Repairing a Classic Tonearm

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Cressy Snr
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#1 Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Cressy Snr »

My SME 3009 Series II Improved arm had been bothering me after I noticed a couple of weeks ago, that the way rod carrying the tracking force scale and rider weight, was not level with the armtube. It was pointing slightly upwards.
Further examination revealed that the counterweight was sagging, the cause being, that the two bottom rubber bushes, of the three that make up the decoupling arrangements on the spider carrying the threaded counterweight stub had become compressed over the years.
You can read plenty of stuff about saggy counterweights on the older Series I tonearms, and places like Peak Hi-Fi sell the rubber insert for the rear of the armtube and provide fitting instructions, so the older arms can be kept going.
The Series II Improved arm does not seem to have an easy solution to the saggy counterweight issue, and nobody seems to talk about it much - probably because the Series II improved is not as desirable an artefact. Replacement spiders are available on ebay but they are invariably used and I wouldn’t want to take a chance on one. Also the rubbers in the SME spider, even if you could get a NOS one, are going to be knocking on forty years old and could be either hardened or perished.
It is easy to remanufacture the rubber insert for the Series I arm, but the triple bush spider on the Series II is another matter altogether, requiring a clockmakers bush press to push out the tiny retaining pins, so that the rubbers could be changed.
So for me, it was either, take a chance on a used spider off ebay, or get creative. As I’m a tight b’stard, I decided to get creative.
I have a reel of black waxed wire loom, lacing twine, from my BT days and I can do clove hitches, so with a magnifying light and a lot of care, I put a clove hitch of the waxed twine around each of the bottom two spider pins. This had the effect of forcing the tiny rubber bushes away from the rear plate holding the counterweight stub, the two turns of twine filling the resulting gap.
This little bodge, straightened up the counterweight stub plate and made the sixteenth-inch gap between it and its opposing armtube plate, nice and parallel. Fitting it all back together resulted in a perfectly level wayrod and the counterweight was no longer saggy. :bounce:
The improvement in the sound quality of the arm was quite something, and the repair is completely invisible and keeps the arm original.
A good result all round. Sometimes with these classic products, one has to do a bit of thinking outside the box to keep them going. I suppose the same is true of classic bikes and cars.
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Ray P
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#2 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Ray P »

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IslandPink
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#3 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by IslandPink »

Nice work Steve. It's a while since I had the 3012, but I never took it apart !
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Cressy Snr
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#4 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Cressy Snr »

Talking of classic arms and turntables: the Goldring turntable with SME arm I bought off our Ant, was originally designed by him to have a distinct 1960s vibe about it with its cream coloured motor board. Yesterday I completed the vibe by spraying the platter to match the motor board. The polished edge of the platter, didn’t quite fit the visuals. The painted edge makes it spot on 50s/60s Dansette. :mrgreen:
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An original ribbed rubber mat off a GL78 completes the look. The retro aesthetic works perfectly. I’m dead chuffed. :)
Last edited by Cressy Snr on Mon Jul 12, 2021 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IslandPink
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#5 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by IslandPink »

Old school !
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Paul Barker
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#6 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Paul Barker »

Nice
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Ray P
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#7 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Ray P »

I think you have to wrap the plinth too Steve
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#8 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Dave the bass »

IslandPink wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:34 pmOld school !
Pre-school!




Ps. Shoddy!
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#9 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by IslandPink »

That must be ... even better ! :)
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#10 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Paul Barker »

some of my prog rock was played on a dansette in the 70s. And also a posh Bush one my mum bought us for her hiuse. My Dad had a Steri Radiogram that was real quality real good. Might have had PX 25’s. He dumped it and bought a new transistor crap amp and hifi speakers nasty but compact.
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Ray P
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#11 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Ray P »

I remember we had a Dansette, though I'm not sure it got used that much we listened to a transistor radio in the kithen in the morning and the telly rather took over in the evenings - my dad rarely got to play his Jim Reeves LPs. I do remember the Dansette got a regular airing at Christmas though, out came an old 78 of 'I saw momma kissing Santa Clause...'

The first LP I ever bought, Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, got it's first play on the Dansette, which soon found its way up to my bedroom and so started the "Turn that noise down!" cries...

Happy days!
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#12 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Cressy Snr »

I never had a record player in my room until I was 21 and had bought a decent hi-fi with my own money. I left home aged 23. I used to play my records on the HMV stereogram when my parents were out.When they were in, it was the TV or Radio Hallam. That was it. In 1973 I bought a pair of huge Eagle International headphones from Webster’s Electrical shop in town, with my 15th birthday money. Plugged into the headphone outlet on the stereogram, they were a godsend. I would hardly have been able to listen to anything without them. My first exposure to Bowie, Roxy, Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream was via those ‘phones. Far out man. :)
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#13 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Ray P »

A fine selection of bands there Steve.

So is the coloured vinyl wrap on for your plinth? :D
Cressy Snr
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#14 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Cressy Snr »

Ray P wrote: Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:53 pm
…So is the coloured vinyl wrap on for your plinth? :D
Er…no. :)
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#15 Re: Repairing a Classic Tonearm

Post by Ray P »

:( :cry:
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