So, What Was on That Unspooled 8 Track Tape Anyway?

ygBack in late January we posted the photo to the left of a disemboweled 8 track tape to our Facebook page. A customer found the tape at his parents house and sent it in for repair and to have the contents transferred to compact disc. It was a daunting process to repair the tape as the tape was completely outside of the cartridge and everything was in a grocery bag.

With no real idea of where the tape began and quite a bit of knotting, the tape had to be dissected, straightened, respliced numerous times, spooled back onto the cartridge reel and spliced together. The whole process practically had to be completed twice, as the tape was installed backwards the first time – we had a 50% chance of getting it right at that point, and we weren’t very lucky.

So after days of working on it here and there until our repair girl just had to put it down, she finally got it all back together in the right direct. This was a small victory, but now we just needed to transfer the contents to CD. At that point we found that the tape was grabbing on the inside reel’s gaps in the spindle. Several more hours of trial and error using different types of lubricants (many of which we would never recommend that anyone use for home 8 track repair) we finally got the cartridge to play correctly. At that point, all we had to do was transfer the music to compact disc, which after such a long process was quite simple and actually went fine without further issue.

So what was on the tape!?!? The tape contained a home recording of a man playing an electric guitar and a little bit of him singing along. The recording sounded like it was done with his amp just sitting beside a mic and there was quite a bit of feedback and distortion. I had actually forgot about the tape and the post to Facebook about the repair (we were all relieved that the ordeal was over, I guess) until this morning when the customer called. Despite the poor quality of the home recording he seemed very happy with the results. He played it for his mother. The man on the tape was his father, playing and singing in the 1970’s about the time when he first met the customer’s mother. He said his mother cried when she heard the 8 track and that she hadn’t heard her husband’s voice since he died three years ago.

The customer’s call today reminded me of that tape and I thought I’d share it in case anybody had wondered how it all ended up.