Sound Advice: Are fuzzy-sounding Sun 45s the real thing?

By John Tefteller

John Tefteller’s World’s Rarest Records has been buying and selling rare records for 30 years. John Tefteller provided answers for this issue’s installment of Sound Advice:

Question: I recently bought an Elvis Sun 45 original and noticed a fuzzy noise on the record. Alarms went off and I immediately thought [it was a] counterfeit or bootleg, but a couple of years earlier I acquired The Prisonaires Sun 45 and noticed the same fuzzy noise.

Both records were bought from reputable dealers and the labels appear completely original. Is this a common defect in early Sun 45s?

— Don Smith

Answer: Many early Sun label 45s play with a hiss unless played with the proper needle. The grooves were cut “78 style” — they’re meant to be played with a 78 rpm needle, which is larger than a 45 rpm needle. When you play a 78-style groove with a 45-sized needle, it picks up extra noise from the grooves.

So play them with a needle made to play 78s (not those old aluminum “nails” that have ruined millions of 78s!) and they’ll sound fine. The fact that they play this way is an indication that you do have originals.

Question: I just bought Elvis, LSP-1382(e), still sealed. The price guide lists several different prices for this record depending on the color of the label. How do you determine the value of this record if it’s sealed?

— Steve LaVine

Answer: This one is easy. The “e” in the numbers means it is a re-issue and of little value. Had it been an original Elvis RCA 1382 still sealed in a loose-fit baggy, you would be looking at $1,000 or more.

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