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Re: [ARSCLIST] take numbers on emerson records

James, George Dick et al.

Thanks for your help here. Every company is different, but I'm always skeptical that I'm misinterpreting the data if I find too many alternate takes (except Edison). Above about 10% in a given run of 78s like Emerson where I don't know the system used for designating takes, I usually question if what I think are take numbers are stamper numbers or something.

I've never really relied on aural comparison (though it is obvious in some cases, see: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/search.php?queryType=@attr%201=1020&query=cylinder4373&num=1&start=1&sortBy=&sortOrder=id) . I don't trust my ears enough to detect the often slight variations between takes. In the acoustic era it's not exactly like different versions of The Dead doing Dark Star (though many would say these all sound the same too, I suppose), but aural memory is notoriously unreliable.

My method is usually to lay the edge of a piece of paper across the center hole of the disc and mark the beginning and end of the grooves. Then I lay this paper on the other disc and see if they match. Even if one take is only a few seconds shorter or longer it will be obviously different as even a couple of grooves difference is noticable.

I'm sure George's method works too, but the paper and pencil method is very quick and we are essentially measuring the same thing in different ways.


On Jun 19, 2009, at 11:15 AM, James L Wolf wrote:


I've worked a lot with Emersons in the LOC's collection, and while we don't have many duplicates of the same record so that I could aurally compare different takes, I did notice that the matrix information (e.g. 3391-1) was usually matched by the known discographical information. Which, of course, only means that previous discographers have taken that matrix info to be take-number information, but that may count for something.

Furthermore, for the acoustic era I don't see anything odd about one copy have 2 first takes and another having a second/third takes. I've seen similar situations on many labels in the acoustic era; Victor, Columbia, Edison, etc.

Until something definitive comes along saying otherwise, I think it would be safest to assume that the matrix information refers to the take number.

David Seubert <seubert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 6/19/2009 1:42 PM >>>

I'm de-duping a stack of 9" Emerson discs and in the dead wax there is
what appears to be a matrix followed by a take number. However, there
are too many different take numbers for me to believe they are take
numbers. For example, I have one copy of #9118 with 3391-1/3397-1 and
another with 3391-2/3397-3. Are these stampers? Does anybody know how to
distinguish alternate takes on Emerson discs?


David Seubert, Curator
Performing Arts Collection
Davidson Library
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
Tel: 805-893-5444 Fax: 805-893-5749

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