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Author Topic: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?  (Read 7233 times)

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Offline Shovel

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If somebody had a big empty room and a blank check (I don't, but what if) and wanted to figure out how to start from scratch ...

What would you need to start a 78 rpm music studio?  Even without looking at it in terms of profitability or efficiency, does the equipment even exist anymore in good enough condition?

ARE there any 78 type studios anywhere these days? 

Would it be possible to do set something up 100% in house? 

It seems I read that Tom Waits put out a 78 that sounded like vinyl and not shellac?

How did Crumb put out his 78s in the 70's, on equipment that doesn't exist anymore?  Equipment that's still set up somewhere?  Does Bussard still have his equipment from Fonotone?

I've done a lot of recording on computer and to a degree in 'studios', but I have absolutely no idea whether this is an impossible task or something that wouldn't be all that hard in the long run.

I'm not sure I even know enough to ask the right questions, but maybe some folks here know something about it and could offer some insight?

Thanks..

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 10:38:35 AM »
here's another discussion that mentions the Tom Waits 78. I'm guessing it's not that different from the Pye Nixa 78s that came out in the uk in the late 50s.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8486.msg69507#msg69507
EDIT I tried to add a 78 rpm tag to that discussion (and this one) but they don't seem to have worked

here's Lewis Durham talking about his studio setup for Evangelist Records
http://www.clashmusic.com/feature/studio-guide-kitty-daisy-lewis
Evangelist recently put out 78s by Pokey LaFarge and Blind Boy Paxton which I'm pretty sure aren't shellac but were analogue all the way.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 10:49:17 AM by Gumbo »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 05:16:10 PM »
Re tags, there's a minimum length for a tag, and I knew we had one already going. So I looked up the tag index and tagged it '78 rpm'. Also moved the topic to Super Electrical Recordings since it's discussing recording technology and it will be easier to find.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 05:18:08 PM by Rivers »

Offline Westside

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 12:00:09 PM »
There is some interesting info here: http://gieskes.nl/gramophonerecorder/ I don't know if it would be of any help though?

Offline Westside

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 11:19:24 AM »
Retro mechanical record player/cutter!
Just found this: http://www.japantrendshop.com/gakken-premium-gramophone-p-796.html
Looks like it could be fun to mess around with!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 11:20:39 AM by Westside Ryan »

Offline sustaireblues

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 11:37:51 AM »
Very cool looking gizmo!
Okay, who's going to bite the bullet and check it out for us?  ;D

Joe

Offline blueshome

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 12:59:23 PM »
There are still some disc cutters around which pop up on the second hand market occasionally but they require a lot of expertise and maintenance to keep going and rigging especially to record direct - the purest form. Use an RCA44 or similar and  all valve (tube) electronics unless you want to record acoustically through horn....... .

Geting somewhere to make a master would be possible but obtaining the right blend of "shellac" to produce the disc would be difficult I think, as would somewhere to press it..

The modern vinyl 78's will had been recorded to tape and transferred to disc in the same way as any other modern disc..

So, you've made your shellac 78, are you then going to play back on an old Victrola? The only way if you want to get the original sound.

However, the recording engineers of the 20's and 30's were geniuses when it came to setting up a room and placing mics (no they didn't set RJ up in the corner to sound better - it doesn't work in my experience), hence the listenable sounds we can still hear today despite the crudeness of the recording technology.



Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 01:01:07 PM »
There is a group doing this now, called the 78 Project. Probably not shellac either, but direct to disk I believe. See:
http://the78project.com/ or:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/the78project/the-78-project-feature-length-documentary-film/posts
I was hipped to this when Roseanne Cash and her hubby John Leventhal were recorded by these folks. There is video available, search youtube.

Dave

Offline Papa Pea Vine Patton

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 06:48:47 PM »
You cut to lacquer disc (either direct or from tape source) and then plate it to produce metal parts to press 78's.

Lacquer is also what's used to make LP's.   Same process.

Lacquer (replacing beeswax) came into use in the 1930's.   I believe the Robert Johnson 78's were direct cut to lacquer.

All the retro 78's (like Waits / Beach Boys etc.) that come out now are microgroove vinyl.    Not widegroove shellac.    And of course, they are not suited to play on anything but modern machines.

I don't know where you'd get shellac now.    Shellac was just one of many different ingredients used in the production of 78, and not even the main one.    I think on average that a "shellac" 78 contains about 30% shellac mixed with a bunch of other things, depending on the brand.

Paramount used to use sand as an ingredient in their 78's, which I think at least partly accounts for why they are so noisy.

Offline DanJM

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 06:45:59 PM »

Offline SittingRabbit

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2022, 01:21:34 PM »
I just want to create a recording of "Home" by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles Hotel Band on shellac or something similar to play on my Credenza or VE 8-35x. I have cactus needles.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Idiots Guide to Recording / Making 78 Shellac Records These Days?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2022, 01:54:53 PM »
Keep your eye on:

https://www.discogs.com/artist/369310-Henry-Hall-and-the-Gleneagles-Hotel-Band

Maybe one will come up. Looks like they probably don't go for a lot. A different title there now went for $15. There are other record collector sites you can find.

Wax
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