View Full Version : Do i want a Garrard

16-08-2009, 16:45
I have a bit of a dilema, i have been offered a 301 grease bearing in grey, a 301 oil bearing in cream and a tatty 401 along with a SME 3012 with a 9 inch arm tube fitted, the tubes come up for sale sometimes and i only live 5 miles away from SME's factory so i don't think it would be a problem to get it back to standard, my dilema is what out of the three decks do you think are worth going for(all require a bit of work including new switchs and a clean up etc).
The 301 grease bearings have been making strong money at the moment and the guy who's selling them knows this, i'm in a position to probably swap some of my kit for any or all of these, is a grease bearing worth the extra over the standard oil and what is the real worth of one of these fitted with a 3012 ?:confused:
I currently have a Thorens TD125 mk2 with a 3009, a Arisdon RD110 in a coryntheum plinth fitted again with a 3009 and a AR fitted with a Linn basic arm which i'm currently using, perhaps i should stick with one of these or trade them all in.:scratch:

16-08-2009, 16:50
I suppose it depends a lot on price. I'm sure others here have a better radar for price than me. One things for sure if you need to move one on there is a strong market for Garrards of all sorts in good condition, restored or original.

16-08-2009, 22:42
Hi Jon

Quite a few questions there. The following might be of some help:

Amongst the afficianardos it would seem that the earlier grease bearing is the one to have and certainly this preference is reflected in the prices fetched on eBay. Others will tell you there is no real improvement and that the change from grease lubricated bearing to an oil lubricated one, came about with the advent of stereo.

Regarding the choice between a 301 and a 401 - well apart from looks, the early 401s were much better made than the later 301s, though the quality of some cosmetic parts (the front panel with the Garrard logo, originally a cast item was replaced with a pressed plate) and the overall quality control deteriorated towards the end.

Typical prices for 301s seem to be 500 and for 401s 400.

I don't understand what you mean by "an SME 3012 with a 9 inch arm tube fitted". Is it a 3009 (9" design) or a 3012 (12" design)? If you are interested in using older designs of cartridges then I would go for the 12" arm, otherwise stick with the 9" design. 3012s fetch a lot on eBay these days (up to 1000).

Whilst not answering your enquiry, I trust the above is of some help.

16-08-2009, 23:26
Amongst the afficianardos it would seem that the earlier grease bearing is the one to have and certainly this preference is reflected in the prices fetched on eBay.

But don't forget the 'collector' aspect is also reflected in the prices... ;)

The grey grease bearing models are highly sought after by these folk, many of whom may possibly never even use them in anger!

17-08-2009, 05:11
Sound wise either will give you plenty of sonic delight
Slate certainly seems the way to go and the few I heard sound great

17-08-2009, 08:17
Don't forget Loricraft, who probably know more about these Gararrds than anyone else on the planet..

As to bearings and after spending many decades now reading about them, it seems to me that the grease bearings NEEDED to grease as the tolerances weren't quite as good as later ones (Loricraft would confirm or deny this opinion). Thyere's nothing wrong at all with the later oil bearings as long as they're kept oiled and this leads me to my next point...

It has been suggested that Garrard used steel bearing bushes for a while. Apparently, Garrard used *sintered* steel bushings which are rather different and quite ok as long as they don't run dry..

The thrust assemblies at the bottom of the Garrard bearings *seem* to add plenty of friction to the main bearing, but this may not necessarily be an issue, as one modern top end deck deliberately puts "damping/friction" on the bearing's freedom of movement to improve performance (ok, the grease 301's could be used as a further example, but I'm not sure on this). Adding a ceramic ball with cushion may look to be a good idea, but it may just accelerate wear on the spindle tip..

Do please bear in mind that the high costs of un-restored 301's and 401's today in the UK encroach on Spacedeck territory, let alone a well fettled Techie and having once compared a Spacedeck with a 301, I'd say the two latter modern decks are much quieter when compared to an un-restored garrard, which is going to cost loads to re-build and re-plinth...

One thing I've not mentioned. The feeling you have owning *and using* a vintage 301 or 401 is wonderful and the fact that both models can be fully re-furbished is a bonus. SME can obviously sort the arm out (go for the 12" option if you can accommodate it) and sensibly shelled and cartridged, it should be fine I think.

Sorry to go on so. I do think a call to Loricraft would be in order to get some prices and genuine knowledge, rather than opinions from people such as me...:)

17-08-2009, 10:02
Some excellent points in both posts Dave , albee them strangely similar :)

Quality Vintage equipment can bring you superb sound/pound performance when acquired at the right price .
However once forum driven fever has driven prices way up especially on Ebay and Good Vintage equipment is approaching the same price strata as Superb Later production one owner equipment the situation is perhaps a little less clear cut .
Dave's deck comparison is a good one , much can be said for other Vintage Feeding Frenzy ,often driven from the Far East , eg 3500+ for a pair of Leak 12.1's thats One owner AirTight 211 money or Ortofon RMG309 sometimes costing more than a brand new with warranty Ortofon RS-309S :scratch:

17-08-2009, 10:12
P.S. I've just read on Vinyl Engine that the Slate Deck people may no longer be trading.....

P.P.S. - Tatty 401's may be quite cheap as they're not in mint condition. They can always be re-sprayed and new knobs and trim supplied and fitted (the trim plate is being re-manufactured I believe). Being a sixties kid, I love the 401 styling and wish the one I was *given* twenty years ago could be located and put into use again (the friend whom I asked to store it for me has an "audio museum" both out and in boxes and I fear it's got lost under piles of unloved Naim and Isobariks :D

17-08-2009, 16:57
Thanks for all the info, perhaps i will just wait till one comes along at the right price and just be content with what i have got for now,( i do know another man with a NOS 401 in a box though) it seems like i could end up with a load of grief and endless fettling bill, theres always a Michell :eyebrows: