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I for one am not at all surprised by numerous alternate takes in the 78 
era, it makes perfect sense. Anyone that makes records, and Tom will 
back me up on this, knows that even in the era of multi-tracking takes 
can have a very different feel if not outright errors. Everything was 
live pre-Les Paul so no "punching" was possible. The players wanted it 
to be right and at that time the only way to insure that was to play it 
again Sam.

AA



David Seubert wrote:
> James, George Dick et al.
>
> Thanks for your help here. Every company is different, but I'm always 
> skeptical that I'm misinterpreting the data if I find too many 
> alternate takes (except Edison). Above about 10% in a given run of 78s 
> like Emerson where I don't know the system used for designating takes, 
> I usually question if what I think are take numbers are stamper 
> numbers or something.
>
> I've never really relied on aural comparison (though it is obvious in 
> some cases, see: 
> http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/search.php?queryType=@attr%201=1020&query=cylinder4373&num=1&start=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=id). 
> I don't trust my ears enough to detect the often slight variations 
> between takes. In the acoustic era it's not exactly like different 
> versions of The Dead doing Dark Star (though many would say these all 
> sound the same too, I suppose), but aural memory is notoriously 
> unreliable.
>
> My method is usually to lay the edge of a piece of paper across the 
> center hole of the disc and mark the beginning and end of the grooves. 
> Then I lay this paper on the other disc and see if they match. Even if 
> one take is only a few seconds shorter or longer it will be obviously 
> different as even a couple of grooves difference is noticable.
>
> I'm sure George's method works too, but the paper and pencil method is 
> very quick and we are essentially measuring the same thing in 
> different ways.
>
> David
>
> On Jun 19, 2009, at 11:15 AM, James L Wolf wrote:
>
>> David,
>>
>>   I've worked a lot with Emersons in the LOC's collection, and while 
>> we don't have many duplicates of the same record so that I could 
>> aurally compare different takes, I did notice that the matrix 
>> information (e.g. 3391-1) was usually matched by the known 
>> discographical information. Which, of course, only means that 
>> previous discographers have taken that matrix info to be take-number 
>> information, but that may count for something.
>>
>> Furthermore, for the acoustic era I don't see anything odd about one 
>> copy have 2 first takes and another having a second/third takes. I've 
>> seen similar situations on many labels in the acoustic era; Victor, 
>> Columbia, Edison, etc.
>>
>> Until something definitive comes along saying otherwise, I think it 
>> would be safest to assume that the matrix information refers to the 
>> take number.
>>
>> James
>>>>> David Seubert <[log in to unmask]> 6/19/2009 1:42 PM >>>
>>
>> I'm de-duping a stack of 9" Emerson discs and in the dead wax there is
>> what appears to be a matrix followed by a take number. However, there
>> are too many different take numbers for me to believe they are take
>> numbers. For example, I have one copy of #9118 with 3391-1/3397-1 and
>> another with 3391-2/3397-3. Are these stampers? Does anybody know how to
>> distinguish alternate takes on Emerson discs?
>>
>> Thanks,
>> David
>>
>> -- 
>> David Seubert, Curator
>> Performing Arts Collection
>> Davidson Library
>> University of California
>> Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
>> Tel: 805-893-5444 Fax: 805-893-5749
>> [log in to unmask]
>> http://www.library.ucsb.edu/speccoll/collections/pa/
>