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Building The Ultimate Jukebox; Pt 1

In the days of IPods, MP3 players and all manner of fit-in-your-pocket, "music on the go" devices, why on earth would anyone want to build a freestanding jukebox - which, by definition, is almost a piece of furniture?

By Ross Tester

That, Little Adam, is not just another story: it’s the whole story! Apart from the "theft-ability" of small music devices (and that is rife!), there are times when they just don’t cut it. For instance, at a party where guests want to choose which tracks they want to hear next.

Ummm . . . that sounds like a jukebox (in the old style!).

Click for larger image
Sorry to disappoint but this is NOT the jukebox we are describing. This is one of those beautiful old Wurlitzers, in this case an 1100 - as we say, all lights and chrome. This one plays 78RPM recordings - you can clearly see the changing mechanism and the stack of discs through the glass.

The word "jukebox" certainly evokes different things to different people, depending, to a large extent, on their age. For those of us fortunate(?) enough to be around in the swinging ’60s (and earlier), it conjures up images of a mighty Wurlitzer; a large, almost art-deco device with lots of chrome and flashing coloured lights, pushbuttons and of course the coin slot to eat your money. In the middle, a mechanical monstrosity selected 45RPM or even 78RPM records (remember them?) from a revolving platter or stack, according to the buttons pressed, placed them on the turntable then dropped (literally!) the pickup arm onto the surface
. . . and they played that track (for your two bob[two shillings, or 20c]).

You can still find jukeboxes of this type in old-style cafes and the like and in most cases, they still work after all these years. Of course, 45 and 78RPM records have long since gone the way of the Dodo but many now operate with CDs in exactly the same way. Well, maybe not exactly but close enough.

Speaking of CDs, that’s what most of today’s teens and 20-somethings have only ever known. Sure, they’ve seen LP records in garage sales and bargain stores. Some might have even seen 45s and 78s. But very few would have a turntable to play them on!

And their idea of a jukebox is a device which may or may not have the flashing lights – but it still has a coin slot (invariably these days costing you a couple of dollars!) and (usually) pushbutton track selectors.

Many of these jukeboxes don’t have any mechanical section showing – often because there isn’t one. If actual CDs are used at all (and that is diminishing), they are part of a CD stacker which may work much like the old style record selectors – but you don’t normally see it.

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