Hello ,

Some pertinent questions:

What vintage is the tape itself ? The age of the recording isn't
terribly indicative of its age. Do you know the manufacturer and tape
number I.E. Ampex, Scotch , 206, 207 ?
When the tape is pulled away from the heads and guides of the playback
machine , is there a gummy residue deposited on the heads and guides ?
And does the tape itself have a gummy deposit on the spot at which the
tape will no longer pass through the machine?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, and if the tape is
polyester base ,as opposed to acetate, you have a situation refered to
as Sticky Shead Syndrome. ( SSS)

This occurs mostly in 1970's vintage polyester based tape. Again, it
will not occur in acetate based tape.

The tape can be treated with a heating process which will cause the
binder which has leached out from under the oxide( the recording medium
) to be driven back under the oxide, thereby allowing the tape to be
played without problems. - At least most of the time.
The process is not permanent, however as the problem will return in
time.  The binder cannnot be cleaned from the tape. Heating is at
present the only way to address the problem.


Robert Hodge
Sr. Engineer
Belfer Audio Archive
Syracuse University

>>> [log in to unmask] 6/15/2005 9:40:08 AM >>>
I hope that someone might have a solution for this problem.  This
morning I am having my intern copy oral history tapes to make service
copies for research and to send off for transcription and while she
dubbing one of the tapes in the high speed dubbing machine it stopped.
At that point the copy rewound but the original wouldn't budge.  I
pulled it out of the machine and tried to manually advance or reverse
the tape but it is completely stuck as if all of the tape melted
together at that one spot.  The tape will rewind but it will not go
that one spot so half of the tape is usable and the other half is just
stuck.  Any suggestions on how to salvage this tape?  Is it


Christina J. Hostetter


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