How to Replace a Needle on a Record Player

How to Replace a Needle on a Record Player

You love to play your audio with your record player. Your record player is an important part of your home, which needs to be maintained and taken care of like other machines in our home. 

To make your record player last for a longer time you need to work on its maintenance. With time the needle of the record player wears down due to which the sound may become unclear.

So, the needle needs to be changed when required. So, here comes the question, how to replace a needle on a record player?

The needle is the most essential component of your record player. Most record players are quite old and antique.

That is why the needle needs to be changed to play the device efficiently. To change the needle, you should be aware of all the necessary steps to replace a needle on a record player.

Here is a complete guideline for you about how to replace a needle on a record player.

What does the Needle do?

The needle is an important part of the record player. The quality of the sound that you hear relies on the needle which is being used. It is located at the tonearm.

It has contact with the vinyl record. It moves along the grooves on the surface of the vinyl and reads the music which is there.

After reading the music, it then sends the music to the cartridge which further converts it into electric signals.

Those electric signals are then converted into the sound we hear by speakers and amplifiers. That is the reason you should handle your needle carefully.

Common Methods to Change the Needle 

There are two methods commonly known for how to replace a needle on a record player. One of the methods is to replace the cartridge which makes sure that the stylus stays in its place.

The other procedure to replace a needle on a record player is to change the stylus. You need to do this only when the cartridge is destroyed.

There is no need to change your cartridge. It may work for a good period of time. However, the stylus should be changed with regular time intervals to make sure that the sound of the record is clear and pleasant.

Both of these methods are used to replace the needle of maximum record players manufactured after 1980.

The Required Research

If you want to replace your needle, you need to know which needle your vinyl record uses.

For this, you need to read the serial number written on the cartridge and then you can find the needle according to it.

If it isn’t written there you should find it in the owner’s manual. You can find the manual online as well if you don’t have it or you can contact the manufacturer for this information as well.

Now I will guide you in detail about how to replace a needle on a record player.

Unplug Your Record

The first step is to unplug your vinyl records so you are safe from the electric shock.

You need to remove the records that are inside the turntables so that they are not damaged.

Remove the Headshell

If your vinyl records have removable headshells then you can easily change the needle in such turntables. You will have to unscrew the shell.

Lever in the Tone Arm

In some models, you need to unlock the lever which protects and holds tone arm tightly in place.

Many models have screws at the end of the arm, which can be easily seen. You can loosen the screws with the help of a screwdriver by rotating it anti-clockwise.

You can now take the needle out of it. Handle the needle carefully and do not put any stress on the arm because it can easily bend. 

Fixing the New Needle in

After removing the old needle, space would be empty for the new needle. Put the fresh needle with a lot of care.

Make sure the end of the needle is facing on the downward side. Immense care is required while doing this because music is played when the pointy end touches the record.

Fix the Screws on the Tone Arm

When you have placed the new needle in its right place you will have to fix the screws again.

Make sure to tighten them properly on the tone arm so they aren’t loose. Now the tone arm will be back to its right position.

Check the New Needle

Now that you are done changing the needle in your vinyl record you can plug in your turntable again. You should now check whether you’ve done it right or not.

If the music sounds great, you’ve succeeded in doing the task. So, this was the procedure of how to change a needle on a record player.

If there is an unclear or distorted sound then you haven’t done it right. If you hear scratching or you see skipping, it means the needle isn’t placed correctly.

To solve this issue you should adjust the tone arm. If still there is a problem then you must consult a professional. They will help with the needle adjustment or replacement.

You should watch them do it so you may learn more about your vinyl record. You should change the needle of the record player after 1000 hours of use.

You can also extend the time period if you take good care of them. Playing damaged or dirty records will further destroy your vinyl record completely.

What to do if you Hear Unusual Sounds

If you hear unusual sounds you should clean your record player and make sure to align it. When your record players are dirty or the position of the tone arm isn’t right they sound unclear and distorted.

You should consider cleaning your turntables and adjusting the tone arm before you think of replacing the needle.

If this doesn’t work out and the sound is still unclear, then it is an indication that the device needs a needle replacement.

You should also change your needle if you’ve bought an old and used vinyl record. It will give you a fresh and clear sound. So these were some guidelines on how to replace a needle on a record player.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often you should replace the needle on a record player?

The manufacturers are now suggesting to change your needles every 3 to 5 years or 1000 hours of record playing time.

So if you play your vinyl record for one hour a day you should be changing it every couple of years.

How do I know if my record player is bad?

If the grooves become wider and deeper than the other records in your collection then it is a sign of records being played a lot.

If the grooves seem good but the sound is thin, this means that needle replacement is required.

Can a bad needle ruin a record?

If the stylus is damaged or worn out it can damage your collection of records. If you notice any change in the shape of the needle head you should replace it immediately. Never use it in light of the physical damage that can be done.


The old and classic vinyl records are amazing things to keep. You love antique stuff if you own one of them.

We hope this article was interesting and gave you complete information about how to replace a needle on a record player. This will help you keep them running in good condition for a long period of time.

For more information about record players check other blog post on our website.