This thread seems to have strayed from Hugh's problem as originally stated.   

Hugh said he needed to digitize one-of-a-kind recordings with " aluminum discs inside the vinyl." These seems to match the description of instantaneous recordings cut on lacquer-covered aluminum blanks. If this is what they are, then the size of the discs, the speed of the recording and the width of the groove are all independent choices that were fixed at the time of recording based on the materials and equipment available. As for the size of the center hole, lacquer blanks were made in many exterior diameters (usually 3-16 inches). They had standard small center holes and often had outrigger holes to prevent slipping during the cutting process. Instantaneous recording blanks which resembled 45s with a large center hole do exist, but I don't think they were very common before the late 1950s. Record collectors would have radio stations and audio studios cut copies of rare records onto 7inch, large hole blanks in the days before cassette tape and facsimile reproductions of rare discs. Today novices often misidentify these collector record dubs as "unreleased masters."   

How do you play back the type of discs Hugh is working with? With a lightweight cartridge and a removable stylus tip that sounds quiet in the groove and causes the least distortion. For worn lacquer discs, quiet is a relative measurement. Most of the cutterheads for cheap home disc-recording machines cut a groove larger than microgroove. How much larger depends on make, model, and wear (two of those variables you can't often determine from a visual inspection of the disc).  If the records were played over the years, that probably means they are worn from playback and you need an even larger stylus, such as one appropriate for a 78 groove, to get above the worst groove damage. It also helps to use a stylus with a truncated tip to keep the stylus from resting on the bottom of the groove. This process takes some experimentation with an assortment of stylus tips. Having the right sized stylus can make a huge difference in the quality of the transfer. 

I hope that helps. Hugh you need to find someone equipped to do the transfer work properly. I guess that gets back to your original question, who can help? That depends on where the discs are located? 

As for the other comments about U.S. commercial formats. Yes there were true solid-center 45s issued in the early 1950s. I have one on OKeh. It was cut with a microgroove and pressed on lousy material so it has sound to match. While Columbia, RCA Victor, and the major labels always used microgroove for their 45s, there were also hundreds, if not thousands, of 45s cut with a 78 groove during the early and mid-1950s. Almost every 45rpm Sam Phillips released on Sun prior to Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train" (Sun 223, August 1955) was cut with a 78 groove. Peter Guralnick (inadvertently ?) explained this in his bio on Phillips. Guralnick stated that Phillips personally cut all the lacquers used to make the commercial pressings. The obvious conclusion being that Sun Records, a struggling operation at the time, only had one record lathe and one size of cutter head. Once Phillips cut the 10-inch 78 rpm lacquer, he would cut the 7-inch 45rpm lacquer with the same cutter head. "Mystery Train" was the fist disc he allowed to be mastered by an outside shop (Universal Studios in Chicago). They apparently had the money for two lathes with the different sized cutter heads. Other examples of 45s cut with a 78 groove show up on Trumpet Records of Jackson, Mississippi, and Ace records, also from Jackson, and other independent labels who did not use the custom services of the larger labels/studios to make their lacquers.

Jay Bruder 
-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Gary A. Galo
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 5:40 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] [EXTERNAL] Re: [ARSCLIST] [nevec] Rare records need to be digitized.

The first RCA Program Transcriptions groove were certainly larger than the Columbia LP, but a bit smaller than the standard 78.


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Dennis Rooney
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 4:44 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] [EXTERNAL] Re: [ARSCLIST] [nevec] Rare records need to be digitized.

In answer to the posts from Gary Galo and Mike Biel, I wish to add that Rene Snepvangers was not the originator of microgroove. As Mike points out, it was in the Western Electric specs and was also used in the first series of RCA Program Transcriptions, although Snepvangers did utilize slightly different stylus radii and groove pitch. According to Edward Wallerstein's memoirs, Sarnoff was upset when the Lp was offered to RCA by Columbia.
Whatever technical superiority the 45 rpm system possessed, it could not withstand the allure of continuity, which is why the Lp emerged triumphant in all genres except pop singles. The 45s I inspected and auditioned in the mid sixties had plenty of inner groove distortion, which had begun to disappear from most Lps by the seventies. As Peter Munves once observed:
"Once we learned how to make a good Lp they were obsolete."


