analog newbie

i am seriously considering getting into the world of analog playback. right now i lack a phono stage, but will likely purchase the tube stage for my rogue 99 preamp, to avoid the expense of a chasis and phono cables. i want to make sure vinyl is something i will continue to collect before making a real investment.
after the rogue phono stage is bought i will have little budget for a new turntable so i am considering using my fathers kenwood table that dates back to the early 1980's, i know it is operational as i used it at least once when i had a preamp w/ phono stage a few months ago.
a few years ago i replaced the cartridge with a grado model, about $50-60, don't recall what model.
i am concerned about damaging some of my lps, particularly about a dozen or so blues lps that were hard to find (hopkins, sonny terry, brownie mghee, memphis slim, furry lewis, etc) the vinyl seems to be in decent condition and i'd like to keep it that way.
so i figure i should replace the cartridge with a new one at about the same price point since this is no kick-ass table.
what can i do on a tight budget to protect my lps, most of which probably need to be cleaned very well before another playback. i was using the simple discwasher system but i get the feeling this was removing surface dust only, and moving it around more than from the lp surface.
can anyone recommend a handwash regimen, in detail as i am a vinyl neophyte, or some other tried and true lp maintenance system to prolong/preserve lp playback?
or am i simply better off with a cleaning machine? some seem to prefer handwashing for truly dirty lps i think and machines for basic maintenance thereafter, do i have this right?
also, what basic tools/accessories should i have on hand for vinyl playback, now or in the future as my budget allows me to become more and more serious.

down the road, if i find vinyl to be something i enjoy, i currently plan on purchasing a basis/graham combo with a decent cartridge from dynavector, ortofon, etc.
don't use *any* kind of wet-cleaning system without a vacuum. there are those who disagree with me, but it's been my experience that if you wash it without sucking it out, then the dirt just seeps deeper into the grooves and is harder to remove later. get a nitty gritty record cleaner. they're wonderful little machines and they reduce the noise floor on dirty lp's. but, also use them sparingly. the best way to clean an lp is to let the stylus collect the dust, and then to clean it from the stylus.
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I agree with Lazarus, although I have read positive comments about the Disc Doctor products, but I have only tried their stylus cleaner.
You may not get the best results with an old Kenwood, since it is probably a direct drive unit and may have excessive noise, etc. Check out the Musical Fidelity models starting at $300, as well as the models sold used here on Audiogon.
I'm from the old school: liquid Ivory soap applied with a fine sponge then thoroughly rinsed form the record surface. Regarding the Discwasher System, most people do not know how to use it and then blame the tool...I was one of those. Yo should NOT wet the record surface or apply pressure. The fluid's purpose is to moisten the fibers so that they can pick up dust without creating too much static. The pad is rotated to facilitate dust pick up as it is consistently moved in the direction of the arrow. Simple, isn't it?

According to Albertporter, the Nitty Gritty scratches records.

Record wear will depend on two things:

1) Record/stylus hygiene.
2) Proper cartridge mounting and calibration.

Get the tools to do the job right.
nitty gritty does not scratch records unless you mix sand or broken glass into the cleaning solution.

the library of congress uses them to keep their classic vinyl clean. they wouldn't do so if it were scratching them.

besides that, i know from firsthand experience that they don't.

don't use a wet system without a vacuum. you're just moving the dirt from the surface (where it's okay to to have it) into the grooves (where it will make noise).
The best Cleaning system out there is The Disc Doctor.It does not use a vacuum and works great.
So anyone who makes a claim about if you go wet you must vacuum is dead wrong.
The only drawback is you need elbow grease.
That is the problem.Most people want convinience.
Thats why fast food takes like crap.Its convienient so is using a vacuum.Its not the best way but the easy way.
Lazurus28 you will probably walk around your living room for 5 minutes looking for the remote rather than walking up to the tv and changing it without.
Natalie: I also use a vintage record care products with AR record cleaner/conditioner.
From what I've learned it is necessary to clean out the dust first from record, than twist or clap the conditioning brush from the dust, than apply a smallish amount of professional liquid onto the conditioning brush and cover up the record. Massage on the surface along the groves until you see it's already dry and shiny.
Still before placing the stylus on the record I use a sweep brush.
ya know natalie, there may be a better way than a vacuum, but i can't imagine it getting too much cleaner.

turtle wax protects your car a bit better and makes it shinier, but it takes a crapload of work to put it on and buff it off. using a spraywax gives you similar benefits with a fraction of the work.

and i like fast-food. there *is* an art to it.

and lazarus has two a's, not two u's.
Lazarus28 if thats the case then dont make your comment.

