Can You Skip Songs on Vinyl Records? 5 Easy Steps to Do It!

Published Categorized as Vinyl 101

Are you getting impatient with an album and simply want to skip forward to your favorite track? Would you like to start mixing songs together to produce something in the vein of a DJ set? Can you skip songs on vinyl records? Why would you? Why not?

Then step forth as we explain why and how you might go about skipping through a record to a particular track.

Can You Skip Songs On Vinyl Records?

Can You Skip Songs on a Vinyl Record?

The simple answer is: yes, you very much can. In today’s day and age, it is all too common for a listener not to have the patience to make it through the entire length of an album. In such an instance – and if the listener so requires – it is indeed technically possible for this listener to skip forward to a preferred track and elide the supposedly laborious task of listening to an entire album.

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Now, you might not be entirely adept at it the first time but do have patience, at least in this regard. It is useful to know the different types of records that a record player is tasked with playing, lest you make a mistake in the process.

These are usually designated by speed, the two most common of which are 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm records. The former usually contains longer form releases and recordings such as might be found on albums, while the latter is more often reserved for singles, holding either one or two tracks per side.

How Do You Skip Songs on a Vinyl Record?

For those who have decided that they wish to step forth past the point of no return, where they will skip tracks to their desired track and claim dominance over their record collection, laid out below is a tutorial on how to materially skip forth to this track.

  1. Release the needle – this may not be as relevant to your cause, as there are some record players that do not hold the parts of a turntable down in this way. This action is usually to protect the record’s surface if it is kept on the turntable platter during transit.
  2. Remove the protective casing on the needle – seeing as these needles are made from precious materials like diamond and sapphire. They must be protected at all costs. For this reason, needles are often also protected with some casing.
  3. Push the needle toward the record – holding the needle between your index finger and thumb, lift it up, and get a feel for it before you do anything else.
  4. Lift the needle above the point – find the part of the record that contains the song you are seeking to skip to by using the track listing on the record label or on the record sleeve. Hover the needle above this beginning point, usually indicated by a gap in otherwise-regular indentations.
  5. Lower the needle onto the target – slowly and carefully lower the needle onto the point you have chosen out on the record’s face, and after a second or so, you should begin to hear the chosen song kick in. Enjoy!

Can You Fast Forward a Vinyl Record?

Sadly this is a phenomenon reserved for other mediums. While this is often thought to be an exclusively digital ability, what else are cassettes good for if not for their ability to fast-forward?

Try to make a record fast forward, and very often, the record skips before the desired track begins. No, a record must be played at the intended speed. Being an inherently physical medium, records must adhere to their prescribed speeds, lest they sound all wrong. If this is something that you desire, then go right on ahead, but proceed with caution.

As already alluded to above, the needles on a record player can be incredibly fragile, so you will likely want to treat them with a little more care than suddenly accelerating the flow of activity that they are tasked to bear.

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In much the same way that a warped record can cause a record to start skipping, a recording surface can cause the needle itself a level of discomfort if you are not careful. Ensuring your equipment lasts as long as possible really is not as difficult as you might at first expect.

Can You Play Specific Songs on a Vinyl Record?

Indeed, you can. As we have already stated above, you can indeed skip to specific songs on a record – even the previous song if you really feel like it. In fact, skipping songs is one of the key parts of being a DJ. Where would a world-renowned techno DJ like, say, Jeff Mills be without his signature art of skipping tracks of his own choosing?

So, in this way, your desire to skip tracks has been very much validated by the course of popular music history. The sound quality of such a selection will very much depend on your own personal taste. There has, after all, been a plethora of DJs in the past that has lost their audience after playing the wrong song at the wrong time (or indeed the right song at the wrong time).

Of course, as we have already expressed above, this process requires at least a somewhat steady, as you are going to need to get at least a little hands-on with the needle. This physicality is somewhat reduced when using a semi-automatic or manual turntable as these turntables tend to involve an auto-cueing mechanism that allows you to raise the needle from the record at any time without doing any damage to the record itself.

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The key thing here is to be as careful as possible so that you do not have to replace any of your equipment anytime soon.

How Do You Know Where a Song Starts on Vinyl?

This can take a little bit of practice, especially if you are new to record collecting. The difficulty of this comes from the fact that the grooves are so small and that they are all the same color, meaning that you often need to angle the record toward a light source in order to even begin searching for the right point upon which to place the needle.

This difficulty is compounded even more when the color of the record is different from the usual black. This is especially prevalent in transparent records, which seem to elide the careful eye’s abilities to discern which track is which even more. The industrial hip-hop band Death Grips play on this phenomenon repeatedly, pressing all of their records onto transparent vinyl as part of their ever-perverse sadomasochistic relationship with their fanbase.

Final Tones

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you have now found your mojo and are feeling able to skip forward to your favorite song once and for all. Godspeed!

FAQs Can You Skip Songs on Vinyl

Are vinyl records supposed to skip?

No, they are not. What kind of a format would exist to purposefully skip the media which is imprinted upon it? What kind of format that does the above would go more or less extinct and then have a sudden revival in this century? No, no, records are not meant to skip. If yours are skipping, then there is likely something wrong with the record itself or the record player. You can diagnose these things for yourself nowadays thanks to the internet, though do not be afraid to reach out down below.

Can you stop a vinyl mid-song?

Indeed, you can. It sure is an archaic format, but it wouldn’t be much good if you couldn’t stop it when you would like to. There are countless situations that might arise to distract you or otherwise prevent you from finishing a particular song or album. These situations nowadays do not prove an issue, for we can simply press the pause button and proceed with our business. The same is more or less true with records, though unless yours has an auto-cue mechanism, you are going to struggle with resuming exactly where you left off.

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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