How to Fix Record Skipping
Records are a fun way to enjoy music, but sometimes that enjoyment can be disturbed by record skipping. Unfortunately this is a common shortcoming with vinyl records and playing them. Fortunately, there are ways to fix and prevent this annoying interruption.
Records can skip due to dirt, dust, or other tiny debris on your records. The dirt finds its way into the grooves of the record and can cause the stylus (sometimes called a needle) to jump. This jumping action is the skip! If this is the culprit for your record skipping the solution is simple. You need to clean your records!
Read our guide on Vinyl Record Care
If you are certain that your records are clean and not causing the record skip then it’s possible that the record skipping is due to a worn out or dirty stylus! If your stylus is just dirty, its possible to clean it with a stylus brush. Be careful when cleaning a stylus though as they are very fragile! The stylus tip (whether diamond, ruby, or something else) can easily be damaged so brush ever so lightly!
Uneven Record Player / Turntable
Sometimes a skipping record happens due to an uneven turntable. Make sure that your turntable isn’t wobbling or sitting uneven. Check that it’s spinning in a level fashion. Using a tiny bubble level to monitor your record player can help to ensure that it is level. Also take care of your record player’s placement. Try to ensure that it’s on a sturdy surface and protected from vibrations in your room.
Scratched or Damaged Records
Are you sure your records are free from scratches and other damage? A warped, scratched, or otherwise damaged record can cause your stylus to jump or skip. If you find scratches on your records, you might be able to fix it with proper cleaning. This won’t necessarily fix the scratch but can help prevent skipping in some cases. If you’re really feeling up to it, there are also ways to “fix” the scratch.
Read our guide on How to Fix Scratched Records.
If your records are clean and free of damage, your turntable is stable and level, and your stylus is clean and in working order a record skip could be due to an imbalance in your turntable’s tonearm. The tonearm though seemingly simple in design carries out a number of functions for your to be able to enjoy your vinyls. It holds and supports the stylus cartridge and maintains the correct height and angle above your records, while applying just the right amount of weight to keep your stylus moving in the grooves. If this weight, height, or angle is off it can cause record skipping.
With these tips and maybe a little luck you should be able to identify the cause of your record player skipping and fix it. If not then there are a few last resorts. First, if you have isolated the skipping to a single or a few specific vinyls and can’t fix the skip you may need to purchase new copies of your albums. If it’s not the vinyls and the record player is in question, you can always have your turntable serviced by a professional.