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Replacing a Record Player Needle – Top 3 Tips

Replacing a record player needle may seem tricky at first, but with the help of this quick guide you’ll find it’s a breeze,


Tips on Replacing a Record Player Needle or Phono Cartridge

How to Keep Your Records and Vinyl Collection in Good Shape

One of the best ways to listen to music is through a record player. In the 80s, many people thought that record players were finally going to go extinct, especially with the rise of CDs, and Walkmans—who would ever want to use a record player anymore?

But times have changed over this past decade, and more and more people are now obsessed with collecting vinyl records and owning record players, which offers some of the best sounding music in the world and will forever change the way you listen to music!

Once you decide to purchase a record player, you need to find one that has been made out of the highest quality materials.

These are not your typical stereo systems or CD players; record players take looking after to ensure you are getting the best music listening in the world.


One of the most important things on a record player is the player needle. This is what fits into the grooves on the record and plays the music. Without the needle, there is no music.

This is why it is so important to take the time replace a record player needle if something is wrong with it, such as it starting to get dull. It is one of the most important parts of the system and you cannot let it just die.

Today we are going to go over how to replace a record player needle. We hope through our easy guide, it will become clear to you just how easy it is to replace one!

1. Why should you replace a record player needle?

No matter what type of record player you have: whether it is called a turntable a phonograph, or whatever in between, you need to take care of them because they are known to wear. On any record player, there are usually only a few parts that actually need to be taken care of:

  • You need to look after the stylus (which is the part on the needle) which is usually made out of diamond, steel, or bamboo, and is known to run on the grooves of the record
  • You need to look after the cartridge, which has the ability to adapt and influence the mechanical vibrations on the record player
  • You should check the drive belt, which is the part that turns the record itself


Out of all three of these, the most important part that is changed the most frequently is the stylus, which is also referred to the record player needle. It has to put up with a lot of friction as it is the one being worn down by the grooves on the record.

If for any reason it chips, or it is worn down, it is going to make the record sound horrible. It will not be able to properly fit into the grooves of the record and can even lead to destroying your records.

2. When to Replace a Record Player Needle Video:

3. How do you replace a needle or phono cartridge?

So now since you know why you should even bother replacing in the first place, it is time to consider how you can effectively replace your worn record player needle.

The first thing that you can do even before you replace it, is to keep it clean at all times. This includes brushing away any dust that may accumulate on the tip.

Sometimes you can use a small paintbrush to do this or just a dust rag; you are going to want to keep it clean. In order to inspect it further, take a magnifying glass to it and look at it up close to see what you can do to clean it further.

The first thing to replace the needle is to remove the stylus out of the cartridge (which is the place that holds the needle). You pull it straight out, in the other direction opposed to the arm that is holding it.

The cartridge, that holds the stylus is only going to be compatible with certain brands. So, before you buy a new one, it is crucial that you figure out what model and brand will complement the cartridge.

Once you purchase a new record player needle, just slip it right back into the cartridge, with the point obviously facing downwards so it can go right onto the record.

If for some reason the cartridge itself is also not working, you can take it off by just slipping it off the arm as well.

Most of the time it is easy to replace, as there are a lot of diagrams that come with new cartridges to easily hook it up.

Obviously, you need to know that this needs to be handled with the utmost care as these are breakable and need delicate handling.

Ensuring you always have a great record player

Since you know how to replace a record player needle, we wanted to end off with some of our advice on finding a great record player. It is known that the higher the quality of the player, the less you are going to have to worry about replacing a record player needle.

The first thing that we always recommend to first time buyers is to find one that is affordably priced, but that is still made out of high-quality materials. Usually you will find these among brand names that are known in the industry as being some of the best of the best.

It is crucial for you to take the time to know which manufacturers are the best and the products they are offering.

Something you can do to ensure the record player needle is always in tip-top shape is to make sure you are setting it correctly on the record.

Many of the new players do it automatically so you do not have to worry about it, but we recommend watching YouTube tutorials so you can know how to do it correctly to avoid any unwanted damage further down the road.

Follow Steve Bee:

Senior editor at fatcityturntables.com

Steve Bee is a musician, audiophile, author and publisher. Drawing on his extensive experience with audio equipment and music, Steve and his team share insight into the world of vinyl and audio.

2 Responses

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    kenneth r thomson
    | Reply

    need a replacement needle for shure n-91e and or n-91ed how much and need to ship to men

    • blank
      Steve Bee
      | Reply

      Hi Kenneth, thanks for your question. I’m sorry but we don’t sell directly to the public. You should be able to find what you need on Amazon.

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