Seeburg Jukebox Buying Guide

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Seeburg Jukebox Buying Guide

Seeburg jukeboxes are one of the most popular models of jukebox available to buy today. Seeburg are considered to be one of the ‘Big Four’ of jukebox manufacturers, and their models can be found in homes, bars and restaurants all across the world. Seeburg are no longer operational as a company, and because of this many of their jukeboxes are considered to be collectors’ items, and are often highly sought after.

Searching for Seeburg jukeboxes on eBay is a great idea, and the site often has both common and rare models at much lower prices than those found in specialist stores and on jukebox distribution websites. eBay has new and used jukeboxes for sale, as well as jukebox parts. This guide shall examine the most well-known Seeburg Jukeboxes, and will detail how to find a desired model on eBay.

Seeburg Jukebox History

Justus P. Seeburg left his native Sweden for America in 1887. Seeburg undertook an apprenticeship at a piano factory in Chicago, and in the years that followed worked for a number of different piano companies. He became very knowledgeable about player pianos and musical devices, and in 1902 he started up his own electric player piano company. Seeburg was very adventurous in designing and building these devices, and experimented with different sounds and instruments. The developments in amplification and the recording process during the 1920’s saw a massive demand in musical devices, and the Seeburg created Audiophone was very successful. The Audiophone was an early version of the jukebox that allowed patrons to choose from one of eight selections.

In 1934, Justus handed over control of the company to his son Marshall, and the younger Seeburg began focussing exclusively on manufacturing jukeboxes. The Chicago Jukebox convention of 1938 was a massive success for the company as they revealed what was then the first light up jukebox, the Symphonola. This device used translucent plastics, plastic panels and bulbs with low wattage to give the impression that the jukebox was glowing. The Symphonola was such a success that rival companies like Wurlizter immediately copied its design and started making their jukeboxes glow too.

The outbreak of World War II saw a drop in jukebox production, and it was not until after the war ended that things changed. The release of the Seeburg M100A, also known as the Selectomatic, in 1948 was a game changer and put the Seeburg Company far ahead of the competition. The standard amount of selections that could be stored in a jukebox was no more than twenty, but the Selectomatic allowed patrons to choose from one hundred.

Innovation in the recording and playback of music led to a drop in jukebox interest, and by the 1980’s the company had shut down production. Today Seeburg jukeboxes are seen as very valuable collectors’ items, due to their part in jukebox history. There are many models available to buy, and prices can greatly differ.

Types of Seeburg Jukebox

There have been over one hundred different Seeburg jukeboxes released over the years. The following are the most popular and are the most recommended for new buyers to search for.

M100A (Selectomatic)

As mentioned above, this jukebox was first released in 1948 and did the seemingly impossible by increasing the total number of selections from 20 to 100. Different versions of the Selectomatic were released annually from 1948 to 1959. This jukebox was popular in households, bars and restaurants and was also used by radio stations across America for broadcasts. The Selectomatic plays 45rpm 7 inch records and uses either an electrical or remote selector to pick the records. These jukeboxes were made from a variety of materials and can have wooden, steel or aluminium finishes. This type of jukebox is very popular with collectors, and there are plenty of models for sale on eBay. In all, around 28,000 versions of this jukebox were created.

HF100G

A very famous and well-loved jukebox, this model can be seen in the opening credits of the popular seventies show, ‘Happy Days’. This model originally came out in 1953 and has become a favourite with collectors in the years since. Around 15,500 of these jukeboxes were manufactured, making them rarer than the Selectomatics. Like the Selectomatics before them, the HF100G could play 100 selections split over 50 records. Buyers can expect to pay more for these than other jukeboxes, and many of the jukeboxes available to buy require some repairs.

220

The Seeburg 1958 220 jukebox is one of the most sought after music devices in the world, as it is the first jukebox manufactured that had stereo capabilities. As with the two above, this jukebox had the ability to play 100 selections from 50 records and will be filled with popular rock and pop from the mid to late 1950’s. This particular model is noted for its strong bass sound.

SMC-1

The SMC-1 was one of the last jukeboxes to be made by the company, and was released in 1978. The design of this jukebox reflects the disco scene of the mid to late 70’s and uses subtle dark colours and a black finish. This jukebox uses 45rpm records and has an excellent sound. Although one of the rare models, many SMC-1s are available at reasonable prices and tend to be in very good condition.

USC2 Firestar

Another model that was manufactured in the 1970’s, the USC2 Firestar plays 45rpm records and has a high volume limit. These jukeboxes sound great playing disco and rock and roll, and used models can be obtained for very reasonable prices.

Repairing the Seeburg Jukebox

As the majority of jukeboxes available to buy on eBay are used, some repairs may be needed to get the jukebox working at full capacity. If thinking about repairing it at home, consider the following.

  • It is recommended that both the original and repair manual be obtained before any work begins. eBay has a large number of these manuals for sale on the website and reading them carefully will save time, money and effort. Also try to purchase the parts manual as this will state what parts are needed for the device.
  • Never plug the jukebox in if the power cord is faulty or showing wirings, as this could cause a fire or electrocution.
  • Early jukeboxes (1930s – 1950s) use simple designs and are usually straightforward to fix. The main problem these devices experience is a part becoming loose. The later designs (1950s onwards) became quite complicated, and it may be safer to have these professionally repaired.
  • eBay has a large number of jukebox parts for sale, so research into exactly what is needed before making a purchase.

Conclusion

Seeburg were one of the most popular jukebox manufacturers in history, and their innovative devices were frequently copied. Today Seeburg are still favoured by collectors due to their playback capabilities and nostalgic values. Seeburg jukeboxes can vary in price, and due to the high amount of models made it is recommended that all buyers spend some time researching into which jukebox would be most fitting. Seeburg jukeboxes are available new and used, but used models may require repairs.

eBay is an ideal place to search for Seeburg jukeboxes, and the site has a great selection at unbeatable prices. Remember to read the item page for information, and contact the seller using the Ask a Question feature if additional details are needed.

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