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 Post subject: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:19 am
Posts: 4
Location: In Serendipity
Hello
I recently purchased a beautiful VV-50 Talking Machine with a Side crank, Portable, at a Yard Sale. I will post pictures later but it is as far as I can see in perfect condition. I think I got a real deal 50.00 plus anywhere from 30-50 records. I believe the Gent gave me a deal because I was so taken by the thing. And he wanted it to go to someone that would appreciate it. I had never heard one play or even seen one in person for that matter. I was blown away.... when he cranked it up and played a record for me I just couldn't believe it..... These are way before my time, but there is something about it that just blew me back in time. I just am so excited I discovered this it seems the older you get the less life offers things like this that are new and wonderful. :clover:

Anyway. My questions:

  1. How do you clean the records?
  2. Needles: where do I get them, I see some on ebay but not sure if they all fit all models.
  3. I read something about Bamboo needles. Where do I get them?
  4. Is there anything I need to do to maintain this machine mechanically?
  5. Are there any old Blues, available on these records, I guess I am thinking things from the Old South, I know there is some Jazz. My other half likes the big band stuff and the faster tempo jazz and I like some classical so I am really excited about this but I was hoping to find some type of I want to say Black Music (not to offend anyone) I just love the feel of the music and I think that it would be wonderful on this.
  6. Are there slip covers available for the records? I have some but they are pretty old and worn.
**Katrina**


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:20 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:13 pm
Posts: 517
Location: City Point by the Sea
Justme,

Welcome aboard the TMF. :D Hopefully you will find the answers to all your question here. Congratulations on you purchase. The VV-50 is a wonderful Victrola, I have an early front crank version.

Rule number one (if you don't already know it-one needle, one play to protect your records.

The easiest and most basic way to clean your 78s is to simply wipe them down with a soft cloth parallel to the groove. For a better cleaning you could try water,distilled is best, but tap will do. Use one or two drops of a simple dish detergent-I'm told Dawn is good for this. Lightly dampen a cheap soft bristle paint brush with the water and brush along the groove being careful to avoid getting the label wet. Then repeat with clean water wipe dry then allow to dry overnight. I think that's one of the best of the basic cleaning methods-Folks any corrections?

If you look through our links section you can find some links to businesses devoted to our phonographic needs. Repairs, Parts, Dealers, Sales & Auctions.

One of the good sources for sleeves is Bags Unlimited.


Regards,
John

Listening to the Victrola fifteen minutes a day will alter and brighten your whole life.
Use each needle only ONCE!



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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:08 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:47 pm
Posts: 116
Neophone wrote:
Justme,

Welcome aboard the TMF. :D Hopefully you will find the answers to all your question here. Congratulations on you purchase. The VV-50 is a wonderful Victrola, I have an early front crank version.

Rule number one (if you don't already know it-one needle one play to protect your records.

Being a cylinder enthusiast only, my knowledge of "needle" machines is zero. Why would not a hardened, or tungsten last longer and why does a standard steel needle only last one play? This has probably been discussed in the past but I tend to skip over the topics not related to cylinders---- in other words that which I do not know anything about. Michael


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:50 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 713
Location: okc ok
Welcome! You'll find plenty of enjoyable music on 78's to play on your machine. However, blues records are pretty hard to come by and if you do find some, probably rare enough that you don't want to play them much with a steel needle that will cause more rapid wear than a modern turntable with a 78 rpm speed.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:09 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1520
Welcome to collecting, it can get the best of you and your house if your not careful.

There are some sites that show how to grease and oil a simple motor, they probably come up though google is there isn't any here. Well heck, it seems to me I put up a very basic Popular Mechanics how to maintain your old portable phonograph here at one point. It must be in the threads heres somewhere, will have to look for it. You can google victrola maintenance and most likely find something also. Lots of people here will give you tips as well.

As to the needles, I have had good luck using bulk buys from Wyatts Musical America site. Not 100% sure he is still in business however. There are others if you use the google search. One needle is the best suggestion. I haven't always followed it sometimes playing a couple sides but best to play one.

