In this article, I will dive deep into the 9 common reasons as to why is my record skipping and what can be done to fix this issue.
I understand how frustrating it feels when you play your favorite tracks after a long time and as you start getting immersed in a great piece of music, the track gets skipped.
This ruins the whole experience, isn’t it?
Well, no more! As my explainer begins here:
- #1: Dirt, Dust, Debris and Grease In Your Record
- #2: The Tracking Force Of Your Tonearm Is Too Light!
- #3: Your Turntable Is Wrongly Placed!
- #4: Your Stylus Is Crying For Help!
- #5: Your Record Is Damaged!
- #6: Your Record Player Is Getting Interferred!
- #7: Your Cartridge Isn’t Aligned The Right Away!
- #8: Your Anti-Skating Pressure Is Not Balanced!
- #9: Your Music Record Is Faulty!
- Some Bonus Tips To Keep Your Record Player Happy!
#1: Dirt, Dust, Debris and Grease In Your Record
This is pretty obvious. If your records are dirty, they can skip your favorite music tracks.
Here is what you can do about it:
Every time you put a record to play on your turntable, dry-clean it first. Use a carbon fiber brush to remove dust particles that get deposited on your records.
You can follow these steps to make your task easier:
- Put the record on the turntable.
- Start the spindle and move your carbon fiber brush gently from outward portions to inwards.
- Clean your brush and repeat the process once more.
And you are done! Your record will be rid of all those pesky dirt in the air!
If you see your fingerprints on your record or the problem persists, then you can wet clean them immediately.
For this, you need to use a record cleaning fluid and a velvet brush.
Please note that only a proper cleaning fluid will work. If you use soap-water or alcohol, you will make things from bad to worse.
You can get them for around $50, so there is no reason to ruin your favorite player.
Now, this is rare, but if your player is still jumping records after dry and wet cleaning you will have to put up your detective glasses and:
Find out the exact spot on your player from where tracks are getting skipped. Then, with your detective glasses (or magnifying glasses) inspect whether there is any hardened dirt at that very spot stuck in the grooves.
If you find such debris, use a wooden toothpick to get rid of it gently. Check out this short and sweet video explainer to know how it is done the right way.
#2: The Tracking Force Of Your Tonearm Is Too Light!
An exact match is always crucial, whether it is Tinder or in your vintage records.
Allow me to explain:
The tracking force of your turntable tonearm should exactly match what’s specified by your cartridge. It is usually within 1.5-2.2 grams.
It is always good to check the cartridge feature list but keeping the force within the 2.0-gram range will work just fine.
The problem occurs when your tracking force is too light which prompts your turntable to skip.
Before we get into the solution, it’s important to measure the tracking force. A digital turntable stylus gauge can help you with this.
Now, the solution:
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to adjust your tonearm. Follow the steps mentioned, and your turntable will work great!
#3: Your Turntable Is Wrongly Placed!
If you place your turntable on the floor or unstable furniture, it will not function properly.
This is because the stylus (which tracks the tiny grooves in the record) is super sensitive to vibration. Hence, stability is the key.
The record player must be placed on a hard and flat surface. Shelf mounted on a solid wall or a piece of heavy furniture are some of the best places.
Again, you have to insulate your player from movements that can affect it from working smoothly.
I know it’s strange but, it is a valid cause behind skipping. So here is how it goes:
If the flooring of your house isn’t thick enough, walking in and around the room can move the floor levels high and low.
Such movements may be barely noticeable to you, but it does affect your record player. Again, if you are dancing around your record player, it can lead to jumping tracks as well.
Dance to the tunes of these amazing soundbars!
The solution to such disturbances is pretty simple.
Move the player to a different section of your room or move it to a different room altogether.
But it’s not only about your dance. Other movements, like dryer running or the AC, can also cause your turntable to skip. Make sure such devices are not placed too close to your player.
#4: Your Stylus Is Crying For Help!
I have mentioned this already. It’s the needle that rests against the record. We can never imagine a player without this needle and as you know already, it’s very sensitive.
It picks up dust fast as it glides through the grooves making it prone to skipping. So, you need to clean this all-important needle with a stylus brush at regular intervals to help it remain neat and musical!
Again, like all good things that exist, your stylus has a limited life. It will get worn out after 800 hours of use. After the limit is reached, it will cause unwanted noises, wear and tear on your player and, not to mention: jumping tracks.
But luckily, most record players come with a replaceable stylus. So if you have already clocked 800 hours of soothing music, it’s high time that you replace it.
#5: Your Record Is Damaged!
And, by damaged, I mean it is warped or scratched. Remember, I told you to place the record player on a solid flat surface for it to work better?
While doing that, if you notice that one of its edges or its mid-portion is up a little, it means your player is warped.
There are plenty of reasons why your player can get warped. Leaving them in direct sunlight or storing them improperly is to name a few.
