So, you want to get into vinyl… PART 1

Hi guys, I’m really excited to be sharing this post, it’s the first in a new series of mine all about my favourite thing… Vinyl records. In each post, I am going to cover a different aspect within the hobby of record collecting in a really simple way. I found that when I got into collecting vinyl I felt a bit out of my depth online reading about the hobby and I wish there were straight forward and easy to follow articles, so I thought  I would create some myself. Today as its the first in the series I thought I would go through the basics of the vinyl record in a FAQ style way. Before you do anything please check out my Why I choose vinyl post where I share with you my personal reasons for choosing the magnificent music format.

What are vinyl records made out of?

Vinyl records are made out of a plastic known as Polyvinyl chloride or PVC for short.

Why are there different sizes of vinyl records?

There are three sizes of records that are commonly pressed nowadays and they are 7″ , 10″ and the size most people have probably encountered the 12″. Each of these are used for different lengths of music. The 7″ is used for single tracks, you can have one track on the A side and one on the B side. The 10″ record can be used for short EP’s and the 12″ is usually used for longer EP’s and full-length albums.

What about the weight, what’s heavy-weight vinyl?

Vinyl records typically come in two weights ‘Standard’ and ‘Heavyweight’. This classification all depends on the weight of the polyvinyl chloride pellets. most standard weight 12″ records are made with between 120-160 grams and heavy weight typically 180-200 grams. The heavier the record the less likely it is to warp however it doesn’t necessarily make it sound better.

How are different colour records produced?

This is pretty simple, Polyvinyl chloride pellets come in different colours so it’s just a case of pressing the music on that colour vinyl instead of the typical black.

Explain the different parts of a vinyl record.


I’m going to talk about this diagram from the outside in.

1: Centre hole

This hole is there so the record can be placed onto the centre spindle. This holds the record in place and keeps it secure.

2: Label

Here you will find all sorts of information, for example, the tracklisting, the speed and the place of pressing.

3: Dead Wax

Dead wax is used to inscribe dead wax marking, these are used to check a records authenticity, pressing number etc. This information is useful for identifying editions of records and making sure they are a legitimate pressing. A lot of this information will be in numbers and the authenticity can often be checked by unique symbols or signatures.  The wax around the outer area of the record is known as a groove guard, this just protects the grooves from any oil for hands when it’s being handled.

4: Breaks

These are just the part of the vinyl where there is no audio, this is to signpost the start and end of a song.

5: Tracks

This is where the music is, I’m not going to go into how the music gets there because although its interesting its doesn’t really matter if you are only planning to collect records casually. However, if you’re interested here is a link to a really good article that explains it: How is music stored on vinyl

That concludes this post, I hope this helped you to get a better understanding of the parts of a record and their purpose. I’m going to be updating this series once a month acknowledging a different topic within the hobby. Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments below and I will see you all in my next post…


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