Author Topic: GE Wildcat  (Read 1587 times)

TC Chris

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GE Wildcat
« on: January 21, 2019, 11:50:48 PM »
Greg's discussion of his GE portables prompted me to extract mine from cold storage in the garage.  It's a GE Wildcat, a plastic-cased portable with a GE changer.  I had posted a photo under "sightings," "Magnavox and RCA" but figured that we've departed from Maggie & RCA with all this GE talk.

After I let it warm up from 6 degrees I plugged it in, put a record on, and waited to see what happened.  Well, the turntable cycled, the record dropped, the arm set down, and sound came out of both speakers.  Not very good sound, but loud enough and equal from both.

Figuring it was probably a bad stylus/good cartridge, I peeked at the needle under a microscope.  It's either (1) just the stub that holds the diamond, or (2) a badly chipped diamond.  In either event, I just ordered up a new stylus.

This GE was purchased on Dec. 19, 1973 in Bay City, MI at Kresge's.  That was from the stylus replacement card that the purchaser filled in,just in case, and left with the other documents inside the unit.  That makes it 45 years old, and running without any service.  Not bad.  The little hang tag boasts 6" speakers, but I'm betting that's the large dimension of an oval.


Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2019, 09:11:07 AM »
It will be interesting to see how it sounds.  I looked on the 'bay the other day and found a couple in different colors than yours.  The Wildcat series appears to be newer/cheaper than the Trimlines.  With the cabinet being plastic, they should be easy to restore cosmetically.  I understand they have a three-speed changer, correct?  We had a lady at our church who put a million miles on a SS Trimline 400 back in the day.
I don't need Google.  My wife says she knows everything.

TC Chris

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2019, 06:57:25 PM »
Clean-up was a breeze--some spray cleaner and a damp sponge, with a small brush for some petrified finger grease.  The changer is 3-speed--you select speed AND record diameter with little knobs.  I'm not sure why they offered 78 when the cartridge has only one stylus.  A microgroove stylus would just rattle around in a standard 78 rpm groove, plus the abrasive filler would grind it away much faster than usual.  Last night I found the 45 spindle--it had fallen out of its holder and was under the changer.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2019, 07:20:38 PM »
Any idea what year your Wildcat was built?
I don't need Google.  My wife says she knows everything.

TC Chris

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2019, 08:25:31 PM »
It was purchased new in December, 1973, so probably that year.

Chris Campbell

electra225

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 08:35:31 PM »
By 1973 not many people were playing 78's.  The high-end turntables were two speed many times.


I see where you posted it was sold in 1973 now.  Sorry for the senior moment.   :-[
I don't need Google.  My wife says she knows everything.

TC Chris

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 10:16:06 PM »
By 1973 not many people were playing 78's.  The high-end turntables were two speed many times.


It's odd that they would provide a 78 rpm option but not a proper stylus.  The right hand and left hand were not communicating at GE.

Chris Campbell

TC Chris

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Re: GE Wildcat
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 11:33:49 PM »
The new stylus arrived in the mail today.  After a few missteps in getting it clipped in properly, I put a junk record on just in case.  Unfortunately, the junk record was a Tiny Tim recording, and he has enough warble and quiver  in his voice to mask any errors in the turntable.  But at least I had sound in both channels.  I found a better record.  It had a bit of warp but sounded much better.  That's a relative term.  This plastic-cased phono may be stereo--two channels--but it ain't high fidelity. 

The changer might do with a bit of maintenance--lube up the idler wheel axle, maybe clean and lube the turntable bearing, and certainly clean up the arm horizontal-plane bearings.  It's a bit stiff laterally.  But it plays now, sound from both channels, and maybe sounding a bit better than I had expected.

Chris Campbell