JUKEBOX

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Hi. this guide is written from experience, (Not qualification.)
(First of all be wary of silver age jukeboxes on ebay starting at 99p and on for only one day and asking you to contact them via e mail, it is a SCAM! )        Hi, if you are thinking of buying  jukebox, it can be a good investment, especially  a vinyl playing one. I don't have anything to do with cd playing one's. Prices vary quite a  lot depending on the make model and year. The first jukebox I had was a 1969 Wurlitzer Lyric F, lovely little jukebox, I say little, looks small would  take up just as much room as a Rowe AMI JAL, as there is only a couple of inches difference in the  width the JAL is taller though. The Wurlitzer  held fifty records, didn't take long till I realized it was not enough, I don't understand why most people I talk to would like to have a Wurlitzer above everything else. Maybe  it's because it's the one most people have heard of. Seeburg where the first company to build jukeboxes, and are one of the best.  They nearly put the other jukebox manufacturers out of business in the 50s. the ultimate jukebox is the Seeburg V and VL 200 from 1955-56, followed by the AMI Continental. I  would put Rockola third followed by Wurlitzer.. lot of people say they would love a jukebox but have not got the room. but you get a lot more pleasure out of a jukebox than a chest of drawers. If you get yourself a jukebox and it is your first one, do not attempt any repairs without getting the manual for the model you have and reading it.

A lot of the earlier jukes 1940s and 50s and up to the early 1960's can be a bit out of some  people's price range if they are in very good condition or have been restored. of course everybody would prefer a jukebox with a visible play mechanisim. The last AMI with a vislble  mech was the Rowe AMI JAL and JEL stereo round  produced in 1962-1963, first jukebox produced by Rowe AMI after Rowe took over AMI in 1962. And are becoming very collectable . followed by the JBM Tropicana in 1964 - diplomat  1965 - Bandstand 1966 etc, I have restored six of these Rowe AMI JAL  jukeboxes for my own use, and three for other people, they are one of my favourites not because they are the most reliable jukebox because they are not, no jukebox is ,  ( jukeboxes need to be used, don't leave them dormant in a shed or somewhere for months on end, or longer, then expect everything to be working fine when you switch it back on, chances are it won't)  no 30yr or 40yr 50+ year old jukebox is totally reliable, even if they have been restored, they all have little hiccups every now and again. but can be sorted with a little no how.  the valve amplifiers on these models can be costly to rebuild. but you can get your jukebox playing again while waiting for your amp to be fixed by fitting a seperates amplifier  mainly Rowe Ami , other jukes not so easy. like the highly rated teac ah 300 or 500i amplifier, which are compact and give a really clear crisp sound. not the same sound as the valve amplifiers, but still a very nice sound. But be sure to put the right speaker wires to the right terminals on the amp, as the speaker wires  on the jukebox are coloured different than standard hi fi speaker cable,  any advice on this please contact me.

I fitted a Teac AH-500i to one of my JALs not because the valve amp was shot, it isn't, because I had rebuilt it. but have left the teac amp in situ for now, it's different being able to adjust the volume with a remote control on a 1963 jukebox. When fitting a seperates amplifier you lose the mute switch operation which is in the original amp, which means your cartridge is live all the time like a record player, also if you connect an I pod or a cd player to the teac amp you can play your cds through the jukebox or listen to the radio if you fit the receiver as well.  But don't go cutting hole's in your jukebox to fit these.  Also keep the original amplifier as without it will de value your jukebox.

