vinyl skipping no scratch featured

If your new vinyl record is skipping, but it’s not scratched, it’s likely caused by either a warped record, a dirty record, a worn stylus, an unstable surface, or insufficient arm pressure. All of these can be fixed at home.

In this article I explore the other common causes of a skipping vinyl record that’s new and not scratched. I also explain how to fix these yourself.


Warped Record

If a scratch is not the cause of your skipping, then it’s very likely because your record is warped. The more bended the record is, the more likely a bounce off of the groove is.

warped vinyl record example
image from Toronto Vinyl Collector
  1. Fix a warped record by getting two panes of glass.
  2. Place the warped record between the panes.
  3. Heat them at 150°F(or 65°C) for 30 minutes.
  4. Let the record cool down to room temperature.

Dirty Record

Another cause of new vinyl skipping, that isn’t a scratch, is dirt or gunk in the record grooves. This could be dust, grease, mold, and more. These are obstructions for the stylus, which can cause it to skip.

I have written how-to cleaning guides on the most common dirty record causes.

  1. Dust: How To Remove Dust From Vinyl Records
  2. Mold: How To Remove Mold From Vinyl Records
  3. Fingerprints: How To Remove Fingerprints From Vinyl Records
  4. Smell: How To Remove Smell From Vinyl Records – 5 Methods
  5. Glue: How To Remove Glue From Vinyl Records
  6. Paint: How To Remove Paint From Vinyl Records – 4 Methods
  7. Blood: How To Remove Blood From Vinyl Records
  8. Labels: How To Remove Labels From Vinyl Records
  9. Stickers: How To Remove Stickers From Vinyl Records

Worn Stylus

The stylus or needle of your cartridge will wear down over time. Either dirt builds up, or the shape changes. This decreases its grip on the vinyl groove and its tracking capabilities, causing it to skip.

There are a few symptoms of a worn stylus, next to skipping, which I elaborate on in this article. But to summarize, these symptoms are:

  1. Too harsh sound.
  2. Scratch sounds.
  3. Loss of treble in audio.
  4. Highs and lows become less clear.
  5. Dirt on stylus tip.
  6. Misshapen stylus tip.
  7. Incorrect angle between stylus and record.

If it’s built up dirt or gunk then cleaning the stylus will do the job. If the shape of the stylus is changed, you’ll need a replacement.


Unstable Surface

The surface below your record player needs to be a sturdy object. That’s because that way vibrations to your stylus, trying to track the record, are minimized to prevent skipping.

For example, footsteps can cause issues with skipping if the surface below your turntable isn’t heavy and sturdy.

Next to that, make sure the surface below your record player is level. A sloped record player has an increased chance of skipping.

Finally, make sure your speakers are at least 3 feet (or 1 meter) away from your record player. The sound vibrations of your speakers can also be causing the skipping.

Check out my article on turntable speaker placement here. (opens in a new tab)


Insufficient Arm Pressure

The last cause of a skipping record player, that’s new and not a scratched, is insufficient arm pressure. This is when the stylus is pressed too weakly into the record groove, making it more likely to bounce off.

The first way to fix this is using a penny or a coin to attack to the same end of the arm where the cartridge is located. This extra weight will increase the pressure.

The best way though is turning the knob off your tonearm to tweak the tracking weight. You probably want to try around to find the perfect balance.


Thanks for reading, I hope that answered your answer. If it did or didn’t, please leave a comment. Find my other articles here. Consider subscribing to my newsletter below.

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