There’s magic in the experience of listening to vinyl buried in the grooves, a record of the history of the object itself and how it’s been treated over the years, adding a layer of authenticity to the listening experience. The crackles and pops should annoy the listener, yet serve to assure them instead.
With this in mind it might seem odd the prospect of removing such history, like cleaning years of use off an old antique. However, there comes a point when the crackles take over and something has to be done.
And so, after some online research, I decided I would smother several of my most precious records with wood glue. No kidding, it’s a known technique. Unprepared to sacrifice any of my most treasured artefacts, I mdetermined to trial the technique using some surplus records I pinched from my father’s attic.
Unfortunately, the glue I also pinched from my dad’s had set solid.
To facilitate choosing which one to sacrifice I put it to a Facebook poll. Rod Stewart won hands down.
However, when I auditioned the record it sounded perfect, like it had never been played, so cleaning it was unlikely to produce any audible difference. I made an executive decision to try it on the Jacques Loussier Trio record instead. It had belonged to my parents and been mistreated in its time.
Walking into a hardware shop is difficult enough for a guy like me, but when I told them what I wanted the glue for I got that look, only more so. I ended up not using it, as it transpired we had a gallon of PVA glue stored in our attic. Thank goodness for attics.
Glueing it was scary!
I got bits of glue on my turntable
The glue spilled over the edge of the record
It dried clear
…and peeled off very satisfyingly
The skin is fascinating and actually plays on a turntable, albeit backwards
I decided to practise some more using some old singles of mine. They presented a different set of problems and I kept spreading glue over the labels.
I began collecting a fine selection of skins
…but had to stop the test in its tracks because my amp was playing up and I was unable to audition the results. It’s gone into the menders for possibly up to eight weeks.