When looking for a jukebox you will come across certain ads which I have had to laugh at as they will say working jukebox all lights up but has a selection problem or no sound etc, well the truth is it does not work. you do not want to be paying a few hundred pounds for a oversized sitting room lamp. With me a jukebox is a nostalgia thing as I was born in 1955. the sound of vinyl played on a jukebox is just great! of course a jukebox only sounds as good as the condition of the record it's playing. Records are still easy to come by at boot sales, charity shops and Ebay.
My views on where to situate your jukebox is not in your kitchen and not in your conservatory your living room or games room are the best places where there is less chance of condensation and is dry and warm. if you are thinking of buying a none working jukebox you are better off buying one that has just been laid up for a lot of years rather than buying an unfinished project, an unfinished project usually means someone has tried to fix it who knows nothing about how to fix it and has actually made things worse, (unless it is from a dealer or engineer who just has not the time or has no interest in that particular jukebox.) otherwise it would not be unfinished. And it can be very costly to have a jukebox engineer to fix your juke if you can find one. also better to view before you buy, depending on what jukebox you are buying and how much you are paying, if it is a silver age juke 50s Seeburg ,AMI , Rock-ola  etc it is often worth the risk. I have paid over £3,000 before for a juke which was not in  working order and in a very sorry state, But  it being a 1955 SeeburgV200  was worth the cost, After complete restoration
  is now worth £8,000 +  Some state the jukebox is complete, this is not always the case, also if the seller says they do not have the keys to open the jukebox, and you are going to pay quite a bit of money, then ask to have the locks drilled out so you can check inside to make sure it is complete, the locks would have to drilled out at some point anyway. I have added a couple of photo's of before and after of the last JAL I bought. If anyone has one of these jukeboxes, ie 1960s to early seventies Rowe AMI or similar and has a problem please get in touch I may be able to help.

I have a few spares for  Rowe Ami's and seeburgs.  Tip,, if you have bought yourself a seeburg, post 1955, Do not load records that have been dinked and had an insert put in, I have had to go and fix more than one seeburg that stopped putting the record on the turntable properly, reason being that nothing works perfectly everytime, and the record clamp spindle can sometimes push the record insert out when clamping the record, this tends to fall down onto the lift arm, and stops it raising the record onto the play position, in which case it is just a matter of picking it out. Better than a jukebox engineer charging you £80 + for the service. So best to remove the insert before you load the record. 
 The Seeburg scans twice picks up nothing scenario, Well it is caused by several reasons and is a process of elimination to cure the fault. starting with the easy options. Older Seeburgs with the plunger type contact block, check the wires have not broke which are connected to the plungers. This is usually the case if you have just lost the A sides or the B sides. If these are ok then do the battery test. Using a AA battery pull the RCA tormat plug from the pulse amp  (older valve type receivers) touch the POS end of the battery to the centre tip of the RCA while earthing  the NEG end to the receiver. Replace the RCA plug in the pulse amplifier and scan the mech.  IT should trip and play at every selection. If it does not then you have a read out or trip circuit problem. (fault most likely lies in the receiver) If it does then you have write in problem. ( fault most likely lies in pricing unit or electrical selector or write in circuit in receiver) 

If buying a USA import Seeburg it runs on  60 hertz. After fitting your 110v transformer the jukebox will not play at the right speed, you will have fit a frequency converter. Or change the  large drive cog and the worm drive shaft to the motor, from a UK Seeburg mech. UK or 50 hertz drive cogs have a yellow dot on the right hand side. Not an easy job but better than £200 plus for a converter which are not always reliable. Also while doing this job it would be a good idea to check the turntable bearings for any stiffness etc, and change the turntable drive rubbers as they will most likely be hard or perished, which will affect the quality of sound. Also if fitting new after market T needles (ie) the grey one's. The tracking force of these needles is a lot lighter than the originals So the tracking force will need to be adjusted accordingly.

 My next project a 1964 Rowe Ami Tropicana, which was rather  shot to say the least . anyway I decided to save it from the grave, so got it working, fitted teac amplifier for unlimited music playback. then decided to give it a total makeover converting it to visual mechanisim. pictures of work done so far will be at bottom of the page. if it will let me load them. Tropicana is now finished and in the house but not a juke I will be keeping, will prob end up on Ebay. Just finished Rowe Ami JAL number 8, at bottom of page. if you buy a jukebox, then my advice is to spend a little bit more money on a manual for the jukebox it can save you a lot of money in the long run . jukebox engineers are not cheap. the manual will tell you all adjustments and what everything does and how it works. and usually has a fault finding section. Tip for Rowe Ami's, you have made a selection, the buttons latch down but no further action, then pat the buttons next to the ones stuck down, this will  release them, then switch off the machine, then switch it back on again.  Reasons for this happening, one being that the search unit has jammed ( hung up,  pin pusher solenoid stuck)  another is bad connection on search unit from electrical selector. If they latch down but don't release but the rest of they cycle continues, ie plays the record,  Once again pat the buttons next to them to release,  latch solenoid needs attention. or if a 1970s Rowe Ami then relay contacts on the button bank may need cleaning.( any jam of any sort the jukebox should be switched off until jam is fixed,) or smoke gets in your eyes.


