Vinyl Pressing at Tuff Gong Studios

As House of Marley introduces our very first turntable, our vision is to bridge the gap between generations and hear music the way our elders might have experienced the same riddims.

Our recent trip to Kingston, Jamaica found us at the Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong Studios. Bob Marley created Tuff Gong as a vision to create a space for inspiring artists and music lovers, and today it stands to promote what Bob had in mind years ago.

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One of the world’s few remaining pressing plants, Tuff Gong now serves as an educational museum where visitors can learn about the same equipment Bob Marley used to print records on. Specifically: Survival, Uprising and Confrontation were all pressed at Tuff Gong’s record plant. “Bob was very unique so yes, he used to press his own vinyls by obtaining the necessary equipment and learning all of the procedures” Desmond, an employee and tour guide at Tuff Gong, explained to us as we walk the grounds of the Bob Marley Museum.

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We asked Desmond to give us a walk through on how vinyls are made. “It starts with the consistency of the acid tape and the dat tape. While the dat tape is spinning, a hot needle positions itself over the tape and begins to create a sound groove. The completed product is the stamper, which is made from the acid tape. It’s then filled with a special dye moulding for both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ side of the record. Once this is done, the vinyl pebbles are made into vinyl putty with heat. The press operator places the putty in between side ‘A’ and ‘B’ of the record. Now we’re onto the dye mold, flattening and spreading the material. We trim the edges, punch the holes in it, and of course – we recycle the edges.”

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“The most expensive part of the process would have to be the raw materials. Preparing the materials for the process is the most time consuming, but after that it takes roughly 1 minute and 45 seconds to make a record”, Desmond explains

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When asked about the most popular type of vinyl, it’s all about the 45s! Easy to go to hit the road, whereas the LPs were and are, entire albums. We’re happy to know that the quality is still the same when you compare the two, according to Desmond; “in my opinion and what I’ve seen, they have the same quality, the process is the same – there is just more putty or less putty when it comes to production”.

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Big up Tuff Gong and all of the folks at The Bob Marley Museum who took care of us when we came through to check out the space and learn about vinyl creation.

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Inspired by vinyl?

You can purchase the Stir It Up Turntable here.