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Clearaudio Tangent rail replacement

November 1, 2010

Saving myself at least a thousand Euro

Shit happens, and when it does, it'll make you feel like shit. That's exactly how I felt when for some inexplicable reason, my linear tracking tonearm met a near fatal accident while I was taking it out of storage.

The Clearaudio Tangent took a backseat as the Graham 2.2 Ceramic has been serving full-time with the Transfiguration Axia MC cartridge on my Clearaudio Champion Magnum turntable. However, recent changes to my system is revealing the incompatibility between the Graham and Axia once more. So I decided to get the trusty Tangent out of hibernation, then it happened...

It fell and the thin wire serving as the rail hit something and causes it to have a few bumps. At first thought, I was thankful it didn't snap. But the damage has been inflicted. There are bumps at around 1/3 towards the outer (record's inner) track.

I tried to fix it but it definitely needs to be replaced. A quick call from my friendly distributor was met with some positive thoughts- I can trade it in for the newer incarnation of the Tangent. I lusted at the thought, and then I realized that the current version of the Tangent linear tracking tonearm is more than twice as much as this previous generation. That somehow doused cold water on the feeling. But everytime I playe a record that I hear a bit of distortion when the wheels are inside the damaged area of the rail, the lusting for a replacement comes back.

Recently, I thought that applying more tension would somehow minimize the bumps, not! It snapped. Not being able to play my records would mean like not being able to poo. The thought was nightmarish. Then out of nowhere, I felt a desire, an urge, to fix it myself.

After serious investigation on the construction of the Clearaudio Tangent, I was telling myself that I should kicked myself long before.

The replacement rail is a No.3 guitar string. It has the same characteristic as the original rail, but a bit thinner in diameter. Now on to the surgery.

Here is the photo of the Tangent upside down, to reveal the wire rail that snapped.

Broken Rail

It takes just twelve screws to dismantle the entire Tangent, thought I can't unscrew the lifter from the rod which sandwiches the acrylic garnish. Anyway, not a big deal as I will be able to access the tensioner where the string is attached.


After removing the wire rail, I fixed one end of the guitar string on the tensioner block using the locking screw. After checking that it is tight and will not slip, I assembled the tonearm back.

I fixed the other end of the guitar string and fixed it using the other locking screw. Then I adjusted then tensioner block for the proper tension of the string.

Here's the Tangent after the repair. I'm very pleased with my work, it looks like new again.


This shot is from the back, wich clearly shows the new rail.

Properly tensioned

Finally, up close.

New rail from guitar string No.3

After soldering back the wires and installing the wand, I mounted it back to the Champion Magnum.

Closer look at new rail

The Clearaudio Tangent linear tracking tonearm at full service, again.

Clearaudio Tangent linear tracking tonearm