Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Reel Deal!

You never know exactly what you'll find at a yard sale. Usually, the stuff is not too wonderful. After all, how many Trivial Pursuit games with pieces missing does one really need? Still, every once in a while you stumble into something like I did this past weekend. You see, for a very low price I picked up these:

Yep, 17 reel to reel tapes of some great music! Phil, the guy I bought them from, said that he joined a Columbia "tape of the month club" back in the early 1970's and he had been dragging them around ever since...even though his TEAC tape machine had long since died and been sold off.

For the young whipper-snappers out there, reel to reel four tracks were the state of the art in musical reproduction in the 1960's and 1970's. The sound quality was actually better than a vinyl LP, and you didn't have any snaps and pops to worry about! They were the king of the home hi-fi until compact discs dethroned them in the early 1980's. However, many folks still think a reel to reel tape sounds better than a CD.

And by the way, I just happen to have this...

...and even though she needs a bit of service (who wouldn't after almost 50 years?) she will soon be up and playing my new fantastic collection!

So if you drive by my house and the windows are rattling a bit, don't worry. I'm just spinning my reels!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!


  1. Great tape finds, Stu!

    My dad has the exact same reel-to-reel player you have, and I have fond memories of hours of listening pleasure while I was growing up. We often had music playing in the house, and a lot of it came out of this machine.

    To this day, my parents only have two pre-recorded reel-to-reel albums - "Heads Up!" by the Baja Marimba Band and a recording of Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" (which I love for its Disneyland connection as well as the music) - but my dad recorded multiple stacks of records on 7-inch reels at 3¾ in/s, which gave us hours of music without having to change or clean a record.

    When my dad was in Vietnam, he would record taped letters to send home to my mom and baby Chuck, and to cram more audio on a single tape he would record Side A & B on the left channel, then record Side A & B on the right channel, effectively doubling the recording length of the tape. You do have to remember to adjust the "speaker" knob to all left or all right first or its completely unintelligible.

    I recall, er, "borrowing" it (his hi-fi was just sitting on a shelf in the family room but hadn't been hooked up since we'd moved into the house, and, well...) and attaching it to my own stereo when I was in junior high. I got to enjoy many hours of listening pleasure all over again.

    I currently have my parents' reel-to-reel collection, although they still have the tape deck. That's a disconnect I need to fix.

    1. Great memories, Chuck! That's really cool about the tapes from your dad and how he figured out how to double the length! We never had a reel to reel at home, although I had friends that did. It always seemed so fancy that I was sure I'd neved own one, lol! I'm looking forward to powering it up and listening to this collection!

  2. I've still got a reel to reel and a couple of tapes as well.


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