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Dinking and Dinkers for the Jukebox explained.

Including reference to the common problem of wow and flutter.

Dinking is the process of enlarging the hole in the middle of the record so that it can be played in a Jukebox. Why is this necessary ? In the U.S.A they had a slightly different system to us when it came to playing vinyl. Originally when the first 45rpm records were produced they had a large hole made in the centre to designate the speed as 45. All the 45rpm Jukeboxes (which was the medium where most people would hear music) were designed to work with the large hole, so it became the standard in America.

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A small number of Jukeboxes had the option to play both 7 inch 45rpm vinyl and the 7 inch 33-1/3rd rpm EP (extended play), although the same diameter as the "45" the EP center hole would always be small . The twin speed machines used the different holes sizes to choose at which speed the record should be played, large hole at 45 rpm, small at 33 1/3rd.

Twelve inch LP's (long play) albums had a small hole for 33 1/3rd rpm, as did the earlier and original 78 rpm 10 inch records for the automatic phonographs that evolved into the Jukebox. The early record decks that plugged into your radio were made to promote the large hole and designed to take a stack of the 7inch discs and auto-changed them. Of course the 45rpm Jukeboxes were all made to accommodate this system being as they were, made in America, by the likes of Wurlitzer, Rock-ola and Seeburg to name just a few.

However and for reasons which are unclear, in the UK we had a system with all solid centres so that we could play any speed on our multi speed, often portable, record decks. Jukebox operators would either dink their own or have them supplied ready dinked.
Records often had pop-out centres making dinking redundant but with reissues and anything past the sixties you will probably find they have solid centres.

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So how do you dink? I am sure that there are many ways but here are just a few I know of.
You could draw a circle with your kid's school compass, then get out your Black and Decker fret saw, I'm sure we've all seen a few records done in this or similar ways. The problem is that the hole must be dead centre unless you are so tuneless that wow and flutter (variations in speed caused by the non central spinning disc) don't matter.

A professional dinking tool is something to search for. Back in the 'old' days such machines were very common as most record stores had one ,tucked away under the counter, and of course in latter years didn't realise what they had and binned them! They are easy and fast to operate so keep looking - it's worth it.

altMost of us lesser mortals have to manage with a hand dinker, a simple device with a centre peg that fits the small hole and an adjustable cutting spike/blade for alternatively scoring both sides of the record until the centre falls out. Just make sure it's set correctly as undersize or oversize holes will render the record as useless.

Typical hand Dinker


If you can't bring yourself to dink your prized records (some record collectors would think this a sin) some Jukebox models, predominantly from NSM can play both dinked and unlinked records or even a mixture of both.
At Jukeboxes Unlimited we can supply you with the multi talented NSM Jukebox in many different styles to protect your valued record collection or just a simple hand dinker to get those centres out!.  
Always try out on a few records you don't like first and as a health precaution always practice "safe dinking" as the cutting tip is sharp!

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Both are available from stock so get along today and get DINKING! or not as the case may be.