Capitol Records dead wax?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Pokerek, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Pokerek

    Pokerek Member Thread Starter

    The Czech Republic
    Can someone help me and explain some of the deadwax marks on Capitol LPs? I am collecting Frank Sinatra LPs, but whenever I look at their deadwax I seem to be a little confused.

    Let's make "Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!!" an example. The deadwax on side A says W1-1491-D3 1 ✲ 1S.

    Now, I suspect, that the "W1-1491" part is the catalogue number, and the "1" after the "W" suggests, that this is the A side. I also suspect, that "1 ✲" part might be linked to the pressing plant where the LP was... well... pressed. But what does the "D3" and "1S" mean? Especially since the "1S" isn't etched on the B side.

    I have also seen etches like "N4" etc. instead of "D3"

    If anyone actually knows what is meant by these deadwax etchings, I would really appreciate a good explanation.

  2. This is a very common, but excellent, question and easily answered through multiple articles. The deadwax often reveals a record's pedigree. Record companies, like Capitol, RCA, A&M and Atlantic make it easy. Here's an article:
    Matrix Numbers: decoding the dead wax
    BrentB likes this.
  3. Pokerek

    Pokerek Member Thread Starter

    The Czech Republic
    Many thanks! Do you also have any articles, that would specifically be about the "pedigrees" of Capitol?
    Also, do you have any idea what the before-mentioned "1S" means?
  4. The "D" pressings used original tapes and were pressed on West Coast, The "N" pressings MOSTLY used tape copies and pressed on east coast(New York).

    Anytime I see "1s" type printing I associate it with RCA. I know it is only true sometimes. 1s with RCA meant first pressing.

    Lots of Capitol info in the Music Forum because our host mastered MANY Capitol recordings, and also there are Capitol Wonderkids who posted many Sinatra, ect threads with just the info you seek.

    Search Function is your friend.

    Here is one search result:

    Search Results for Query: capitol Sinatra recordings | Steve Hoffman Music Forums

    Read everthing posted by MLutthans and MMM.....and Bob F and of course our host in the many threads.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
    Bob F likes this.
  5. Here's another general list of the deadwax markings identifying U.S. record pressing plants:
    US pressing plant stamps and other identifiers

    As far as the "1S" on RCA pressings, that meant stamper 1. Capitol often followed RCA's methods, and just because it is on the Capitol record label doesn't mean that it was pressed by Capitol. Especially if it is a record club pressing. If they had their own pressing plants, they often pressed their own club editions and the deadwax markings can help identify that. With Capitol records, if they don't have one of their recognized markings in the deadwax, they were pressed elsewhere. All the matrix numbers may be similarly stamped for each different pressing, because the lacquers all came from the same source. Often, the individual pressing plants make their own stampers, adding their own mark to the deadwax.
  6. Pokerek

    Pokerek Member Thread Starter

    The Czech Republic
    Well, that is some useful info indeed. Nevertheless, I have seen some vinyls pressed in Scranton, which is in Pennsylvania (which I would consider being on the East Coast) that too have the "D" etched into the matrix instead of the "N". So what I should take from this, is that vinyls with a "D" are pressed from the original audio tapes and the "N" are from copied ones, but the letters don't seem to be particularly exclusive to a single US Coast?

    Also, what do the numbers after the "Ds and Ns" mean? Usually, one side has an etching that says something like "D4" and the other has "D6", what's up with that?

    Thank you very much :)

  7. D-1= first lacquer/first pressing, D2 second....D3 third. ect.

    If you see a mixed set of numbers, then two different sets of metal parts were used to press it.

    D= master tapes were used wherever pressed
    N= tape copies wherever pressed(mostly)

    And if you see a lp pressed other than California or NY, then it was a hot seller/continuous seller and pressed wherever to get product out to the stores.( My memory is a bit fuzzy, and Scranton may have been a main pressing plant for Capitol)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  8. Skip And Slide

    Skip And Slide New Member

    United States
    Some of mine have these:
    D1’’ then something like #2, what do those mean?

  9. a D1 repress
  10. Lowrider75

    Lowrider75 Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, PA
    Using the term "first lacquer" does that mean the first stamper?

    Isn't it true that a 1st stamper/1st pressing in the dead wax is no indication of where in the production run a certain disc was pressed? IOW, D1 could be an early pressing or a late pressing in the life of said stamper.
    So, it's possible for an early pressing from the 2nd stamper to be of higher physical quality than the last records from the 1st stamper.

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