A friend gifted me this Garrard Model 50 turntable a year ago. It was not functioning and needed a new cartridge.
With the cold weather setting in this year and the days getting shorter, I thought I would see if I could breathe some new life into it.
The nice thing about this turntable is that the bottom is open, and most of the way it works is mechanical. So I cleaned all of the dried/gunked-up grease from the mechanical parts and re-lubed them. I then removed the idler wheel, which was pretty dry and slipping. To recondition that, I gave it a bath in DOT-3 brake fluid for three weeks, which I read does a pretty good job restoring the rubber. The Idler was much more supple when I took it out and did not seem to suffer from the bath. I thoroughly cleaned the brake fluid off the idler, but it was slipping slightly. So I cleaned it some more, sprayed it with Fan-belt dressing, and wiped off the excess. I reinstalled the idler, put it back together, and tested it. Voila, it was working correctly.
The final step was to replace the broken cartridge. Several weeks ago, I noticed that the cartridge was bad. I searched for a replacement but couldn’t find one. So, I broke down and ordered an Audio-Technica AT-VM95E from Amazon, hoping that I would be able to improvise a solution when it arrived. My solution was to drill two holes through the original headshell and screw the cartridge into them. I’m not sure I like that solution yet and may purchase a modern Audio-Technical headshell instead. We’ll see how things go.
Once I reinstalled the headshell and set the downforce to 2g, I gave it a spin. Here are the videos of it starting and playing for a few seconds. The second video skips to the end, where it returns at the completion of the track. This was a fun little project to keep me busy this Saturday.
Part two of this might be to make a new plinth for it. While pretty sturdy, this plinth is cheaply made and has no heft to it.
I’d love to hear what you think about what I did. I suspect I will get a few comments about how I should not have drilled through the headshell to mount the cartridge, for a number of reasons. But it seems to be working well regardless.
Bonus points to the person who can tell me the receiver’s make and model on the right side of the second video.