Spiders, adaptors

Peter Gunn: Duane Eddy, His ‘Twangy Guitar’ and The Rebels. US copy, Jamie 1959.

Peter Gunn in the Duane Eddy version (NOT the Henry Mancini version) is the tune that thousands of budding guitarists learned first of all. The illustrated copy has a modern replica sleeve, and a 2012 spider inserted in the American “large hole” centre. It’s like the broom that lasted thirty years. And it’s only had three new heads and two new handles in all that time.

Take A Letter Maria: R.B. Greaves, US copy, ATCO 1969

Take A Letter Maria is a large hole American disc, but instead of a spider, it has a red plastic cone shaped adaptor. I bought that in America, and they’re hard to find in Britain. They are kept with the turntable, not fixed to the disc.

Paranoid: Black Sabbath, Vertigo 1970, large hole
with standard Polygram three prong spider

In the late 60s / early 70s, the Polygram group produced every record with a large hole centre with a three prong spider fitted for the UK

You need spiders for import discs.  Oddly few British turntables ever came with convenient permanent adaptor, the one you just slip over the spindle so you can play large hole discs without a spider. The cheap Sony I use in my office has one, but none of the more esoteric turntables I owned ever thought it worth providing this simple item. The Sony has a convenient dip at the side in which it can be stored. You can buy similar cone-adaptors in the USA.

If you want to buy 45 rpm record adaptors mail order, they are called spiders and in 2012 were only available in yellow. They come from the USA, where yellow was the prevailing colour. There were also aluminium ones which seem to be cemented in.

Gallery of spiders … click to enlarge

There have been various types over the years with the “three bent legs” version being the most prevalent. They used to be very tough, like the six prong British one fitted in the dinked copy of Together in the Gallery.

The thin, easily breakable Polydor / Philips three prong were on sale separately, which is why my Canadian Philles copy of Unchained Melody has one.

In the late 80s / early 90s rush of imported golden oldies, Columbia went to the trouble to supply red spiders to match the label, and these are marked MADE IN THE USA.

Ringo Starr’s Ring O’Records had a reinforced black plastic ring around the outsized centre hole to take the spider in 1977. Cube had similar in 1973. 

Modern solid centres presume that you will be playing many large hole discs, and you will be because many releases are large hole, so they work internationally.

Gallery turntable centres … click to enlarge

This is especially true of Record Store Day releases, and Third Man records releases as they are the most active 45 single label in the USA. The rationale is that while it’s easy to keep a centre adaptor on your turntable for large hole discs, it’s much more difficult to knock out small hole centres, or rather impossible as few if any are now made with press out centres. 

The red dome is the most practical as it guides the disc on, but personally I love the Third Man Records centres.

One issue: In the UK, spiders / adaptors were a disaster on multi-changer record players, as they had a tendency to fall out when the disc dropped. By the time the Polygram decided to go large hole on everything, multi-changers were on the way out.


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