Anybody my age (73) will know what a Garrard is. It was a turntable made in England. My first Garrard I purchased in 1963. I had a similar one which I found in Buenos Aires which I used in my two years in the Argentine Navy between 1964 and 1966. Its main feature was that my manual one had to be cocked back. When you did this the turntable platter turned and the sound was connected to the primitive cartridge in the tone arm. Most of the terms used here are probably American. The British had other words such as the gramophone and I believe the pickup.
The fact is that those Garrard turntables had heavy tone arms and they slowly wore out records if you played them a lot. My Buenos Aires records, it would seem, were pressed from extremely heavy vinyl and have survived to this day with their sound being almost pristine.
It was around 1972 in Mexico City when my friend Jorge Urrechaga introduced me and sold me an Acoustic Research amplifier. He told me that my system was as good as its weakest components. He added that while my speakers were awful my Garrard had to go. Somehow I found a beautiful Acoustic Research turntable and soon bought a Shure V-15 Type II (I don’t remember how this was. Perhaps I made a plane trip to the US and smuggled it back). This cartridge was state-of-the-art. By the time I arrived in Vancouver in 1975 my speakers were venerable but wonderful Acoustic Research AR-3As. These were stolen from my home years later and my insurance replaced them with some JBL Studio Monitors.
As years passed I went through three more brands of cartridges. One was a Pickering and another, a Grado. A third one (my present one) is a Stanton.
My Stanton is installed in my Sony linear tracking turntable. When I listen to records my system is superb.
I was most surprised that my aural pleasure has been enhanced all these years by a Mr. Norman Pickering. Here is his NY Times obituary.
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.