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How were acetates made at Sun?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:17 am

Can someone explain the basic process in so far as how Elvis' acetates were made at Sun (I mean technicly speaking)? How did the songs get transfered to the acetate discs?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:26 am

Paul -

I'm no expert on this, but I know the cutting machine produced the disc 'live' as the performer sang.

There was no tape copy.

In 1953, Marion Keisker, on hearing Elvis' voice, quickly found a reel of tape, inserted it in a recorder, and caught the last part of My Happiness and all of That's When Your Heartaches Begin so she could play them to Sam Phillips later.

Otherwise Elvis would have walked out with the only copy.

Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:30 am

ColinB wrote:Paul -

I'm no expert on this, but I know the cutting machine produced the disc 'live' as the performer sang.

There was no tape copy.

In 1953, Marion Keisker, on hearing Elvis' voice, quickly found a reel of tape, inserted it in a recorder, and caught the last part of My Happiness and all of That's When Your Heartaches Begin so she could play them to Sam Phillips later.

Otherwise Elvis would have walked out with the only copy.


So a tape copy of My Happiness and That's WHen Your Heartaches Begin existed at one point? I never knew that! Cool... I wonder if they might still exist in that form somewhere? I thought the acetates of those 2 songs were all that ever existed.

Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:38 am

Paul -

That was Marion's version of events.

She had a pretty good recollection of things, better than Sam's.

She played the recording to Sam, but it's unlikely it survived !

Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:42 am

ColinB wrote:Paul -

That was Marion's version of events.

She had a pretty good recollection of things, better than Sam's.

She played the recording to Sam, but it's unlikely it survived !


That's fascinating. I learn something new here every day. :)

Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:28 am

Acetates can be made from either tape or direct (live).

They cannot be duplicated, so for example, if Sam wanted to send out ten copies onacetate of "my baby's Gone" then he would have to cut each disc seperately in real time. Quite an exercise.

Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:45 am

thers a photo of the acetate cutter in a photo with e scotty and bill in the studio put it up here if somebody has it.

Sat Feb 25, 2006 12:34 pm

KiwiAlan wrote:Acetates can be made from either tape or direct (live).


Well, the question was specifically about how Elvis' acetates were done.

No tape was used at The Memphis Recording Service when they cut their acetates for the paying public.

[But see my previous post about Marion Keisker]

Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:39 pm

ColinB wrote:
KiwiAlan wrote:Acetates can be made from either tape or direct (live).


Well, the question was specifically about how Elvis' acetates were done.

No tape was used at The Memphis Recording Service when they cut their acetates for the paying public.

[But see my previous post about Marion Keisker]


True; but I had no idea they could be cut from tapes, so just because that particular answer wasn't Elvis related doesn't mean I didn't find that quite interesting. :-)