Jukebox Lettering FAQ

Q: What jukebox models are customizable?

A: There have been hundreds of different makes and models of jukeboxes made over the last 100 years. While older makes and models occasionally featured customizable headers, it appears Seeburg popularized this feature around 1960.

Which models do you make lettering kits for?

Please don’t end your questons with a preposition.
I currently make four reproduction kits:

Type ACK-2 Alphabet Case Kit
(original part no. 509072 )
Seeburg LPC-1
Seeburg LPC-480

Type ACK-3 Alphabet Case Kit
(original part no. 131240)
Seeburg LPC-480

Type RACK-1 Remote Alphabet Kit
(original part no. 509088)
Seeburg SC-1 Consolette
Seeburg APFEA1 “Fleetwood”
Seeburg PFEA1U “Electra”
Seeburg SS160 “Stereo Showcase”
Seeburg LS1 “Spectra”

Type AY Remote Alphabet Kit
(original part no. 485875)
Seeburg AY100, and AY160
Seeburg DS100 and DS160

There are plenty of other makes and models out there with customizable lettering, but I haven’t found good reference material, let me know what you need and I’ll do my best!

I also have a limited collection of original lettering for the LPC and AY, if you just need a couple letters to replace missing original letters. It’s all in the shop, you can order letter by letter.

Q: Which set do I want for my LPC?

A: Both the “ACK” kits are the same spec, the only difference is color. ACK-2 letters are white, ACK-3 are blue.

The LPC-1 manual specifies the white letters, and the blue would be hard to see against the “wood” background.

The LPC-480 manual specified either set. The white letters are hard to see with the power off, but they’ll be clearly visible (in shadow) when the lights are on. The blue letters are clearly visible without the backlight.

I’ve also come across original red lettering in the same style, which isn’t listed in any documentation I can find. Maybe it was intended for the “tangerine” LPC-480 or for a different model. I’m not currently reproducing it, but I have some original red LPC type available here. (Note that it’s a different typeface from the red block letters for the Seeburg AY.) If there’s interest, I can easily make a red LPC reproduction kit.

Q: How long will it take to get my order?

A: Kits listed as “in stock” on the site will ship right away. We ship USPS Priority Mail so your kit should arrive in less than a week. You’ll get a tracking number.

If your kit is out of stock, we should have more within a week or two. If an individual original letter you need is out of stock, it’s unlikely to become available again, unless I find another cache of original lettering.

Q: Does the kit include all the letters and punctuation I need?

A: At the time I designed and manufactured my kits, I had no reference to what was included with the original set. I used a table of American English letter frequency to determine the quantity of letters to make. If, looking at the character list, you see you’d be a letter short, let me know, I can possible spare a letter or two.

It turns out while I added many new characters and symbols to my sets, the only character I didn’t replicate in my first kits was a small “c” for “Mc,” but I’ve added those to the newest runs of LPC and LC-1 kits. The AY and RACK kits include spaces, the ACK kits do not, though I find them unnecessary for any jukebox.

Q: I have a different jukebox, or want an entirely customized header. Can you help me?

A: Probably! If you have samples or any reference of lettering you’d like replicated, contact me! If you can mail a few sample characters with an SASE, I’ll get the specs I need, return them right away, and let you know how much it’d cost to replicate and how long it’d take. I’ve made a few custom headers and it’s a lot of fun, but it’s expensive to design and print one header, contact me if you’d like more info.

Q: $50!? You filthy capitalist! I could buy another LPC-480 for that kinda money!

A: Hey, I paid $60 for a spare jukebox for parts, but I’ve also paid $120 for a needle. Despite being great-looking, fairly-common models from the peak of the British Invasion/Motown era, the Seeburg LPCs and other “console-era” Seeburgs are not wildly popular with collectors. Deep-pocketed boomers want older, visible-mech models for their man-caves. No one else is making these lettering kits, so I made them. I’m not expecting to sell a ton of these, there are only so many of these jukeboxes still out there. So I’m only making a few sets at a time, thus they’re expensive. If you’re a jukebox parts distributor and you think you could sell some, I’d be happy to discuss wholesale/bulk pricing.