As to having to play a good record on a electric machine, I haven't found any evidence of that being true in my experience. For well over 50 years I have played my records with mostly mechanical machines and I have not been able to hear any difference in sound quality though careful handling and changing the needles. If a person has a poor quality machine or one which the arm might be dragging due to swollen metal parts then it might cause a wear, or most likely would cause wear I should say. But if you arm is moving freely it shouldn't be a problem. A few drops of oil on the pivot point at the rear and on the place where the arm swivels upward should insure its moving loosely.

Good blues records are going to bring a premium but if you have any luck you can find some locally much cheaper than on the ebay or other auction type sites. After all you have everyone in the world bidding against you on Ebay and that can mean really high prices if its a rare item. (wish I had a few of those).


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:06 pm 
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Victor III
User avatar
So many phonographs, so little money
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:12 pm
Posts: 939
Location: The Garden State
Welcome Justme,

You have been bitten. Start making space now, as your home will quickly fill with machines. (for me - 7 years, 50 machines)

I can add a few things to what has already been said:

-Don't use alchohol to clean your records as it will desolve the shelac.

-I purchased from Wyatts a couple of months ago and he was very much in business http://www.wyattsmusical.com/ I buy my needles there. Best deal is by the 1000 (You will use them!) There are two types commonly available: Soft and Loud. Louds are loud, soft, not as loud. I pretty much use the soft needles and only use a loud when demonstrating the difference to an interested guest. Another good source for needles is APSCO http://www.antiquephono.com/

-There is not much you need to do mechanically other than lubricate it if it needs it. These machines were extremely well built and do not require much care. If you are interested in the mechanics, restoration, and repair, I would recommend you buy a copy of "The Compleat Talking Machine" It is great book with a wealth of information.

-Records - I pretty much stick to the Acoustic era (~pre 1926). Big band type of music is very prevalent and available. Jazz and Blues are harder to find and more expensive. Check out the record auctions by Kurt Nauck and Tom Hawthorne. I would also recommend hitting estate sales and flea markets. People have a hard time getting rid of 78's and you can get them cheap. Start buying cheap and see what you like.

-Advice - This board is the place. (Just watch out for Aaron :lol: )

Finally, yes, at $50 you got a very a good deal.
Why do we need signatures when we are on a first avatar basis?


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Victor I
User avatar
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:29 pm
Posts: 140
Location: East Central WI
All good information!

One that I try to stick to is "Collect What You Like". So how do you know what you like? My first year of collecting was interesting, I bought anything I could get my hands on. A lot of them were pretty common machines, and most of the time, in not so good condition, but I learned as I went along how to fix different problems. Weather it was motor work, wood work, finish work or other metal work, or reproducer repair/rebuilding, it takes some practice to get a feel for what your doing, and soon develop your own 'style' I guess you could say. My point being, after having so many "common" machines, you start to see and hear the differences between them and start to find whats good to your ear. Visiting other collectors and seeing and hearing other machines, is a good reference. Like I said, collect what you like, and what sounds good to you. I have a VV-XI, although a common machine, it needed a lot of work when I got it. But, It was one of my first machines, I did all of the work on it, it sounds great, and I'll always remember it because of that.

Same go's for records. Buy quantities at flea markets and go through them, play them and learn the artists and things you like. When I started, I had already heard the Billy Murray, Ada Jones, Two Black Crows and all the popular artists, but there were things that I found that I like by buying records. I was fortunate enough that two of my machines came with huge amounts of records, almost an instant collection. But it takes time, and a lot of needles :D when going through them. Or, find yourself an old Voice Of Music electric turntable, it's easier to sample tons of records in a shorter amount of time.

Ok, got long winded, sorry. :oops:

I'm wondering if we could have a "sticky" on this topic. Not that we don't mind answering the questions, but for someone just starting out or potential collectors, it would help a great deal.

