Another item that no record listening person should be without is a brush for “dusting” the record. Don’t confuse this with cleaning a record, they are two entirely separate things. Pay no attention to what the package says as they all either insinuate or directly say “record cleaner” or “record cleaning brush” or any similar statement. The fact is that these “brushes” will not clean your records nor are they designed to do so. In fact, the worst thing you could do is use one of these “brushes” on a dirty record.
The brushes I am talking about here are for “dusting” clean records before and / or after play to get the surface dust that settles on the record (and in the grooves) as its out of its protective sleeve.
There are many brushes out there for dusting records. Back in the day there was the Discwasher brush. It used to come with a bottle of “cleaner” and one would place a few drops on the brush and then brush the record once around. It was never known and still isn’t what exactly was in that fluid. It could have been nothing more than water, we really don’t know. That method is really called moist or wet dusting. It also came in a kit form with all kinds of other goodies for record care. One kit even included a Zerostat gun which I will talk about in a later article. Moist dusting (done properly), works quite well especially in dry environments or dry weather such as during cold months. The whole trick is to not “wet” the record. You simply use just enough fluid (distilled water does the trick) to pick up the dust and surface contaminants instead of brush them around and have the record dry in seconds.
Then there is dry dusting, which can be done with a Discwasher type brush or today with a carbon fiber brush. There is a plethora of carbon fiber brushes out there these days and you might be thinking you can just pick up any one of them and be done. Believe it or not, all carbon fiber brushes are not created equal. I’ve tried a number of them and some of them I found to be too harsh and not really effective. The carbon fiber brushes generally come in two forms, one is the straight double row form and the other is two rows of carbon fiber bristles with a velvet pad between the two rows, more commonly known as the Hunt Brush which is the leading make.
One should never use the straight two-row CF brushes with water or anything else. They are strictly for dry use. The way I use them is as follows:
Either start the record turning or turn by hand.
Hold the brush lightly at a very slight angle with the grooves, you do not want to push down on the brush or anything aggressive. Then let the brush just ride along for no more than two revolutions then gently slide the brush off the outer edge. Some folks like to slide the brush to the center spindle, that works too except your not removing the offending dust with that direction. I prefer to slide to the outer edge.
As for what two-row CF brush I prefer: I personally like the Audioquest brush, it’s soft and well made which greatly reduces the possibility of scratching your records. That’s the key, you want the brush soft. As for cost, all CF brushes are pretty much the same.
The Hunt type brush I mentioned previously is also good. One pretty much uses it the same way as the two-row CF brush except instead of holding it at an angle, one holds it so that it’s straight up and down parallel with the grooves on the record. The advantage to the Hunt style brush is more surface (and two different kinds) to pick up dust. I have not tried this, but it may be that one can also use this type of brush for moist dusting by putting some light moisture (again, distilled water works) on the velvet in the middle. There are two “hunt” brushes I am aware of and the Hunt brush itself and SleeveCity has an exact duplicate of the Hunt Brush.
Oh, if your thinking of either placing the record on a vacuum RCM or using some modified vacuum hose to pick the dust up off the record that way..PLEASE DON’T do that! Not only will you potentially scratch the record, but you’ll create enough static electricity to power a small town and you would not want to drop your needle onto that either, it could blow the cartridge.