Garrard turntables are a UK based manufacturer. They were a relatively unexciting company, producing decent turntables for the masses for many years. Garrard turntables at the time were not as well regarded as say, the Linn LP12s or the Pink Triangles, but their best turntables were regarded as excellent affordable options. While I hesitate to call them junk, there are many Garrard turntables that are not worth the pain of restoring them. There’s no point ending up with a mediocre table when you could have spent a hundred dollars more and got a nice entry level audiophile turntable.
A couple of Garrard turntables have been elevated to cult status. These are the Garrard 301 and Garrard 401. Other Garrard turntables are worthwhile if found in good working order, but unless you have experience restoring vintage turntables, the cost of a restoration will outweigh the benefits a good Garrard can provide. The 301 and 401 are not dissimilar to 1200 series Dual turntables in that they are sturdy, well built idler drive turntables.
History of Garrard Turntables
Garrard and Company was the first iteration of the company that would go on to manufacture Garrard turntables. They were a company that were requested to manufacture range finders for the First World War. Following the war, the Garrard Engineering and Manufacturing Company was set up with view to producing consumer products in a post-war era. Garrard initially started manufactured spring wound motors for a growing gramophone industry, which were great successes due to their comparative silence to other options of the era. In the late 1920s, Garrard began producing electric motors and by 1930, their very first complete gramaphone. Sales picked up as technology did during the 1930s, with the invention of amplifiers helping things move along at a nice pace. After production ceased during World War II, the Garrard 301 was invented in 1954 and hailed as a triumph of engineering. The Garrard 401 was produced in 1965 to replace the 401 (it never quite achieved this feat, according to the opinions of some).
Garrard Turntables Today
Garrard turntables are cult icons that are still being refurbished today. The two premier companies are Loricraft, who are based in England, and Shindo, who are based in Japan. They refurbish old 301s and 401s for the discerning customers of today. Loricraft have even developed the Garrard 501, which is based on the earlier Garrard turntables but with their perceived flaws removed.
Garrard turntables are a great option for the discerning consumer with a bit of money to throw around and a preference for vintage turntables.