That last micro cartridge adjustment

Anyone else get real frustrated with that last final adjustment needed to get your cartridge spot on? I'm afraid to touch anything once I get it real close because I make it worse by over correcting. I'm using the Mint LP with VPI TT and arm. Will using washers between the headshell and the cartridge mounting screws help with that final adjustment needed? Any other ideas? Thanks in advance.
Man, I'm with you on that. the washers are a great idea. I just set up a new cartridge and that's is the biggest hassle in the whole process.

I just used my VPI jig this time, but I ordered a new mint LP tractor for it finally. I am looking forward to it and loathing it's arrival at the same time.
Make sure you have really great lighting. That last micro adjustment is well worth it. Be patient. You can do it!
my new cartridge is a Grado, and the stylus is so far under the cartridge body, and there is so little space between the record surface and the cartridge, how do I see to get the lines right?

Anyone used a MintLP or WallyTractor with a Grado cartridge (wood bodied)??/
Hello Markpao,
Forgive me if I'm missing something, but I don't understand the need of washers, and what you are trying to accomplish with them? VTA adjustment, or Azimuth? Isn't there other ways to fine tune such with your tonearm?

I'd assume disconnecting the cartridge "after" your hard earned work of alignment will be definitely counter productive.

Macdad, Yes, it is a bugger, and I'd assume cartridges like the Dyna Karat, with it's ultra short cantilever are a real "joy" to align.

Hopefully, you also ordered the 10X "Lupe" as they call it, with the Mint Protractor, I did find this tool quite useful, as its plastic housing is removeable, thus letting you get closer to the stylus. This is the hard part, you must have the steadiness, and precision of a micro-surgeon, and due to the short depth of field, getting close can be hazardous, in that you'll bump the cartridge flying across the protractor-platter.

You definitely need good lighting that you can easily position at various angles, this will be a tremendous aid. I found my Littlite, with 18" flexible Gooseneck indispensible for such use.

I found the kitchen table a good work surface, in that while sitting, I was right at the comfortable level I needed to be, to get right down there at the Stylus-Protractor interface. Comfort will also be paramount, because you will be doing this alignment for a good length of time.

After close overhang adjustment, one then must align the cantilever, and this is where the MintLP device really shines, but while doing those minute adjustments of zenith angle of the cantilever, one can again lose correct overhang. One key is the exact, precise preliminary tightening of the Cartridge Body to headshell, so that you can make these very minor adjustments, without continuing to lose them.

I did also find the small lit magnifier that Yip sells to be an aid as well, but if you didn't order such from him, one can commonly find these at Wally World for about $4-$5.

The more optical, and lighting aids you have, all the better. Hope this helps. Mark
Markd51, Sorry for not clarifying why I mentioned the washers. Specifically, I'm having problems with the cartridge alignment at the null points and the effective length. When I get one spot on, the other one moves. I can't tell you how many times I've made that "last final adjustment" only to make it worse instead of better. Very frustrating. It almost seams that the heads on the cartridge screws might be a tad too small for the elongated headshell slots in my VPI JMW9. So maybe tightening down on the screws might possibly be causing the screw heads to "dig in" a bit causing the cartridge to "travel" slightly when you don't really want it to? I can't say for sure this is happening, just a hunch. And yes, I really don't want to back off the screws after all that long hard work just to "try" the washers but I will if I have to. It's soooo close now but I know it can be better and it's killing me.
If your description of this issue is correct, it sounds like your assumed pivot-to-spindle distance is off.

The answer to your question is "yes".

Washers between the headshell and screw heads provide several benefits:

1. they reduce damage to the headshell from the spinning screw heads;

2. they stop the screws digging into the headshell and moving your setup, as you suggested;

3. they spread the load over a wider area, which provides a more stable connection.

Nylon washers work okay but they can muddy the sound a bit. Metal washers work better and sound cleaner/tighter.

You spent $100 on a protractor to optimize results. It'd be silly to take shortcuts on the installation - sorry.
Nrenter, I had a few other cartridges that I aligned prior to this one and don't recall having this problem (to this extent anyway) with the others. I will recheck that distance though and thanks for the heads up. Thats is one area I never did recheck.

Doug, You make excellent reasons for using washers. Thank you. Now I know that I "have to" back off the screws I will. I would never think to take short cuts, I just didn't want to take that route if some of you more experienced fellows thought it was a waste of time.

Anyone know where I can get the appropriate washers that I need? Looks like I need something with a very small hole but overall diameter large enough to go over the full width of the elongated headshell slots.