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How To Fix A Record Player Arm That Will Not Stay Down

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A phonograph, in its later forms also called a gramophone (as a trademark since 1887, as a generic name in the UK since 1910) or since the 1940s called a record player, is a device for the mechanical recording and reproduction of sound. The sound vibration waveforms are recorded as corresponding physical deviations of a spiral groove engraved, etched, incised, or impressed into the surface of a rotating cylinder or disc, called a “record”.

To recreate the sound, the surface is similarly rotated while a playback stylus traces the groove and is therefore vibrated by it, very faintly reproducing the recorded sound. In early acoustic phonographs, the stylus vibrated a diaphragm which produced sound waves which were coupled to the open air through a flaring horn, or directly to the listener’s ears through stethoscope-type earphones.

So how do you fix a record player arm that will not stay down?

In most cases, the balance between the cartridge and the counterweight gets disturbed and causes the arm to move up. It becomes similar to a seesaw. In order to fix the issue, you will need to adjust the balance of the record players arm.

If you would like to know more about how to fix a record player’s arm that will not stay down, please keep reading.

 You can also check out this video below to learn more as well!

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Maintenance Of Your Record Player

Listening to your old school vinyl records can bring great pleasure to your heart. They refresh your mind and help you throw off the stress and worries that you might be having. Doing this will bring back great memories, and is a great pastime which can increase your productivity and boosts happiness in your life.

To maintain this pleasure, it is very important to take proper care of your records and record players. Keeping your records neat and clean and away from sunlight can help with this.

Record Player’s Arms

With record players, most of the people who own one have complained about the record player’s arm at one time or another. In this case, the record player’s arm displaces from its location and moves up.

This movement of the arm breaks the contact with the record  disabling the stylus from moving through the grooves and playing the record. If this has happened to you, then you will definitely want to know how to fix the issue.

Record Player’s Sound

The sound is all about the vibrations that are generated and amplified when the stylus moves through the grooves present on the record. It reads the information and vibrates accordingly. The correct reading demands a good connection between the stylus and the record and this is where the tracking force comes into play.

In most cases, the balance between the cartridge and the counterweight gets disturbed and causes the arm to move up. It becomes similar to a seesaw.

To play the record, it is necessary to have a contact between the stylus and the records but when it moves up; it breaks the contact and we cannot hear any sound. 

It disturbs the tracking weight. The weight that the stylus exerts on record is called tracking weight. It is important to set this tracking weight.

If the tracking weight is too low, the stylus will jump and can cause damage to the record, that’s why low weight is much more dangerous than high weight. If the tracking weight is too high, it will not track the grooves correctly.

This can distort it and lose the information. This is why we need to have a force which is balanced in such a way to play the records effectively.

To adjust the balance here are some steps. Be patient while performing these steps and don’t force any step by excess pressure or force.

Adjusting The Record Player’s Balance

  • Hold the anti-skating control and set it to zero. It will be a rotating wheel with numbers or a wire with a hanging weight.
  • Unhook the yoke. Now the arm will be free. Next you will need to hold it to prevent the stylus from crashing into the platter.
  • Move the counterweight present at the rear side, backward and forward along the length until the arm lifts off and hangs freely in a level position. Next you will tighten the nut to stop the weight from sliding.
  • Now with the help of the arm tracking weight, move the dial to zero.
  • If your counterweight is on screw thread, then rotate it to the desired weight. If there is no counterweight or screw thread, then keep the tracking weight gauge on the platter. Adjust the counterweight and look at the gauge’s reading. It will tell you if you have found the correct weight.
  • Secure the tonearm back. In an anti-skating device, set it to the same reading as your tracking weight. This will prevent the tonearm from skipping or skating across the grooves.

By following these simple steps, you can adjust your player’s arm and prevent it from lifting. 

Be sure to follow the steps carefully. If your manufacturer advises not to follow any steps, then you must follow what they say is best for your player.

Record Player Tracking Force

The force applied by the stylus on the record to track the grooves and vibrate to produce sound is called the tracking force. You need to be sure that the stylus is properly set onto the grooves when you adjust the tracking force.

Every quality player will allow you to adjust the tracking force regardless of its equipment. The purpose of setting a tracking force is to set a medium weight perfect for playing the records.

Cartridge manufacturers prescribe an ideal range for the tracking weight anywhere around 1.5 to 3 and provide details about setting counterweights. For example, if the advised ideal tracking weight of your player is between 1 and 3 then you can set it in the middle at 2, for best results.

Record Player Life Span

Reading the records by getting rubbed in the grooves wears out the stylus and limits its life. Most of the manufacturers advise changing your stylus after every 1000 hours of record playing.

For example, if you play a record for 1 hour every day then you need to replace your stylus after 1000 days. This number may vary from one manufacturer to another.

Users can have various opinions on this. Some prefer to keep a stylus going for a long time. According to them, if you are cleaning the records with proper care, it can result in an increased life span of the stylus.

Some of them say that changing the stylus within the period as advised by the manufacturer can help in preserving the records and helps to keep them in good shape. While cleaning your stylus, don’t touch it with naked hands and don’t clean it with a fingertip.

When using a liquid cleaner, don’t moisturize the stylus too much as this will damage the stylus as well.


The tracking weight plays a major role in the sound quality and life span of the record and stylus. It helps in better tracking of the grooves and the information stored inside them.

Most of the vinyl record players come with adjustable counterweights by which you can vary the tracking weight. It is easy to understand and adjust the weight. This will solve the problem of hanging up the arm and will adjust it properly.

Be sure to read the advised guidelines carefully and always follow the directions of the manufacturer for cleaning and adjusting instructions.