Homemade Record Player Needle

By Robyn Murray

More and more people are giving up on compact discs for the warmth and hiss of vinyl. All of the classic albums, pre-1987, were mixed and engineered in studios to be listened to on "wax" discs, and many audiophiles prefer the sound of an original LP. If you have a newly-purchased record at home, but don't have a needle to play it, simply create a homemade device.

Homemade Record Player Needles

To create a homemade record player needle, take a piece of paper and roll it into a cone. The cone should resemble a megaphone, with the small end kept very small, and the large end rounded out. This will serve to amplify the sound from the record. Note: this process will work better with a sturdy piece of paper, such as cardboard. Using masking packing or plain Scotch tape (not double-sided adhesive), tape the edges of the paper onto the cone, then place a needle, safety pin or in a pinch, a paper clip, through the hole at the narrow end of the cone. Tape the needle or safety pin into place to eliminate the side-to-side or up-and-down movement of your homemade stylus. Place your record onto the platter of the record player and place the needle into the groove. If your record player is broken, manually spin the record clockwise at a rate that sounds close to the originally recorded speed. The music will be audible because it is amplified and funneled through the end of the cone. Note: the fidelity of the sound produced using this method is not necessarily stellar, however it can be used in an emergency, or just for fun. The cone-and-needle technique is tough on records and should be used sparingly to avoid damaging the record.

Homemade Record Players

If you have a turntable cartridge but no workable record player, simply attach the cartridge to the bottom of a wind-up toy vehicle. The ideal toy is one with decent ground clearance that is self-propelled and wound by placing the rear wheels on a flat surface and backing it up manually. Amazingly, with the aid of the needle, the vehicle will stay within the borders of the groove, unless it is too powerful. The fidelity is surprisingly good due to the use of a proper record stylus.