How Do I Fix the Needle on My Record Player That Broke?

By Ryan Maxwell

In the age of digital music, where full albums or even individual songs can be downloaded to players not much bigger than a pack of gum, the record player is an often-forgotten device. Record player technology has had very few changes since it was first offered to the public. A needle sits in the grooves of a vinyl record and the vibrations from that record are translated into sounds. The needle is mounted on a swinging arm that moves as the needle progresses through the groove in the record. The needle is housed in a cartridge at the end of the swinging arm. On some record players, the entire cartridge must be replaced. For others, the needle, also referred to as the stylus, can be replaced on its own.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-blade jewelers screwdriver
  • Replacement cartridge or stylus

Step 1

Shut your record player off and unplug it.

Step 2

Remove the broken stylus or cartridge. Depending on the model and manufacturer of the record player, the cartridge can be secured using one or two flat-blade screws, spring clips or a retention lever. You may also have to unplug the four colored wires connected to the back of the cartridge. Refer to the documentation for your record player for the specific type of cartridge your record player uses. For record players with a removable stylus, raise the swing arm gently, grasp the stylus and pull it out of the housing.

Step 3

Reverse the removal process to connect the new stylus or cartridge. If necessary, connect the four color-coded wires to the corresponding color-coded ports on the back of the cartridge.

Step 4

Plug your record player in.