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PLEASE NOTE:  Our Irvine office will be closed on Saturday June 10 for routine maintenance.  We apologize for any inconvenience.   Our San Diego and West LA offices will be open as usual.

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How to Prevent Skipping on Your Vinyl Record LP

Vinyl records certainly were not the most durable forms of media we’ve ever had, but they sure do sound great when in good condition. Records can suffer from all sorts of deterioration, much of it causing unwanted skipping or audio distortion. Some of these problems can be remedied, while others, are permanent. One of the main problems of older records are that they skip, or have lots of crackling and popping when playing. This is a common problem when attempting to convert records to CD or MP3 files.

To combat the issue of skipping, you first must figure out the cause of the skip. The cause of record skipping usually boils down to a couple of different types of problems. The first is when there is insufficient pressure on the arm itself, causing the needle to jump to place to place. Back in the old days, a quick fix for this problem was to affix a penny, nickle or other small coin to the top of the arm, where the needle is, in order to add some extra weight and pressure where the needle touches the grooves. However, in the present, most modern turntables have an adjustable knob which will accomplish the same thing, without the need for a coin.

The second issue is when the grooves of the record are damaged or collapsed, which will cause the needle jump forward as soon as it hits the damaged area, or when a foreign object gets lodged in between the grooves, which will also prevent the needle from passing through smoothly, resulting in a loud pop and skipping.

If you found a foreign object blocking the path of the grooves, it must be removed the the record to play properly. To do this, try using something soft, such as a cotton swab to gently lodge it free. If this doesn’t work, try moving on to something with more rigidity. Compressed air will also help to dislodge any dirt or dust that may inhabit the grooves.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that the grooves have been damaged in some way, it can be very tricky to fix. One method is to gently create, or recreate the groove by lightly applying pressure to the needle as it passes over the damaged area. If done properly, this will create a new groove for which the needle to pass through, which should not pop or skip any longer. DJs often use the trick of placing small objects such as coins, nuts or bolts on their headshell, which helps prevent skipping during heavy scratching.

These techniques are especially useful for LP to CD or digitizing vinyl records, especially for rare releases that you can no longer find. Although not all records are in the same shape, these two techniques should help reduce the amount of skipping, cracking and popping that may be present in your records.

8 Responses
  1. Anthony

    thanks for this advice Chris. Do you know if the method of creating a new groove would work for an LP with a 2 cm crack from it’s edge inwards? Its a rare LP, one of the thicker vinyl ones from the early 1970’s which I am biding for on ebay.

    many thanks,

    1. Hi Anthony,

      In my opinion, it would be a gamble. The older, thicker ones are much more difficult to work with in regards to the “create-a-groove” method, but still may work if you are extremely careful. If you are close-by to any of our locations, we’d love to take a look at it for you and give you a better assessment. Feel free to also email us pictures and we can take a look at the damage.


  2. AnxietyFox

    Hey cpapciak,

    Thank you! I had been having trouble with a vinyl I bought. It was brand new, although shipping ruined it’s folder, but it had no scratches but skipped terribly. A cleaning took care of some of the issues but it always skipped on one side particularly bad.

    No one had ever told me the penny trick before, after trying it out it fixed the problem, I can finally listen to my Demon Days album without skips!

    Thank you!

  3. Chris

    My daughter has a 3 in one player cd radio record player. Problem is she brought a record off amazon and it jumps I think the record is warped even though its brand new. It only skips or jumps rather in the beginning not in the middle of the record.I don’t know how to fix this

  4. Zach M

    So I recently got some records for a Victoria all in one player I and very happy with the product and albums except it seems to skip on my Micheal Jackson thriller album. At first I thought it’s an old album so I got s new copy brand new press and it skips ( not as much) any thoughts ! I tried the penny trick since mine doesn’t have an adjustment knob but this didn’t work! I’m at a loss on what todo !

  5. amber

    would cold weather make records skip. Im trying to figure out if its the player or the records. I just bought them 2 weeks ago but they were in my car for a week and a half.

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