The Disc Doctor is the best record cleaner in the market palce and does not require Vacuuming.

Dont pass bad advice.I wont get on you.
I have finally learned how to stirr controversy in this site and not get heat...
in the audio realm there is a lot of room for OPINION. (gasp!)

don't act like you're the be-all end-all expert in an area where opinions vary wildly and you won't *have* to 'get on' anyone. your initial response was curt and rude and you even threw in an insult for good measure. your second made no apologies for the first, with you instead acting as though i were some misbehaving serf whom you graced by coming down off of your throne to set straight. you've never even responded to a post of mine before. you can disagree all you would like. you can believe that i'm the biggest idiot on the face of planet, i don't mind. but to post such an angry response over something so trivial? i've never even spoken to you before.

and we wonder why people view hifi enthusiasts as elitists?!? we can't even stand eachother. just look at the 'high-end speaker for rap music' thread. . . .
I just purchase sealed albums, listen to them 5 times (they sound best the 4th or 5th play) and then throw them away. I'm not wasting my money on fancy cleaning gizmos.
There's no anger on my behalf, man! And controversy is not misbehavior, much less referring to medieval times. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you or anyone in this thread. Why are you so upset?

I just have had a reputation since being in junior high of being able to stirr things up, not get involved and watch...

I did post on that rap high end speakers thread and what happened to me is true.

Regarding your reaction to this whole trivial matter, I have a suggestion that if you follow you'll thank me for the rest of your life: I invite you to live an advanced lifestyle:

the hockey reference was meant to be humorous, as was your post. i'm not at all upset.

and just out of curiosity, do you use one of those personal-coachy-folks? i've heard of 'em, but only in passing on npr. . . .
No, I don't use personal coaching. I have talked to one once and she decided that I did not needed such a service. Some people do need a personal coach and it's a totally valid option to help themselves achieve goals. However, the coach is not going to do the work for you...

I used to work for a non profit environmental organization and before starting the person in charge paid for my first Lifespring course out of his own pocket. He said it would help me become an effective individual, both with myself and others. It did. Go to the website and email me if you have further questions.
regardless of your approach, has anyone determined that cleaning results are better realized if you Zerostat the record first? I've tried it that way & it seems to work better whether I'm brushing off some stray dust or just applying a blast of canned air. Not sure about the effectiveness of pre-stat-ing (vs. not) when using a wet cleaning proceedure however.
hey thanks for the advice for those that posted.
i've decided to take natalie's advice and purchase the disc doctor products. also will pick up the shure stylus gauge as soon as i can.
i decided to leave the auto machines alone for the time being and put the dough i saved towards more vinyl or toward a new table. elbow grease i got in spades.
actually, i don't think i will mind cleaning by hand since this will provide more 'involvement' in my hobby on my weekends. i think it will be like my other hobby, gardening. for me the meditation is as much the garden as the act of gardening.

can anyone recommend good sources for vinyl online?
particular titles/label pressings?
i've found the following:
i am mainly looking for vintage/new blues lps ( memphis slim, lightnin hopkins, albert king, furry lewis, muddy waters, you get the picture)
i need some advice on reputable labels (other than MOFI) pressing vinyl, i don't want shoddy recordings.
i suspect not all 180g lps are cut from the same cloth.

thanks again
All of the above information & recommendations are great! I've used many with fine results. I would like to ad Genuine Gruv Glide to the bunch. Gruv (pronounced groove)Glide is a Stereophile recommended product and it does what is advertised. It completely zaps out static, enhances trackability, and has some cleaning properties. My records really do sound better with Gruv Glide. I get mine from "Music Direct" in the back of Stereophile, "Needle Doctor" also sells it too. Hope this helps.

Happy Listening!
For whatever it's worth, here's how I treat my vinyl. I clean the record with my Nitty Gritty, which I love. I then place the record on my 'table and treat it with Gruv-Glide. I place the record in a new poly lined sleeve (retaining old sleeve if it has text or is collectible). I place the jacket in a resealable cover and put "GG" on the cover in magic marker. This way I've protcted the jacket from further scuffing and only treat each record once with Gruv-Glide. I buy my stuff from The Elusive Disc. This method has worked well for me. The new liner keeps the records clean and the Gruv-Glide keeps the static down. Recleaning is rarely needed.