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Old 13th Jan 2008, 11:48 pm   #1
arjoll
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Default Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

The story so far:

Early last year I asked a contact at a broadcaster if they had any old turntables that did 78rpm - dad wanted to copy some of his old 78's and was threatening to use a horrible looking old 1 valve record player that was in his aunt's estate! He said that they had an old Garrard sitting on a shelf at one of their storage sites that I could have.

Long story short, after chasing things up last week I have just received two boxes containing (apparently) 5 "and a half" turntables. I haven't unpacked them yet, but it looks like they are all 401's (at least 2 1/2 are!), which is pretty good - it looks like the 401 is now regarded as quite an audiophile unit (boardering on audiophool!).

I probably won't be able to unpack and check these until the weekend - and even then I will have to tidy up the workshop a bit first - but given that these won't have been in service for at least 20 years (I can only remember these guys using SL1200's in the studio) what should I check before powering up? My mechanical skills aren't brilliant.

There are also two tone arms - minus headshells - and some other miscellaneous stuff there, so expect a few more questions once I get my head around this!

Finally, any suggestions on materials to make a plinth?

(excuse the photo quality - just took it on my phone)

Thanks
Andrew
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 2:59 am   #2
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

not familiar with the 401 but any capacitors across the motor will probably need changing.
vinylengine.com have lots on these units.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 6:20 am   #3
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Wow!

These are very highly regarded motor units indeed. To be given one would be considered extremely lucky, to get several is incredible.

Look after them well... even just odd leftover bits can fetch a lot of cash.

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Old 14th Jan 2008, 7:55 am   #4
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

This find is getting even better

I couldn't resist opening up one of the boxes that I'd spotted a tonearm in - the two tonearms are SME 3009's! I haven't identified which version yet, that'll be a job for the weekend.

There were also two boxes that I can only assume are rather crude remote units for a broadcast desk - see the attached. I'm guessing the solenoid was energised and clamped the mat until the record was started from the broadcast console (AFAIK these were used with a 70's Genesis console).

Finally a date for when these were probably put into storage - the newspaper used in packaging was a Nelson community paper with no date, but it was before NZ changed to 7 digit phone numbers (1990-91), and with Robocop being at the movies and 26/1 being Tuesday these were packed in early 1988.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 8:32 am   #5
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjoll View Post
I couldn't resist opening up one of the boxes that I'd spotted a tonearm in - the two tonearms are SME 3009's!
Now I'm getting really envious, Andrew - a lovely piece of engineering! I regret selling mine years ago.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 8:40 am   #6
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

You lucky !

Despite various tuntables that have come and gone the 401 with SME3009 arm was and still is a top class combination. In the 1960s it's what every music lover would have aspired to, along with a Quad or Leak amp.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 12:37 pm   #7
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

I think the expression "jammy git" is justified. Congratulations- just a bit OTT for 78's, perhaps....

Plinth- something heavy and nicely finished- 3/4" high density chipboard with an outer skin of polished wood would work and look well.



Chris
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 2:10 pm   #8
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

You lucky br!!

The 401 and SME 1009 was exactly the combination I used throughout the 70's and into the 80's. I only parted company with it when marriage and kids came along. On reflection, I should have kept them. Nothing I have had since even touches on the quality or reproduction these were capable of.

I wonder if anyone can provide you with the template for cutting out the plinth and also the template for the SME?

And you were given these...??


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Old 14th Jan 2008, 2:18 pm   #9
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

If NZ wasn't so far away I think we'd be sending the boys round to relieve you of some of your booty

Next you'll be telling us there are some Shure V15 cartridges too.

I'm actually a bit surprised about the SME3009 arms for broadcast applications. The 401 was easily up to the job but the 3009 arm, while a truly outstanding high quality design, wasn't really up to the rigours of a broadcast environment. ISTR the BBC used a very simple arm of their own design, alongside a 301 or 401 fitted with a BBC designed drop start mechanism.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 3:37 pm   #10
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Congratulations on your lottery win! . There are plenty of sites about enhancing these old classics:-

http://www.theanalogdept.com/garrard_gallery.htm

http://members.myactv.net/~je2a3/idlertt.htm

The trick for best performance after careful servicing, is to bolt the deck to a solid mass to sink away any vibration, Layered plywood plinths are popular, no hollow boxes or decks bouncing around on springs!. The revival of interest in These Garrards and the equally good Lencos , is mainly down to the superior speed stability when handling transients, belt drives tend to slow down microscopicaly but audibly. If you are handy with woodwork you could build up a nice deck and show a healthy profit on the spares. .

Regards, Mick.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 6:17 pm   #11
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Thank goodness someone was sensible enough to pack these away for a rainy day. I suspect a lot of ex-broadcast turntables ended up on skips when they were replaced by newer models or CD players.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 7:49 pm   #12
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_Newman View Post
I wonder if anyone can provide you with the template for cutting out the plinth and also the template for the SME?
I have found the 401 manual on-line and it gives full dimensions for the cutout - first thing will be to build something basic from MDF to support each turntable in turn while I check them out (lube etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_Newman View Post
And you were given these...??
I did have to pay NZ$60 to get them freighted (55kg) from Christchurch! It kind of makes me feel better about being 'over here' after reading of all the boot sale etc finds that you Brits have every day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ppppenguin View Post
Next you'll be telling us there are some Shure V15 cartridges too.
No carts or headshells with this lot, so I'll have questions about these I do have a Stanton 500EE I bought when I purchased a basically worn out SL1400mkII in the mid 90's, I think this will be going with at least one of them. It replaced an AT of some description which will probably go back on the Technics for sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
I suspect a lot of ex-broadcast turntables ended up on skips when they were replaced by newer models or CD players.
Probably depends on the model. I know the same broadcaster sold most of their Technics (SL1200, SL10 etc) TTs about 5-7 years ago seeing the DJ market just laps them up. They still run turntables in one studio (an oldies station with two SL1200's - the announcers there still like carts as well even though everything is duplicated in RCS Master Control!), have an SL1200 in production and knowing them a couple of spares. As a comparison our local community station junked a couple of SP25's about 10 years ago when they moved - replaced with a cheap Teac in production so that any records could be copied to the playout system (was PCM_Gold, now Simian).

