March 8, 2016 | Posted in VINYL RECORDS | By



Rare and hard to find Vintage Garrard Turntables

If you acquired a taste for vintage audiophile quality turntables, then likely you have found out that the Garrard is one of the most sought after, if not the most sought after usable vintage record player on the secondary market today. Fully restored tables, and parts will not be for the budget minded though.garrard-401-891915_1280

Garrard was a world-famous British gramophone maker that began operations in 1915. By 1960 the company sold out to Plessey, a large conglomerate electric manufacturer.

Unfortunately Plessey didn’t invest in the Garrard brand name as well as they should have, and by 1979 they sold the brand to Brazil Electronics. By 1992 the name was all but extinct.

A safe bet as far as authentic Garrard turntables would be to stick to record players made prior to 1979, certainly anything after 1979 with the Garrard brand will not be completely authentic.

The 301 from 1954, and the 401 from after 1965, are the ones to get, as they are the classic audiophile’s dream turntable; not only considering sound but also design. If I had the means, I’d be trying one of these out no doubt!

Many people today also consider the vintage Garrard turntables as a decorative item nearly as much as a record player. They can be hard to find in playable condition, you can however find parts to get specific units working on eBay and other online shopping marketplaces; but it might be like finding a needle in a haystack. These Garrard’s certainly do have a charm and personality that add to the overall desirability.

The Garrard 301 Turntable: 1954

The 301 turntable is considered one of the best made. A real play for the upper-end Hi Fi market. One of the first real audiophile record players in Europe and perhaps the world?

The Garrard 401 Turntable: 1965

The 401 was introduced as a replacement for the 301. This turntable is the one you want. Be ready to pay super high-end prices for a fully restored Garrard.

Understand that many times certain parts will have been replaced by a third-party who may specialize in restoring those parts, and they will likely have no affiliation with the Garrard company as it is known today.

Those companies like Loricraft audio should be applauded for their love for the brand, and doing what they can to keep the brand alive by offering restored Garrard turntables.

Garrard Turntable Plinths

Just take a look on eBay for what the plinths (base) are going for now. Understand that the plinth is the bulk of the record player, and it would be like finding a well taken care of frame to vintage automobile.

You have the meat of it, now you need the other stuff, and that other stuff could be even tougher to find? It does seem acceptable to collectors now, to have the original plinth “of course”, and not all bad to have to use some replacement parts to get her up and spinning vinyl again.

Vintage Garrard Turntable Repair

Vinyl’s Comeback and Rising Vintage Turntable Prices

Vinyl’s resurgence in the 21st century I think took many by surprise. I wasn’t one bit surprised, as many people like to revisit their past. Nostalgia like vinyl is one such way to connect with those days gone by.

Another hard truth about good quality record players and good quality vinyl, they can’t be beat for warm sound re-production. Yeah of course I have an iPod, but when you own a table such as a Garrard and you spin a record like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue on it, it nearly becomes a spiritual experience. Hyperbole perhaps, but I do not remember that vibe after popping a CD onto the tray and pushing play?

Vinyl’s warm analog sound is set in stone perhaps, the one perfect way to listen to music despite the flaws inherent in the format? If the quality of both the vinyl and the turntable stay high, the sound experience will be as well. I envy those who can get their hands on an authentic vintage turntable such as the Garrard, that’s what it’s all about.

When you consider the laws of supply and demand, it is no surprise how record players 35-60 years old would be hard to find in working condition. First of all, Garrard didn’t make a lot of these, they were not cheaply made budget models. These were made for the audiophile connoisseur in low numbers…and those who loved music were going to play their music, increasing the wear and tear as well.

Secondly, vinyl’s 21st Century popularity has a whole new breed of audiophile out there searching for the best of the best, like a guitarist might seek out the vintage guitars and amplifiers to re-create an authentic sound, this line of thinking is also championed by the new breed of younger audiophile.

That new breed’s age is the surprise to me, that so many of the 25-30 somethings with money burning a hole in their pocket are seeking out the vintage record playing equipment to this extent, it has driven up prices to the lofty heights we see today.

Intro Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Jason Sositko

Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.

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