On Tue, Feb 16, 2021 at 1:28 PM Gary A. Galo < [log in to unmask]> wrote:

> No, they did not. Before Rene Snepvangers went to Columbia, he was an 
> engineer for RCA Victor and, circa 1945, he was working on the early 
> development of the 45-rpm record. Whether or not the early prototypes 
> were microgroove remains a mystery, though. My understanding about Snepvangers'
> contribution to the Columbia LP is that he was responsible for microgroove.
> How this may have conflicted - or may not have conflicted - with his 
> previous work for RCA remains a mystery, at least to me. The only 45's 
> I've seen with a small center hole are some European classical discs 
> that have what looks like a 45-adapter in the center, which could be 
> punched out if you wanted to play them on a 45-rpm changer. But, I've 
> never seen a 45 that looked like a 7-inch LP.
> Best,
> Gary
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List < 
> [log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Ron Roscoe
> Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 12:06 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [ARSCLIST] [nevec] Rare records need to be 
> digitized.
> This message did not originate from SUNY Potsdam or one of its trusted 
> senders. Do not open attachments, click on links, or provide your 
> credentials if the source is suspicious.
> I don’t think the first commercial 45’s ever used a 78 sized groove. 
> Be hard to get 5 minutes of music on one side of a 45 using the wider
> 78 groove. The whole 45 system with changer was ready before WW2 and 
> was held up because of WW2.  Do you know of any examples of 45’s with 
> a regular small center hole? [9/32”?]
> Ron
> From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of 
> Adrian Zeffert
> Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 11:45 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [nevec] Rare records need to be digitized.
> Hugh:
> My reccolection is that the first 45's had a standard LP hole until 
> the 'stacker' was invented for automated players. Thats why all record 
> players of the 60's on up came with the 'Puck' to fit over an LP 
> spindle for the revised 45. I don't know if the first 45's used a 78 
> needle but it is possible, until the BiRadial Saphire or Diamond needles were born.
> Hope other NEVECer's have other thoughts.
> I have many 78's and LP's. Cannot find my collection of 45's, probably 
> lost in one of 5 moves!
> If anyone interested I have about 12, 7" reel tapes used by TWA for 
> music entertainment on their aircraft. Have to wait for better weather 
> to get them out of my shed. Last time i played one on my 7" deck, 
> about 5 years ago the quality was excellent.
> Adrian
> On Tue, Feb 16, 2021, 10:58 Hugh Vartanian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi group,
> I have these 5 one-of-a-kind records from my 80-odd year old friend 
> with some folk music she made with other people in the mid-50's, 
> probably in Greenwich Village NYC.  She asked me to help rip them to 
> digital, some kind of archiving project she is involved in to save these recordings.
> I ultrasonically cleaned them last night, that appeared to go OK.  2 
> of them are the same, 12" 33-1/3, with aluminum discs inside the vinyl 
> (one has a slight chip).  These play somewhat OK on my turntable 
> although it sounds like there is still a bunch of dirt in the grooves.
> The other 3 are all different, 7" discs, either 45 or 78, I can't 
> quite tell.  The turntable I am using only does 45 and 33.  They have 
> a 9/32 hole, not a 45 hole.  (were there any 45's that had a small 
> hole?  this would be a hint).
> With the LP stylus on my turntable, the sound is almost inaudible and 
> the tracking of the needle makes a noticeable stripe in reflected 
> light on the record surface.  AGGGGAAAHH, needle-less(!) to say, I stopped immediately.
> Is it possible that these may just need a 78-sized stylus?  I do have 
> a couple of turntables that do 78, but they will need some TLC (a 
> miracord and an older garrard, iirc).  While I am up for trying that, 
> I would be interested if anyone know someone that specializes in such 
> efforts.  I'm glad to pay for the help, should the 78 turntable 
> resurrection doesn't work out.  I may try the audio place in Harvard 
> square (if they are still around).
> Thanks!
> Hugh
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