In another thread I mentioned that most broadcasters probably have at least one 'junk' storage area that the techs know about, a graveyard for things that they just can't throw out. You've just got to get the right person at the right time in this case they were clearing out a transmitter hut where these were stored.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 9:42 pm   #13
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Hmm, last one of these I saw at auction made over 300 - this was a scruffy example - you lucky git!
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Old 15th Jan 2008, 1:33 pm   #14
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjoll View Post
This find is getting even better

I couldn't resist opening up one of the boxes that I'd spotted a tonearm in - the two tonearms are SME 3009's! I haven't identified which version yet, that'll be a job for the weekend.
I used one of these with a Shure V15 mkIII cartridge and the 401. Absolutely one of the best combinations there is. I seem to remember there being two versions of the SME1009. One had a removable headshell, the other was fixed. I used the removable headshell version so I could use different cartridges easily.


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Old 17th Jan 2008, 6:34 am   #15
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjoll View Post
I have found the 401 manual on-line and it gives full dimensions for the cutout - first thing will be to build something basic from MDF to support each turntable in turn while I check them out (lube etc).


I did have to pay NZ$60 to get them freighted (55kg) from Christchurch! It kind of makes me feel better about being 'over here' after reading of all the boot sale etc finds that you Brits have every day!
You are lucky I didn't know they were in transit to Invercargill - I'd have hijacked the freight truck as it has to pass through Oamaru to get to you

Last edited by Mike Phelan; 17th Jan 2008 at 8:35 am. Reason: Added missing [ /quote] tag
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Old 29th Apr 2008, 10:38 am   #16
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

This evening I took the opportunity to finally check all the 401's that I've received. I think I've got a bit of work ahead of me but hopefully things shouldn't be too bad.

All of the decks have had a hard life - scratches, worn paint on some, but a good clean and most of them will be presentable.

TT #1 - the stop on the on/off switch is broken, so in the 'off' position it goes way past where it should. The remains of the stop were there - bent over, appears to be plastic, I'd guess not the best design. The brake is ineffective. Idler bearing is noisy. Evidence of excessive oil at some point.

TT #2 - motor spindle is too low, and those screws have not been touched for a while!

TT #3 - has had an arm rest screwed to it and quite a bit of paint missing. Was sluggish to start - could be motor bearing. Idler does not move back far enough to change to 78rpm.

TT #4 - Idler does not move back far enough to change to 78rpm.

TT #5 - On/off switch end stop broken. Idler does not move back far enough to change to 78rpm. Can't get the platter off! Brake doesn't.

TT #6 - this was the 1/2 turntable with no platter. On/off switch end stop broken. Haven't looked any further at this one.

I suspect a lot of the issues (e.g. the idler positioning) will sort themselves out once I have a closer look and work out the best way to lubricate everything. The issue with the power switch is annoying - why isn't the end stop a bit stronger? - but I'll see what I can do there. At least I've got three without this problem

All the idlers are good - the one in the first deck looks a little discoloured around the edges but runs fine and is not disintegrating. The others are perfect.

Will keep everyone up to date and come back with questions on oil types, how to clean up the motor bearings, what grease to use on the linkages etc etc
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Old 29th Apr 2008, 10:50 am   #17
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Those sound like an awful lot of work and must be taking up a lot of room. Send them to me instead.
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Old 29th Apr 2008, 1:48 pm   #18
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

Interesting thread. I have one of these in at the moment for a "spruce up", new mains lead etc. I have tried it and it seems to run at the correct speed.
Not sure which tonearm is fitted, but presumably the tone arm base should be securely fixed to the plinth. The one I have has loose mounting screws and flops about. Surely this is not correct.
Overall I'm impressed with the build quality, can't wait to see how it sounds when it's all finished.The bloke has lent me his Quad preamp to go with it...........

I might not want to give it back!!

Well done Andrew. I hope you get at least one working.
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Old 29th Apr 2008, 9:37 pm   #19
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

The Garrard 401 is a wonderful turntable ,I purchased a very clean 1965 version about 15 years ago and contacted Dr.Martin Bastin (here in England ) who makes a bespoke heavy duty plinth for these machines .He also replaced the thrust pad which the bearing sits on and the 401 run totally silent . I added a brand new SME 30009 mk 2 and the final piece of the jigsaw Shures alltime flagship moving magnet cartridge the Shure Ultra 500 (very similar to the V15 but considered better in all aspects). I phoned Garrard and asked which oil to use and they recommended Singer sewing machine oil for the bearing and the top part of the motor (this can be reached by removing the turntable ,you will notice a aluminium disc with 3 holes in it ,if you move this carefully you will see small holes where to oil the motor,I did this when my Garrard developed a a slight noise . The Idler wheels might need cleaning ,I did mine with methylated spirit .Apparently the later versions were not built to such a high standard as reguards finish ect. these go for anything between 250 - 500 depending on condition ,plinth ect.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 7:09 am   #20
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Default Re: Garrard 401 - pointers for restoration

I have just joined the forum and have been reading the above thread. If I can chip in my two pen'orth, I have Garrard 301 and I made a concrete base / plinth for it. I made a mould based on the plinth cut out drawings. The "concrete" used a higher than usual ratio of cement and the ballast was grit rather than small stones. It is very successful.
I painted it to look like granite.
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