Pick Date: 6/25/13
Road Trip. This of course is for a 45 jukebox, a Rockola 470.
Flashback to the Star Wars roadtrip back in October 2009. While on that road trip the seller had a nice arcade and something I have never seen before in an arcade, a 45 jukebox. A 45 record
is a small vinyl record with one song on the frontside and another song on the backside. That is 2 songs per record. If you are an audiophile then vinyl is it. Vinyl is rich, deep sounding, analog and true to the original
recording. Actually vinyl is making a comeback with a small selection of newer releases. Seriously, google it. Anyways, I have seen plenty of ugly jukeboxes that look more like furniture pieces or something just bizarre.
Aside from the classic (and expensive) bubbler model, most other vinyl jukeboxes are just ugly. That's what I thought anyways, until I walked into this guys arcade in Minnesota (again see Star Wars road trip). He had this
cool retro 45 jukebox from Rockola. I liked it, but I was there to buy a Star Wars arcade, my grail of arcade machines.
Now fast forward to June 2013. I found a Funhouse pinball on Craigslist so I immediately put up my Terminator 2 game for sale to fund the purchase. Slackers bought my Terminator 2 game but in the process
the Funhouse pinball sold. Next I found a broken Whirlwind pinball for sale on Craigslist on the cheap. Called the guy, arranged the pickup and was on my way down the road. The guy called me when I was on my way
and said someone offered him double the money to cancel my sale. That was low, really, really low. By now, I'm getting a little turned off on trying to get a pinball and I am now down a Terminator 2 game. During my Craigslist
searches I happened to come across several jukeboxes for sale. Ugly, yes they were all ugly and overpriced. The only ad that had a low price on it had no pictures, just a model number. It was also listed as broken. I looked up
the model number and can you even guess what I saw? The exact same gorgeous model of a jukebox that Star Wars guy in Minnesota had back in 2009.
I called the jukebox seller and asked him if he could send me pictures. He was an old man and couldn't, he didn't have a camera. I asked him if it was in good condition and he said yes. I was going to have to take his word on it.
I asked him why he was selling it and he said he just retired, was selling his house and possessions and moving to Branson. Since the jukebox was broken and huge he didn't want to bother with it. My next question to the old man
almost made my heart sink. I asked him if it was in the garage, the first floor of the house, or in a walkout basement. He said it was none of those. I would have to bring some help and I had to carry it up the stairs out of his basement, no walk-out.
Shoot. That's not good. That thing has to be heavy, and it was. By luck I happened to catch my friend Danny on Facebook and off work. He was close to the seller so I called him and asked him if he could do me a favor and help me retrieve the jukebox
out of the basement. Danny agreed without hesitation. Now that's an awesome friend, let me tell you. I loaded up the trailer and took a little road trip to pick up Danny first, then to the sellers house. When I got to the sellers house and went into the basement I saw the jukebox for the first time.
It was in amazing condition for being 36 years old. The old man said he bought it 19 years ago, brought it into the basement and it has sat there ever since. He wasn't lying as there was a tax sticker on the back from 1994. That's why it was in such
good condition. The next part was the sticky part. Not only was this thing in the basement but the stairwell was extremely narrow and the landing was at a 90 angle. That means we would have to get the jukebox nearly vertical, turn it around on the landing
and then carry it up the narrow stairwell. Ouch. This thing weighed every bit of 350 pounds. I looked it up. Danny and I struggled with the jukebox but to our amazing Hercules strength we managed to manhandle that huge hunk of metal and carry it up the
stairs with no dolly. We loaded it up, I thanked Danny, dropped him off and headed home.
At home I was hosting 2 British soccer coaches so one of them helped me unload the jukebox off the trailer. I got it inside and started to troubleshoot the jukebox over the next several weeks. With much research and a manual, I managed to find a lot of
things wrong with the jukebox which I fixed up. The needle was bad, the left audio channel was out, several selections wouldn't pick up and play, the light selector was showing the wrong records selected, the gripper arm was misaligned, the needle
brush was missing, the motor grommets were rotted, the main fluorescent bulb was out and 20 tiny lamps were out. Eventually I managed to fix every single problem and the jukebox is now rocking out. Not only that, but I added several modifications to it.
The jukebox now works on freeplay. I hooked up additional external speakers to it. Finally a remote control on/off, cancel and volume box was added. I also added cool LED backlight strip behind the jukebox for effect. I love this jukebox. It looks good,
it sounds good, and it's totally retro. I can't begin to tell you how good vinyl alone sounds. We're talking analog versus digital folks. Your speakers and your eardrums don't work in digital, they work in analog. Only makes sense to play analog music, don't you think?
This jukebox will grace the arcade for the rest of my life. Different arcade machines will come and go, but this one will always be there. Until next time,
I'm going to rock out to some vintage vinyl down in the Vintage Vault Arcade.
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