Instructables

Removing Scratches From Vinyl Records

video Removing Scratches From Vinyl Records
And Getting Them to Sound Like New Again

Technology has increased exponentially since the dawn of the digital age.  That goes for all the supportive technologies attached to the analog music fields as well.  If you're reading this, chances are, you own a vinyl record collection or want to transfer GoodWill records over to CD or other digital format.

Scratchy sounding records are probably what your flea market finds will be.  Records with long, deep, aggravating scratches are the worst scenario.  No amount of cleaning will ever eliminate those ugly noises.  Also, no matter how much you clean and scrub those half-century old discs, they never sound as good as they did the first time they came out of the sleeve.

With this Instructable, I'll take you from the very first time I play a GoodWill find of a well-used and abused record (that was actually cracked, something I didn't notice at the store), with deep scratches and decades of dirt from sitting in a torn cover with no sleeve.

You'll hear it as I did after every step as I bring it back to the perfect sounding album it used to be (with the exception of that crack, which is on the run-out, so it shouldn't become an issue).

My methods are unconventional... Extreme, if you will, but they work... As you will see.

The video is 15 minutes long, so I hope it doesn't bore anyone.  I also used a coat hanger around my neck to mount the camera, so be aware of some scenes that gyrate wildly.  I'll not be responsible for anyone getting sick on this ride:)
pkny091 year ago
Hi, very interesting video. I am an avid record collector and was recently alarmed by the sound of one of my favorite records. All high frequencies like high hats on the drums and "s" sounds in the vocals are very very hissy. The record played perfectly just a few weeks ago and I have not played it much at all since it's a bit collectable. However I believe an old stylus make have been responsible for the damage. The stylus was several years old and playback started to sound poor so I replaced it. But I fear it may have damaged a few of my prized records before I got rid of it and realized what had happened. Now I'm trying to figure out if there's any way to reverse the damage. Do you believe you sandpaper and/or other cleaning methods could reverse this kind of damage? Again, it's not pops and crackles but a very nasty pronounced hiss sound on a ll high pitch frequencies on the records in question (looking at the record I can also see a slightly lighter color where it is damage and then half way through it gets a bit darker on the grooves and plays normal - I assume this may be where I stopped playing the record with the old stylus). Thanks for any help
bfk (author)  pkny0911 months ago
Wow... Pkny09, I am sorry. I missed your question entirely. I truly apologize. I was doing maintenance on this instructable and just saw it. I hope you've solved your problem, but from your description, it sounds like your issue may be from a different cause, such as static. Unless your old needle was REALLY bad. Do you use a carbon fiber brush? If so, maybe you didn't have a good ground when you used it. Again, I apologize and hope you found the cause of your problem.
MelVic2 years ago
Love the tutorial, Question, what was the block used with the diamond paste.


Mel
bfk (author)  MelVic2 years ago
Thanks for your compliment.

For the video, I used a scrap cut from a hard rubber packing block. A smooth piece of wood, plastic wine cork or similar material should also work. Softer materials than that may compromise the inside of the groove and anything harder could be risky for the vinyl. The record will sound no better if its glossy, but If its important for aesthetic reasons, a paper of micron-sized grit may be a more efficient way to keep the surface polished.