For what it's worth, I only play junker records on my Victrola, to show it in action to folks like 
the neices and nephews. I would never play a good-condition or non-common disk on it (that's what 
the precision turntable, restoration preamp and variety of stylii are for). I have two large boxes 
of disks for just this purpose, all bought dirt-cheap at Salvation Army and other thrift stores. 
About 1/3 of them are actual acoustic-era specimens, which makes the experience more genuine 
(although my grandparents told me they never had an electric phonograph in rural Mississippi up to 
when they left in the early 1930's and still didn't get an electric phonograph in Texas until the 
depression eased and they bought their first house in the early 1940's -- point being that they were 
buying and playing electric-era records on their old Victrola for a long time, and I don't think 
they were unique in this).

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Warren, Richard" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Victrola Needles

Hi Folks,

There's not much doubt that for playing acoustical discs on acoustical-era machines bamboo or fiber 
needles seem to provide smoother and quieter results; but those results come with curses from those 
who later receive records so played. A chemist explained that the some of the relatively soft fiber 
material is burned into the groove walls by the friction &  pressure of the heavy arm and playback 
head and is either impossible or nearly impossible to remove. This residue would be difficult to see 
because it would have been burned black in playback and bonded to the groove walls. This cooked 
organic material can alter the sound of the disc, causing curses from any subsequent owner who hears 
the results when playing the discs by other methods (especially the most accurate ones). That's fine 
if one can't hear the alteration or one likes the altered sound and keeps one's discs only for use 
on vintage machines; but the assertion "played only with cactus or fiber or bamboo needles" is 
likely to cause horror and rejection in serious collectors and audio archivists, especially those 
who have had to try to deal with ruined records.

Of course, also from the viewpoint of audio archivists and record dealers, "fibered" records form a 
category both easy to eliminate from serious consideration and sad to see if rarities are included.


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Victrola Needles

Hi John:

Where does one get bamboo needles these days?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Eberle" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:08 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Victrola Needles

> It is my humble opinion based on over 40 years of collection acoustic 78s ,
> that playing them with bamboo needles is the way to go .
> Bamboo needles  cause almost no wear and have a moderate volume
> and good musical tone . In  my collection are many Zonophone , Victor ,
> Columbia ,Emerson and others that
> I have played many dozens of times over the years on a Victor Model ll (
> which has a laminated Oak
> Horn ) with fibre ( bamboo ) needles . They still  play clear , loud and
> relatively noise free. The grooves appear rather  smooth and clean viewed at
> 100x under a microscope .
> John  Eberle
> 615-441-4660