Welcome to the vinyl club, you are now part of a world wide tribe that loves analog music. You’ve bought your first record and record player, but how do you take care of your records? We created 5 steps to learn the basics about your vinyl record.
Step 1. A little bit of history
First of all we want to give you a little bit of history and common terminology that you will hear people talk about. The first record player as we know it today was called a gramophone. The German Emile Berliner who invented the gramophone in 1895 used a flat disc instead of a cylinder and the gramophone quickly became popular. The flat discs (which were first made of hard rubber, then shellac, and later vinyl) could be easily produced. Berliner founded ‘The Gramophone Company’ to create records for his invention. He persuaded artists to introduce their music on vinyl and grew to be one of the largest record companies ever.
Step 2. Basic vinyl terminology you need to know and to impress your friends
- A record is made out of polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC
- The road that your stylus follows and is cut into your vinyl, is called a groove.
- You place a small needle into the groove of your vinyl, that needle is called a stylus
- If you have multiple records, you always say vinyl, never vinyls.
- RPM stands for revolutions per minute. The RPM shows how many times the record spins in one minute. Vinyl can be produced in three speeds, 33 ⅓, 45 and 78. 33 ⅓ is used mostly for LP (long-player) records and 45 RPM for singles. 78 RPM was the first speed used from 1901 until around the 1950’s.
Step 3. How to hold your record
Now we’re getting to the part where every collector is most afraid of: greasy fingertips. Yes, we know, we vinyl collectors’ are a little bit neurotic sometimes but it is for a good cause. The material and the grooves make vinyl pretty delicate and it scratches easily. That is why it’s best to alway hold the edges and/or the label part of the record to make sure your fingers don’t touch the grooves.
Step 4. Playing records
We are getting to the fun part, playing records and listening to your favorite artists. Like we previously mentioned, vinyl is fragile and can be easily scratched. That’s why it is important to know exactly how to place the stylus into the groove of your record. To make it easy we created a video for you.
Step 5: How to store your vinyl record
Storing records the wrong way can cause them to warp. Luckily you can follow these next two steps and enjoy your vinyl for a long time.
- Vinyl doesn’t like the sun. Sunlight heats up your records and makes vinyl soft and warped.
- Another way to make sure your records are not getting warped is to alway store vinyl vertically.
You just took the first steps of becoming a real vinyl expert. We would love to see your vinyl collection, you can tag us @crosleyradioeurope on Instagram. Keep an eye on our website for the new ‘Record player 101’ blogs. We’ll release them soon!