone in the Fort Myers, FL area?

Author:  phonogfp [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: All records skip

Elaine, I sent you a Private Message with the name of someone who can probably help you.

Good luck!

George P.

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