Why Is My Record Player Skipping?


Why Is My Record Player Skipping?

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Record players are great to listen to music… when they are working right, But what can you do when your record player starts skipping and jumping? 

Is there a way to fix it? 

Why is my record player jumping? 

There are a few different reasons that record players jump. Most commonly the issue is because the record needs cleaned or repaired or the needle needs replaced. There are other issues that might cause this issue as well. 

In this article we will take a look into some of the possible reasons that your player might be skipping and what you can do about it to fix it. 

Will it hurt anything?

The first question most people wonder about is whether the skipping and jumping of their player will hurt anything, the answer is yes. When a record skips it is causing the needle to drag or jump to and from places where it shouldn’t. That dragging or jumping will damage your records even further. 

If you have a record that is skipping it is a good idea to shut the player off and fix the issue before trying to play that record again. 

Another thing that it will hurt is your ears. Normally when a record skips it will give a high pitched noise that quite simply doesn’t sound very good. It almost has that nails on the chalkboard quality to it. 

If these two things don’t make you want to fix the skipping then I don’t know what will! 

Record players skipping is a relatively common issue that can be fixed quite quickly and easily. Just because your record is skipping doesn’t mean that you have to throw it away. There are ways to fix the issues. 

Some reasons why your record player is skipping

When you notice that your record player has started skipping, there are three main things that you need to look at that might be causing your player to skip or jump. Once you determine which of these things is causing the issue it will be easier to fix it. 

The three reasons your record player is skipping are: 

  • Record-Related Reasons
  • Room -Related Reasons
  • Player-Related Reasons

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these possible reasons. 

Record-Related Reasons

When you look at possible record issues there are three main issues that might be causing the problem. They are: 

1. Scratches

If when you look at your record you notice a scratch or two on the playing surface then that could certainly be the issue. When a record is scratched the needle will have difficulty staying in the correct groove and will often jump out if the scratch is deep enough. 

Just because your record is scratched doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. There are a variety of different ways to fix scratched records to make them stop skipping. 

Check out the video below to learn more about how to fix a scratched record. 

2. Warping

Another common reason that records skip is because the record is slightly warped. The easiest way to tell if your record is warped is put the record on a flat surface. Does it sit entirely flat or is one edge or the middle up a little bit? 

If your record doesn’t sit entirely flat then your record has been warped at some point in the past. Records can get warped through improper storage, leaving them in direct sunlight, or exposing them to excessive heat. 

If your record is warped there are ways to fix it. Watch the video below for some simple steps to take to fix your warped record. 

3. Dirt

This is probably the most common reason that your record is going to skip. It is important to know that the needle goes through the grooves when playing music. If your record is dirty or has had a bunch of dust pile up on it then the needle might have difficulty styaing in the grooves. 

When the needle cannot stay in the grooves it has to go somewhere. It will often go out of the groove and will skip/jump to another groove on the record. 

Of course the easiest way to fix this is to simply clean your record. 

There are a variety of different ways to clean your records but a simple method can be found in the video below. 

Room-Related Reasons

There are three possible reasons related to the room where you are playing the record that might be causing issues. Those three reasons are: 

1. Sturdiness

This might seem like an odd reason so let me explain. In many houses the flooring isn’t as thick or as sturdy as it could be. By simply walking around the room you can move the flooring higher or lower in other parts of the room. 

This movement might not be noticable to you but it can have an effect on the record player. If you notice that everytime you walk or even dance around while a record is playing and it skips then this is likely the cause. 

The easiest way to fix this if this is what is causing your issues is to simply move the player to a different spot in the room or to a different room altogether. 

2. Player’s surface

A record player needs to be placed on a hard flat surface to play properly. If your record player isn’t put in the right place then the record might skip. 

You will need your record player to be level and well as insulated from other possible movements (as mentioned above).  Even if you aren’t walking around there could still be other movements in the house that affect your player. 

Some examples of this are the washer & dryer running, the AC or heat kicking on, etc. Those movements in the house can cause the player to skip if they are too close to it. 

3. Vibrations

Your record player could be picking up vibrations through a variety of different things. It is most often caused by the external or internal speakers being turned up too loud that causes the player to skip. 

This can especially be a problem if you have the bass turned way up on the speakers that you are using. The vibrations of the speakers can cause the needle to bounce out of the grooves causing your record player to skip. 

The easiest way to test if this is the issue with your setup is to turn the volume all the way down on your speakers and see if the record keeps skipping. If it stops skipping with the volume turned down then you know this is the culprit. 

Player-Related Reasons

There are three basic issues with your player that might be causing your records to skip. They are: 

1. An unbalanced tonearm

You may face record distortion, noise, and sound skipping due to an unbalanced tonearm on your record player. This issue often comes up with a brand new player or one that has recently been moved. Balancing your tonearm is vitally important to make sure that this isn’t causing your issue.

2. A Low Quality Player

There are many cheaper record players that are perfect for playing cheap records or for beginners. However, those cheap record players will have issues that will cause skipping.
You either have to upgrade to a higher quality player or expect to have some of those issues at one point or another. 

3. A dirty stylus

Another reason that your record player might be skipping is that you might have a dirty stylus/needle. It is important to keep your stylus clean to avoid your record skipping. Your stylus should be free from dust, and the record’s surface needs to clean to make sure that the needle stays in the groove properly. 

Don’t try and clean the dust or dirt off your stylus or record with your bare hands. You can get a stylus brush to use specifically on the needle to make sure that it stays clean all of the time. 

Additional tips

If you have tried all of the above things and your record player is still skipping then it might be time to try some additional things. 

Some possible things that might need adjusted or fixed are: 

  • Clean the record player and the record entirely. Make sure it is free of all dirt, dust, anf grime.
  • Adjust the tracking force of the needle/tonearm. Most of the time increasing the tracking force slightly can cause the needle to stop jumping out of the grooves. 
  • Make sure the record player is level. Use a record player leveler to ensure that the platter is not slightly off and allowing the needle to skip. 
  • Make sure that the cartridge and needle are properly aligned. If you are unsure it might be a good idea to simply replace the cartridge and needle. 

Conclusion

If after doing these steps you still are having issues it is probably time to consult a professional. There are many different videos on youtube that you can watch about records that are skipping and how to fix it. Some of my favorites can be found below.

The last resort would be to take your player into a professional and have them check it out. Most record store owners will be able to tell you the best place to take your player or they might even fix record players in the store. 

Of course only do this if the record player is valuable. If you only spent $50 for the player than it isn’t worth trying to hire someone to fix such a cheap player when you could replace it for less. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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