Groove Width On Old 45's

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Gelid
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Groove Width On Old 45's

Post by Gelid » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:41 am

If anyone here has an original "I Fought The Law" by The Bobby Fuller Four on 7", maybe you can answer this:

Was this single manufactured with the Microgroove that is used on every LP, or does it have the groove standard to all pre-LP recordings?

I have a 7" 45 rpm single of "I Fought The Law". It looks beautiful. Glossy, and no major defects visible. I have cleaned it on three different occasions using the Spin-Kleen, plus a little delicately-vigorous scrubbing with a spare carbon fiber pad. But when I play it, the vocals are pretty distorted, and get even worse about half-way through. It has not gotten any better since the first initial cleaning.

Now, just last night I looked into this a bit more and the distortion is only in the right channel. Strange, as this is a mono recording from 1965 (does not specify "In Stereo" on the label). Also, the grooves look a lot coarser than any other 45's I have. They actually look like the grooves on a 78. So, thinking that the microgroove stylus I have been using might be too small for the seemingly non-microgroove of the record, I switched to my 78 cartridge headstock. All the distortion went away. So did the top-end of the frequency response, but nothing I couldn't bring back with equalization.

Could this be just a badly-worn record, or am I on to something, here?

wand143
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RE: Groove Width On Old 45

Post by wand143 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:41 am

If it's a light record that isn't very flexible, it's a styrene pressing. Styrene records don't hold up to much wear and tear and if a record is frequently played, especially with an old needle or heavy tone arm, eventually you'll get what is known as "styrene hiss" e- the grooves are worn to the point where there is a lot of feedback in the grooves. Even new records can have this if they're not properly pressed, although I've heard styrene pressings which sound immaculate, and clean recorsd can be deceiving if they weren't properly played by the previous owner. It's been my experience that the majority of BFF's records were pressed in styrene so, in this case, hiss happens.
"That big ol' hole, little bitty record...nobody's gonna buy that!" - Carl Perkins, 1956

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Graeme
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RE: Groove Width On Old 45

Post by Graeme » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:33 pm

Very early 45's had a groove dimension of 0.001" (one thousandth of an inch). Most cartridges today have an elliptical stylus of slightly smaller dimensions and that will tend to sit in the bottom of the groove of these early records. Your 78 stylus is really too big :) , so I suggest you try and get hold of a 1 thou conical stylus and see how that works.

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j_loop
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RE: Groove Width On Old 45

Post by j_loop » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:59 pm

A long shot, but maybe back in the day someone erroneously played it with a heavy-tracking 78 needle which plowed its own groove (so-to-speak) into the record and now that's the only needle that'll sound right?

Overall I find a lot of old 45's can sound pretty bad even when they look good for various reasons.

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RE: Groove Width On Old 45

Post by CactusCowboy » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:54 pm

It could also be a "non-fill" problem, just a crappy pressing.

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