How to Play Vinyl Backwards on a Record Player

By Charlotte Johnson
The needle that reads the grooves in a record is referred to as a stylus.

Playing a record backward to hear supposedly "hidden" lyrics has been a phenomenon since the 1960s. If you reverse the direction of a specific songs on certain vinyl records, you may or may not be able to hear various phrases. Some phrases are the result of sounds that naturally come together when speech is reversed. In other instances, messages have been purposefully recorded over soundtracks in a studio technique referred to as "backmasking." You can listen for yourself by following a few simple tips.

Place the record on the turntable.

Lower the stylus onto the record as you normally would.

Place one or more fingers on the paper label at the center of the record and turn the record in the opposite direction.

Adjust your speed as necessary to hear the record more clearly.

Tip

Turn the record backward at a steady pace to get the most accurate listening experience.

Warning

Forcing a record backward has the potential to damage your record and your stylus. The safest way to do this is to use a DJ turntable that has the option of turning the table in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

About the Author

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.