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My first Garrard 301 with 12 inch SME 3012 tonearm

When you begin searching for a second hand Garrard 301 you start something from which you have no idea how long itís going to take you. Searching for Garrard 301 itself is a difficult job, finding a nice and technical good condition one is even harder.

After searching for almost 4 months I finally found one, very near to my own hometown, the owner was willing to sell the Garrard 301 to me for a good price so the deal was made. At that time I only knew that it was running (accurate) at the speed you choose it to run. If it was running without to much rumble etc was at that time not possible to apprehend. The photo show the Garrard how I got it at the first time.

Further I was able to get the right information, template and manual for a very cheap price, namely someone, give it to me


Second challenge I had was finding a nice tone arm for the turntable to make is a good combination; another 3 months went by as I run into a beautiful SME 3012 arm. A once I a life time change to buy an SME 3012 in such a good condition as it was.

Everything was there, detachable head shell, silicone bath and everything else, the case and manual where also present. So at that time nearly 8 months further I had found the main parts I needed to build my dream vintage turntable.

First thing I started looking for where ideas for a solid console to give a turntable like this the housing it deserve, a nice looking one and also one on which the SME 3102 could get enough room the serve the turntable.


On the internet you are able to find enough ideas and when I found one that seemed to be good enough for me I started building. From solid 35 mm thick MDF I started building my sub chassis. The following 2 pictures show you, I hope, the way it was built.


The black material on top is a damping material to decouple the top board from the rest of the sub chassis. Solid build with a separate part for the tone arm. The top board is also made of 35 mm thick MDF the bottom board is made of 25 mm MDF. When I was building this console I was thinking a lot how I am going to build and paint the outside of the console. But first a I did a general test with only the sub chassis to see if the design did what it had to do.


Now it starts to look like a real turntable. And to my surprise it also sounds, with only the sub chassis, as a real good one too. At that time I was quite happy with the result. Believe me it was a really big project for me, my second turntable. The first one I built was a Thorens TD 150    with a project 9 tone arm and Goldring Eroica cartridge. This one is still running in my home office and it performs very well. Now I had to start thinking about the paint color for the top board and the finish for the rest of the console.

After a long hard think about this I decided that the top color should be dark red and the console should be made of  light colored wood. A month later I had a disappointing experience with a local carpenter, he promised me to make the outside for the console, It should be ready within 1 week. Finally it took more than 4 weeks before he delivered the outside. And when I dropped by to collect it, I was very disappointed it wasnít what I had in my mind. So I had to search for another carpenter whom had the right skills to build what I want. Finally I found one, a sculpture / carpenter with the right skills to build conform my specification.

I think there are some things you are able to do yourself, and other things like building a nice console around the sub frame that is a job for the specialist.  So when you start a project like this know what you can do yourself and calculate the right amount of money for the things you will leave to the real specialist.

Having said this you can imagine that I also would leave the paint job to a real specialist.   Although it's hard to find a good specialist who is willing to do a one-time job for you.  Most of those companies are specialized in doing great numbers of paint jobs and not a single item, it will be related to the price you have to pay.

Lucky I was able to find a real good company, and they where willing to do this one-time job for me at a reasonable price. The result is below here on the last picture. And, of great importance, the turntable sounds as it should. 

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