This means your outdoor vintage parties are to blame for this!
Luckily, there are some steps to fix your warped record. So, instead of saying goodbye to your old and favorite device, watch this helpful tutorial.
Next comes scratches. There are plenty of reasons why records get scratched so easily but one thing is there for sure:
Your mishandling is there to blame.
If you stack bare records on your player without wiping dust on them beforehand or place them in a dusty room without any cover, they will get scratched sooner or later.
I have some resources for you to help solve this “scratching issue” but I will issue a warning beforehand.
You can use a wooden toothpick to get the job done but it will need immense precision getting the roughness out of super tiny record grooves.
Believe it or not, even brand new records can jump tracks right from the record shop. Old fashioned manufacturing techniques and less care on quality control cause such frustrating experiences.
If that’s the case for you, return the defective record and ask for a new record. You are not to blame for such product defects, isn’t it?
#6: Your Record Player Is Getting Interferred!
No one likes interference. No matter how good your best friend is, he or she needs to respect your private space so that your friendship continues for long.
Same with your record players. If you are using internal or external speakers at max volume, they emit vibrations which your good old player can pick up. And this can result in skipping your favorite tracks.
So apart from hurting your ears, turning up the speaker volume can damage your turntable too.
This problem is more intense when you have cranked up your speaker’s bass to the maximum. Its strong vibrations can bounce off the stylus out of the grooves.
But how to know for sure those speakers are my culprit?
Simple. Lower your speaker volume and see if the record has stopped skipping. If yes, then put your speakers to blame 🙂
If that’s not the solution, keep your turntable away from your speakers. That will prevent them from picking up the speaker’s vibrations.
#7: Your Cartridge Isn’t Aligned The Right Away!
This is really serious. If your record player’s cartridge and headshell are not aligned properly, they can cause damage to your entire record, let alone skipping tracks.
But first up, the basics:
Headshell attaches the cartridge to the tonearm and the stylus locks into it. The cartridge converts vibrations from record grooves into electronic signals so that the speakers can pick them up.
This produces that good old soothing music which we all love.
Here is the deal:
The record surface should be parallelly aligned with the top of the headshell. Again, balancing the tonearm is a must before you set up the record player. I have discussed this already.
Here are some additional steps:
Put the tonearm in a state of suspension so that it can float up. You can do this by twisting the counterweight.
At this point, the stylus pressure is zero.
Now, you have to find the stylus pressure’s settings using the user’s manual and adjust it to the proper setting of your machine.
Don’t forget to check that the anti-skating pressure is set to the same weight.
(Sounds overwhelming? Check out this video guide!)
#8: Your Anti-Skating Pressure Is Not Balanced!
Gosh! So much pressure 🙁
We should take this pressure so that our record player can work smoothly.
Anti-skating pressure is a kind of spring, and it differs depending on the individual model specs. As the record spins, the tonearm will naturally move around it due to the motion of the turntable.
The job of this anti-skating mechanism is to counteract the turntable’s motion and keep the arm in its place.
In other words, this mechanism is super-important. And when in the right balance, it will set the record to produce some beautiful melody!
But in case it’s too tight or loose, the arm will be swayed in one of the sides and the needle will not remain in the record groove. The result?
Your tracks get skipped.
Here is what you need to do:
Adjust the anti-skating system so that it’s in the right balance. Each player model has its own steps for adjustment. So you will have to read the device manual very carefully.
#9: Your Music Record Is Faulty!
We all have experienced this in some way or the other:
You went to a second-hand store and got a record of your favorite album at a dirt-cheap price. You are happy, purchased ice cream from the amount you saved, and came home only to find that your record has horrible scratches or is badly warped.
You can’t get your money back so you decide to play that scratched record itself. Tracks get skipped but you continue to use it anyway.
This is what you call a sunk cost fallacy. And believe me, it will do you more harm than good.
Playing a bad record can cause your needle to bounce out of its grooves and harm your entire player. It’s better to consider this as a bad purchase and throw your scratched piece in the dustbin.
Your record player will thank you for this!
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Some Bonus Tips To Keep Your Record Player Happy!
Let me sum up some of the useful solutions for skipping tracks which I discussed above with some fresh hacks:
- Regulary clean your record player, it’s needles and your favorite records to keep it free from all types of dirt and debris. Always use the recommended fluids and cloth for such cleaning.
- Use a record player leveler to make sure that the platter is not off even slightly and the player is on the level.
- Always keep the cartridge and needle properly aligned.
- Use an anti-static cloth to eliminate static from records.
- Don’t forget to notice whether or not your stylus is hardening or getting worn out from excessive use.
Final Words On Why Is My Record Skipping
There you have it. 9 common reasons behind skipping tracks on your turntable. You got the solutions and the bonus tips.
Now, I head over to you.
Which advice will you follow right now? Is it cleaning your player regularly or keeping your turntable at the right level?
Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.