Vinyl records are a joy to listen to.
But, if something is not quite right with either your record player, or your vinyl, the record may skip…
…which causes a terrible listening experience.
It can be challenging to identify the exact cause of a record skipping.
But when you know what factors to look for, you may be able to solve the issue pretty easily.
Why Is My Record Skipping?..And How To Fix
If you have a record that keeps skipping, there are a handful of things to look out for, that may be the cause of your vinyl skipping.
The good news is that skipping may not be a permanent issue, and there may well be a quick and easy way to rectify the problem.
However, there are some causes of record skipping that are irreparable.
Let’s identify some of the reasons why a record may skip and how to address them.
A record can skip due to dirt, warping, damage, an unbalanced stylus, a worn needle, or too many vibrations. Ensure that your records are clean and dust-free, your stylus is calibrated well, and your turntable is well balanced. Warped records can be flattened, but damaged records cannot be fixed.
Below are a few of the common reasons why a record may skip and how to sort them out.
#1. Dirt On The Vinyl
Dirt, dust, or general grime on the record, or built-up in the grooves in the vinyl, is a very common reason for a record to skip.
When the needle encounters dirt during its rotation, it will cause the needle to jump, creating the skip.
The easiest way to address this issue is to simply clean your records with a record cleaning solution…
…and gently brush your records with a record brush to remove dust before you play them.
#2. Warped Record
Warped vinyl records are more common than you may realise.
Even a small or unnoticeable warp can cause the record to skip when the needle passes over the affected area.
This can occur on both new and old records…
…and it can be very difficult to detect, as the warp may not be at all obvious.
To rectify a warp, you can either buy a record flattening machine, or simply use the services of someone who has one.
There are of course a few little tricks you can try, but…
…record flattening machines are the only completely safe way to flatten a warped piece of vinyl.
#3. Unbalanced Or Uncalibrated Stylus
The correct balancing of the tone-arm, and calibration of the cartridge, that press the stylus into the record are critical to your vinyl playing well.
If these parts are not balanced and calibrated correctly, your records will not play as well as they could, and may skip.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your turntable to adjust the tone-arm, cartridge and stylus pressure in balancing and calibrating the stylus correctly.
This should hopefully rectify your record skipping problem, and protect your records into the future.
#4. Damaged Or Dirty Stylus Needle
Dirt on the stylus needle or a damaged or worn-down needle can also cause a record to skip.
If the needle is dirty or has a build-up of dust or grime, simply clean it off to resolve the issue.
Here’s a run-down of how you should go about cleaning your stylus, and why you should!
If the needle is worn-down or damaged, you’re going to have to replace your stylus.
#5. Unstable Or Unbalanced Turntable
A vinyl record can skip during rotation if the turntable vibrates too much, or if the record player is on a surface that is not level.
Always ensure that your turntable is level by levelling it, and the surface upon which it stands, with a spirit level.
Also, be sure to keep the turntable far enough away from your speakers, or any other possible sources of vibration.
If the player is not level, or if the player vibrates while the record is playing, it will very likely cause your records to skip.
#6. Damaged Record
The last cause on this list of skipping records is the only issue that is irreparable – a scratch in the record.
If the record is scratched, the needle will skip when it crosses the scratch.
There is, unfortunately, no way to rectify a badly scratched record.
You’re going to have to get yourself another copy…hopefully it won’t be too hard to find!
Wrapping it Up!
Getting more from your vinyl is always satisfying.
And following these simple tips can help you achieve much better audio quality.
Look after your records and your player, use good hardware, be sure that everything is level and well-calibrated…
…and more often than not, you will be able to get the best sound possible from your gear.