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How to Repair Scratched Vinyl Records

Updated February 21, 2017

With the advent of CDs and iPods, vinyl records have become a pastime for purists and collectors. Because very little vinyl is produced today, most vinyl collections are years old and show the wear of many years of enjoyment. Scratches on vinyl records are most often caused by dragging the needle across the record, creating a lift in the vinyl that disrupts the playback. Although it is unlikely you can repair deep scratches, you may be able to repair light needle scratches on your vinyl records.

Place the scratched record on the record player and play it normally, listening for the point when the scratch disrupts the playback, and watching for the spot where the needle jumps because of the scratch.

Stop the record player and rotate the record until you locate the scratch.

Place the needle directly behind the scratch and rotate the record counterclockwise until the needle runs over the scratch, smoothing it out.

Repeat this process several times, then play the record to see if the scratch has been smoothed enough to eliminate its effect on playback. You may have to repeat the process more than once to achieve good playback.

Tip

If you cannot successfully repair the scratch, and the album is one that you cannot obtain in another listening format, then consider having an audio professional attempt to convert the album to digital file and repair the damaged areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Record player
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About the Author

Kaye Morris has over four years of technical writing experience as a curriculum design specialist and is a published fiction author. She has over 20 years of real estate development experience and received her Bachelor of Science in accounting from McNeese State University along with minors in programming and English.