Enjoy your VV-50, Justme, it's a great machine and one that I'd actually like to own some day.

- Jim
You don't have to be a half-nut to enjoy antique phonographs, but it helps.
WIMAPS


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:14 am 
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Victor I
User avatar
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:02 am
Posts: 160
Location: In the land of Pork & Bergman
justme wrote:
Hello
I recently purchased a beautiful VV-50 Talking Machine with a Side crank, Portable, at a Yard Sale. I will post pictures later but it is as far as I can see in perfect condition. I think I got a real deal 50.00 plus anywhere from 30-50 records. I believe the Gent gave me a deal because I was so taken by the thing. And he wanted it to go to someone that would appreciate it. I had never heard one play or even seen one in person for that matter. I was blown away.... when he cranked it up and played a record for me I just couldn't believe it..... These are way before my time, but there is something about it that just blew me back in time. I just am so excited I discovered this it seems the older you get the less life offers things like this that are new and wonderful. :clover:

Anyway. My questions:

  1. How do you clean the records?
  2. Needles: where do I get them, I see some on ebay but not sure if they all fit all models.
  3. I read something about Bamboo needles. Where do I get them?
  4. Is there anything I need to do to maintain this machine mechanically?
  5. Are there any old Blues, available on these records, I guess I am thinking things from the Old South, I know there is some Jazz. My other half likes the big band stuff and the faster tempo jazz and I like some classical so I am really excited about this but I was hoping to find some type of I want to say Black Music (not to offend anyone) I just love the feel of the music and I think that it would be wonderful on this.
  6. Are there slip covers available for the records? I have some but they are pretty old and worn.

Welcome on Board!

  1. I use a cup of water, few drops of dish detergent, dip a soft toothbrush in the cup, gently scrub the grooves, rinse under running, lukewarm tap water, pat down with a lint free towel. Allow to airdry overnight before being put in a cover.
  2. I use needles from Walt Sommers, ebay id cyber_tigger.
  3. Only old stock available, try eBay, but be prepared to pay stupid money for them. I myself loath fiber. Your records must be in pristine condition, otherwise they'll wear out prematurely. And even if they work, they sound very puny.
  4. Oil it, grease it, if the grease is hardened you'll probably want to do a full service de-greasing/re-greasing.
    Do buy Eric Reiss The Compleat (SIC) Talking Machine. A superb book, that has tons of information about phonographs. Big section on maintaining/servicing.
  5. Try eBay or some of the bigger auction lists, such as Naucks, be ready to pay stupid money for anything good in the blues section.
  6. Like Neo says, Bags Unlimited.

My $0.02.
Searching for The Sound


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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:36 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:13 pm
Posts: 517
Location: City Point by the Sea
Jim,

That's an excellent idea, I think we should have a discussion about what to include-I'll start another thread on the subject.


Regards,
John

Listening to the Victrola fifteen minutes a day will alter and brighten your whole life.
Use each needle only ONCE!



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 Post subject: Re: New to Talking Machine Have questions
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:30 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1520
I second the idea of buying lots of records and playing your way though them. That is how over 50 years I have found a respect for many kinds of music and artist that I would have never experienced otherwise. Another warning is that sometimes the first hearing isn't the answer as to whether you will enjoy it later or not. I often found that especially in the classical vain, as time passed and I heard more things, those that I first rejected suddenly sounded a lot better. Victor said that the Popular "Ditty" of the day would fade away but the classical selections would live forever. Some of that is still true, but then again some of pop things out valued the classics by many times due to the rarity of some things and the fervor of the collectors. Mostly have fun. Feel privileged to be able to step back in time and hear how people enjoyed them selves 90 or more years ago. So many miss out on the history of recorded sound, what a pity.

One other quick thought. Don't be discouraged if your friends are not fond of your records or machines. Most of us find that few "normal" people will actually want to listen to more than a record or less before tiring of the whole thing. Don't let it stop you though, its a life full of richness not found on iPods.


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