I often find myself looking for a goofy part or accessory from some arcane hobby with little hope of finding it, then I’m delighted to find some weirdo hobbyist is cranking them out in their basement. I’m glad to support people like that, I hope you feel the same way.

Also, admit it… you’ve spent $50 on dumber stuff.

Q: Are these perfect reproductions? Are they guaranteed?

A: After much research, it appears the original “kits” were a very large set of letters in a wooden box, targeted at jukebox distributors. You don’t need that many letters to customize one jukebox. I looked at letter frequency charts and designed these kits with all the letters and numbers originally available PLUS extra punctuation, dingbats, musical notes, and mini-words that match the style of the originals.

As far as materials and production, the original letters were screen-printed and trimmed by hand, ours are digitally printed and machine-cut. I used acetate that’s a bit thinner than the original ACK/AY lettering (but the same spec as the RACK lettering) that would work with the printing/cutting equipment. The size, typeface, color, and general look-and-feel is very accurate. The white letters are nearly indistinguishable. The blue letters are printed over an opaque white underprint, so they look different from the back, but once in place, you’d never know it.

They probably won’t look 100% perfect next to original lettering in the same jukebox, if you just need a letter or two to replace lost original letters, check out the NOS individual letters in our shop. Then again, between runs, even the original letters don’t always match up perfectly.

I do guarantee that these letters will fit properly, look great, and serve you well. And I guarantee you’ll enjoy periodically changing the text, and filling that heretofore empty space in your jukebox and your heart.

Q: So, what’s your deal? Are you some kinda jukebox expert?

A: Oh, heck no, I only have one jukebox, an LPC-1 (well, two if you include the one I gutted for spare parts). And while I’ve learned a lot while playing around with this one, you definitely wouldn’t want me digging around inside your machine. I am an experienced graphic designer with a specific interest in the history of typography, printing and design, so I’ve become pretty good at replicating old ephemera. I made the LPC kits based on photos, illustrations, careful measurements, and one single original blue “S” (thanks Michael!) In the meantime, I’ve amassed more original samples and information, and I’m surprised how accurately I copied these pieces with so little info to work with. I think you’ll be impressed, but if you know more than me about this stuff, I’m happy to listen and learn.

Q: Can you recommend a Jukebox repairperson?

A: They’re hard to find, even here in Chicago, the ancestral home of Seeburg, AMI/Rowe, and Rock-ola. There are a few lists online but they’ve been cut-and-pasted over the years and seem somewhat out of date. I called one local number only to be yelled at by a widow who angrily told me she’s still getting a few calls a week, years after her husband passed away. Others have retired, or are so backed up with work, they don’t return calls and emails.

There are a bunch of helpful Facebook groups, Try “Seeburg Jukebox Collectors” and “Jukebox Repair Help” I’d also suggest finding the manuals for your machine! They’re often expensive, even for photocopies, but it’s worth having a complete printed copy. Most jukebox manuals are VERY well-written and include detailed troubleshooting and maintenance info. If you have a decent set of tools, a little mechanical aptitude, and the patience to follow instructions, you might be able to figure it out yourself, or at least get close enough to the problem to ask more informed questions online.

For instance, you’re a lot more likely to find help if you can say “I need my left pulse amp rebuilt” rather than “the electrical thingy on the bottom is making a weird noise.”

I’d also advise you to lurk on the Facebook groups for a while before contacting anyone, you’ll quickly get an idea who knows their stuff and who is full of hot air. I get the impression most good mechanics are busy fixing jukeboxes and not hanging out on facebook insulting each other, but there are some good folks out there who can point you in the right direction. When you do find a good technician, don’t waste their time with vague questions and tire-kicking, and pay them a reasonable rate for their work.

Again though, with the manuals and the right tools, there’s a lot you can do yourself. It’s very rewarding to learn this stuff, and what you learn might end up saving you thousands of bucks on a new clothes dryer or furnace someday.