Tonearm Ideas for Garrard 301 Rebuild

Hi all, i have a hammertone grease bearing Garrard 301 that i'm looking to give the royal treatment. I also need a plinth, tonearm, and cartridge. I know i'm asking for the world here but really just looking for opinions based on other's experiences.

Plinth: I'm thinking about going with Woodsong Audio...i like their build philosophy and many have commented on their excellent quality and sound characteristics. Plus their beauty is the best I've seen. I was initially looking at LignoLab but I'm not sold on the looks and the cost is extremely high.

Tonearm: This is a tough one and where i think I'll need the most advice...I think I want a 12", high mass arm since all signs seem to point to that being the best combo for the 301. The one's i've had interest in are Schick, Artemis/Schroeder TA-1L, SME 312s, and Origin Live Encounter Mk3c. The prices go all over the place on this one. The Schick has my eye due to price but also for the reason it was pretty much built for the 301 and has also received great reviews on the 301 itself. Does anyone have experience with these arms on a 301? Any other contenders I should consider?

Cartridge: I think this depends on the arm i go with but I'm thinking about starting with the Denon 103R in a Soundsmith body. Again this is a highly debateable subject and probably not worth discussing until i find the rest of the pieces first.

Rebuild: Ok this is another area i could use some help. Woodsong does a full rebuild as well but it's pricey. Are there any other rebuilders out there that have a rep for good quality 301 rebuild work? I'd like to do a motor strip/cleaning, linkage cleaning/replating and have any parts that need it be replaced or is this easy enough i can do it myself with a service manual and patience?

Rest of my system is:
Shindo Masseto (Pre)
Shindo Cortese (Amp)
Transporter (Digital Source)
Metrum Octave (DAC)

Thanks in advance...
I use a Thomas Schick tonearm with a Garrard 401. I have several tonearms and have owned dozens over the years. The Schick is all you need, plus it's simple, direct, consistent. No fussing once it's set up. It looks the part, too.

I use Zu103, Denon 103FL, Ortofon SPU with this table/tonearm, to magnificent effect. I have other turntables and cartridges in routine use, as well. The Garrard/Schick with these cartridges produces a vivid, driving sound that is unfailingly involving and musical.

The 401/Schick arre mouted in a Loricraft-style plinth constructed of solid teak blocks precisely cut and glued to form the plinth. The whole assembly is on mag-lev feet. It's quiet and can be played at very high volume despite its necessary location near a speaker.

There is also an excellent restorer in the UK. The name escapes me at the moment but you can find them on eBay. However, they are not going to be any less expensive than Woodsong. If you're interested in a full tear-down and rebuild that includes replating, bite the bullet and use Woodsong. I was lucky enough to get a virtually-NOS unit from the UK a couple of years ago.

Consider a bearing upgrade.

You listed several great tonearms in your post, as alternatives to the Schick. The SME is me least favorite among them. I like simple, correct, direct and the Schick fills the bill, plus has excellent bearings.

The 12" version of the Jelco might also be considered. I have the 9" version of the 750 and it is quite good.

I have a Thorens TD-124 that I purchased a new plinth for (off of Ebay). I searched for a vintage arm that matched the esthetics of the TT and couldn't find one in my price range so I got the Jelco 750DL 12" arm. I removed the arm lift set the antiskating to zero and mounted a Denon DL-103R with extended finger lift. What I ended up with is a arm that is comparable to the vintage arms at half the cost. Having said that, if money isn't a concideration like it was with me. I would get the Schick..
If you really want to optimize for the Denon 103R (a good idea, I think) then I'd recommend that you go for a higher mass tonearm. I've seen a number of people get OK results with medium-mass arms by adding heavier headshells and/or heavier counterweights. But really the 103R sings extremely well with something like a Fidelity Research FR-64s, which is a well-built, high-precision heavyweight arm. Of course if you decide you want higher compliance cartridges, the FR-64s won't be your best companion. But really with the Denon it is a match made in heaven!

Hi, I am just in the finishing stages of my 401 rebuild. I had my plinth built for me by the maker of my custom speaker enclosures. It is the first plinth built by them, and although it's nice, Chris Harban of Woodsong does an incredible job on his plinths, but they are also more expensive.

For a tonearm, I bought, coincidentally, from Chris Harban, a Dynavector DV 501. I then had it rewired with teflon dialectric silver. I installed my old standby, a Dynavector XX2MKII cartrdge. I'm just now starting to get it dialed in, but it really sounds good, to my ears.

I did the restoration myself, with all new springs, spindle bearings, grommets, etc. I stripped the table down, and bead blasted the top plate, and then had it powder coated a gloss black, which I prefer to the drab beige color of the original.

If you are a bit handy with tools, this can be a good DIY project. Otherwise, I think I would go with Woodsong, I found Chris to be meticulous in what he does, and the quality of the person he is. Also, if anything comes up, if you need parts or there's something else you need, he's right here in the good ole USA.

Best regards,
The Schick is the obvious choice for a modern 12" arm with the 103R. Not only does it work great with the 103R, but the Schick is also a great match with the Miyajima cartridges. I have a Miyajima mono on my Schick right now.

If you wanted a less massive arm to match with other cartridges, I also like the Moerch DP-6 in the 12" Red wand version. It matches well to vintage tables as well as modern.
Phil- Might that restorer in the UK be called HOLY GRAIL ?
Thanks all for the replies...I ended up pulling the trigger on a Schick with upgraded Finewire C37+cryo cable and Eichmann plugs. So we can check that off the list. I'm also working with Chris of Woodsong audio now on a rebuild + plinth. The piece I have is a hammertone as mentioned but to be honest i'm not a huge fan of the look. Is it a pain to repaint and what does this do to the sonics of the piece and/or resale value?

So to summarize...

Tonearm...check (Schick)
Rebuild...check (Woodsong)
Plinth...check (Woodsong)

Cartridge...oh boy i should probably start a new thread.
Salectric, The Miyajima Shilabe was one of my interests on the cartridge side as well but the A90 sure looks sweet though assuming i can find one reasonably priced. What kind of headshell are you using?

I have 3 headshells I use on the Schick: an Orsonics, Yamamoto HS-1AS ebony, and a Jelco. The Yamamoto is probably my favorite but the wires are so stiff they can make it difficult to get the cartridge aligned.
I am still looking for a Decca International Tone Arm in good condition.
I saw one, however the owner wasn't aware of the jewlled unipivot that had to be raised from it's pivot cup during transport. I could not take a chance hat the jewel was not damaged.
IMO this is the tone arm to beat.
"The piece I have is a hammertone as mentioned but to be honest i'm not a huge fan of the look. Is it a pain to repaint and what does this do to the sonics of the piece and/or resale value?"

It wouldn't affect anything, except the value. It would seriously affect that in a negative way.