Poor quality sound can be down to a number of things, you should start at the cheap end ie the stylus then the cartridge working your way down tone arm connections to the amplifier, check for badly seated valves, Any tinkering inside the amplifier should be left to someone who has the know how.   The volume control can also have an adverse affect on sound quality If you get a raspy sound through the speakers when you turn it, It will need a clean with contact cleaner.  also shot speakers.  
From my experience with jukeboxes they all suffer little heart attacks now and again, they are old machines and a lot have had a hard life in pubs and clubs but you can maintain them yourself especially the older electro mechanical one's if you get yourself a manual and read it 20 times unless you have plenty of money and are not bothered how much it will cost you to get your juke fixed. I am not a jukebox engineer it is just a hobby of mine, but I do know what some of them charged 10 years ago, (£50 an hour plus mileage charge) and spend four hours on a one hour job. So £30 for a manual can be an investment just like your jukebox. It would be a good idea if you joined one of the many jukebox forums, there are some great guys on phonoland to help with any problems you may have.


1963 Rowe Ami JAL, before restoration.
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1963 Rowe AMI JAL Stereo round after total makover.
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1963 Rowe AMI JEL Stereo round 200. Before restoration.
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1963 Rowe AMI JEL after themed make over. (Tamla Motown,)
1963 Rowe AMI JEL. Tamla Motown Theme.
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1963 Rowe AMI JEL, Tamla Motown Theme. Did this one for a friend of mine.
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Just starting this 1963 ROWE AMI JEL. will add photo's as it progresses.
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rowe ami jel
Progress so far, being restored and themed as per owners instructions.
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ROWE AMI JEL
Being themed as per STAX record company.
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Amplifiers have been rebuilt, button bank stripped, repaired, power supply rebuilt, mechanism overhauled, search unit repaired, New cartridge, stylus, castors, lighting tubes and fittings, wiring etc, 80 percent rechromed. and new paint and vinyl.
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Will add final photo when graphics have been applied.
Coca Cola JEL 1963
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FORGOT TO PUT THIS ON EARLIER, IT IS THE STAX THEMED JUKEBOX, (THE BLACK AND YELLOW ONE) AS IT WAS WHEN PURCHASED BY THE OWNER.
1963 JAL 200, THIS ONE IS BEING DONE FOR JUST JUKIN, IN Co DURHAM
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FINNISHED AND COLLECTED.
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Produced at the height of seeburgs detroit influenced silver age juke's, one of the most sought after Seeburgs.
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Latest addition, 1958 Seeburg 201 (Tail Light.) One of the most sought after Seeburgs.
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1959 AMI K 200, Latest edition to the living room, Had to part with one of my Rowe Ami JALS. Not allowed to many jukes in the living room, don't know why, maybe it's a woman thing.
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1964 Rowe Ami Tropicana. Undergoing complete overhaul and cosmetic job.
Title board will be mounted above and be curved, bit like a continental. when I get round to making one.
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The only Tropicana with  visual display that I know of.
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GETTING THERE, THE TITLE CARD FRONT GLASS AND FRAME ARE FROM A SEEBURG SHOWCASE,,THE TITLE CARD HOLDER BOX IS CURVED AT THE REAR TO BE ABLE TO FIT THE 10 TITLE CARD HOLDERS. STILL A LOT OF LITTLE COSMETIC JOBS TO DO.  NEXT PHOTO WILL BE OF COMPLETED JUKEBOX, 
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Well, Finished apart from another 90 title strips to type out, (worst job of all)
Done.
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In the house, wife love's it, cos she has choice of 100 records plus plays her cd's or connect an I pod, pity it's not  staying. lol.
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Another 1963 JAL Stereo round getting a new lease of life.
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Will add more photo's as it progresses.
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Not to sure about it at the moment tried to go for 60s fashion styling, will wait till it's finished then get some opinions, maybe I'll change it.
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WILL ADD ONE MORE PHOTO WHEN IT IS COMPLETED.
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Seeburg V200 1955 First 200 play Jukebox.
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Seeburg V200 First 200 play Jukebox.
Latest edition to my collection. Was in a right old mess when I got it
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They can always be brought back to life.
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Next in line to be revived, Another 1963 Rowe Ami Jal stereo round 200. Has a Jel front door and not a Jal.

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