Record weight for Garrard 301

I've long thought a record weight would be beneficial on my 301 but worried about a record weight deforming the flatness of an LP by pressing the record's center into the underlying dish of my 301's original platter. Should I be concerned? Perhaps this is an insignificant worry?

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I would not be concerned I use a record weight and have no ill effects just better focus and more detail. The concave is rather mild on the Gerrard's and when you listening to both sides it evens out. 

I use a Project record puck (weight) on my Garrard 301, Its a little on the heavy side (1.7 lbs), but seems to work fine with out any issues yet. I was concerned about spindle bearing wear but see no degradation over time and no issues with speed control. At well under $100 its a nice simple weight that has a noticeable improvement in my system and comes in an attractive wood box. 

I'm sure there are better ones out there and I really don't think you need that much weight but it defiantly helps.   

Whatever bend you get will flex right back, unless you heat the record in the oven first. So don't do that.

I've tried several versions of clamps. I prefer clamps by far over weights. But you are right to worry about the platter being dished out. They do that because the label area is thicker. But then if clamped hard enough into the dish it will actually raise up the edge of the record, when what you want is the opposite, pushed down.

The solution is a small o-ring or washer fit over the spindle and thick enough to raise the record just a tiny bit above the platter. Then the clamp will slightly bend the record down onto the platter. Done right not only will the record lay flat it will actually press out and flatten slightly warped records. Or even not so slightly. It all depends on the clamp and the washer.

Mine is custom and you can make one too, or hunt around for one with these important features. Reflex clamps grip any spindle. Threaded clamps if your spindle is threaded. Either one is fine. DYODD.
Mitchell make exactly that clamp Miller, used it for years.
Comes with two different thickness felt washers to place under the record first.
Works a treat and I think was about $45 or so online.
I am still using it now on my 401.
Garrard plinths are evenly dished from the edge to the center so a record clamp-weight actually pushes the record evenly onto the whole plinth and doesn't lift the edges. if you put something under the center to lift it, it will only cause voids in the middle of the record as just the edges and center is suspended. I also found a ring had no effect on my table in conjunction to the clamp-weight in the center. 

This concave platter helps hold the record evenly across the whole surface. so you do not need to raise the center of a record on a Garrard 301-401 table when using a clamp-weight.  think of it as pushing a disc into a coned surface the coned surface causes the disc to cone as well and in the process causes a greater contact  area in the disc to cone interface. of course this is a very small amounts on your table but the physics are the same. 

I would also recommend a good mat and ditch the old rubber Garrard mat. I tried felt, leather, gunmetal-copper (best but expensive as ^%#) and Herbies way better mat (that's what I use now). the Herbies has a cut out for the label if that concerns you. 

Agreed Glenn.
Forgot to mention I have a hybrid cork and lead mat that has a cutout for the label.
That is then where my felt washer goes, then record, then clamp.
I’m using a VPI HRX weight on my 301 to nice effect and it looks terrific.
Garrard 301 dealers are using some huge and heavy record weights on it, look at Audio Grail. But I think this one is great and so elegant.
I really prefer to avoid using any weight at all if possible, it can only add stress and possible wear to a bearing assembly that was maybe not designed for much extra weight than the platter.