Sometimes, we just don’t have the patience to listen to a whole album until our favorite song comes on. After all, it’s not a crime to skip songs.
However, if you’re using a record player, it may be a head-scratcher. So you ask yourself: how to skip songs on a record player?
Here’s How to Skip Songs on a Record Player
You can skip songs on a record player, but it takes a meticulous effort to do it properly. The main idea is to gently lift the arm and place it slowly on the track’s ring while the record is spinning. It may be challenging at first, but it’s doable.
Skipping songs on a record player isn’t the same as doing it on Spotify. You can’t simply tap the “next” button or put the playlist in shuffle mode.
For vinyl records, there’s a more precise way of doing it. Here’s the step-by-step guide to help you skip songs the right way.
The number of gaps on the vinyl record corresponds to the number of songs on the record’s jacket. If your record is 33 RPM, each side will consist of half the album.
If you have a 45 RPM record, you probably won’t need to skip songs since it only has two songs — one on each side.
Once you know which track you want to play, take a mental note of its number.
On the vinyl record, you can see wide gaps or visible rings that separate each track. That’s where each song starts. It’s important to know exactly where your desired track is to avoid careless mistakes that can damage your fragile record.
Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher these rings. So, it may help if you shine a light on the record to see them more clearly. If you’re lucky, your turntable may have its own light that shines on the record.
All turntables come with a needle or a stylus. It’s typically at the end of the metal arm. It’s also what reads the grooves and delivers you that sweet sound of music.
Depending on how high-end your turntable is, there may or may not be a cueing lever. This additional feature helps with lifting and lowering the arm gently. Use this feature for lifting the needle.
However, if you own a more manual record player, you’ll have to lift the arm yourself. One important thing to remember is to do this step as carefully as possible. You don’t want a heavy hand because you can damage your player and the vinyl.
To make everything easier, steady your hand on something sturdy beside the platter. It’ll help in lifting the tonearm more steadily.
Additionally, make sure to lift the needle while the record spins. It prevents the needle from building heat from the friction when the record suddenly stops.
Related: NP6 Needle Replacement Guide
Once the needle is away from the record, you can now decide where to move it. Typically, you’ll only move the arm sideways to choose the track.
At this point, you should already know which track you’re playing. Not only does it help with saving time, but it’ll also bring you focus.
It may be difficult to pinpoint the exact spot where you need the needle to be. Don’t worry; all beginners go through this phase. With a bit of practice and more patience, you’ll be a pro in knowing where the needle should land.
Now, the needle and the proper position of the ring are already in alignment. Lower the needle using the cueing lever or a steady hand until it touches the spinning record.
You’ll know you did this step right when you hear the song start within a few seconds. Sometimes, you’ll hit the ending part of the previous track, but that’s alright. You’ll still get to hear your song without listening to the whole album.
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Now comes the easiest part. Once the song starts playing, feel free to enjoy yourself.
Although it’s possible to skip songs on a record player, you still can’t guarantee that you’ll do it without any mistakes. Here are some of the common ones that you’ll want to watch out for:
Accidentally dropping the arm is a problem if your turntable doesn’t have a cueing lever. Take note: you don’t need a lever for the turntable to work, but it’s a handy feature for skipping songs if you don’t have a steady hand.
If you have shaky hands, you probably don’t want to touch the tonearm hastily.
A pair of sweaty hands is also another thing you don’t want to have while fiddling with the record player. You can accidentally lose grip and release the arm, which can skid against the record and produce scratches.
Not only does this ruin the record’s surface, but it also reduces the overall quality of the sound.
Pressing the needle too hard on the vinyl is also a problem for turntables without a cueing lever. You can lift and move the arm properly, but lowering it down can be an issue if you have a heavy hand.
If this happens, you can damage the beginning section of the track. What’s more, the needle can also dig into the groove. Then, the needle won’t be able to move and read the rest of the grooves.
Much like the other mistake, this fault can also give you a damaged disc with lower sound quality.
A lot of vinyl record enthusiasts suggest not to turn skipping tracks into a habit. While it may be easy to do it on other music players, it’s not ideal for record players.
When you often skip tracks, there’s a higher chance of scratching and damaging the record. It’ll also require additional care and cleaning.
Plus, if you always skip to your favorite track, the grooves of that specific song will have more wear. With that, it won’t be in the same condition as the rest of the disc.
So, even though you can skip tracks, it’s better to do it occasionally or learn to enjoy each song on the album.