Those of you who have been around a while may know what the gun looking thing is. The Zerostat has been around for at least 3 decades or more. I consider it almost an essential tool in the bag if you have static electricity issues in your environment from time to time.
I say “almost” essential because these are a bit pricey at $100. That is especially true when you realize that back in the day they were half that or less. Then again back then one could do a bit with $50. There is also another tool that deals with static charge on records almost equally well that is well south of the cost of a Zerostat, called a Thunderon brush.
I have both on my bag of tricks and well give you a bit of info here.
The Zerostat Gun
This piezoelectric device works by basically bombarding the object that is charged (vinyl records in this case) with ions of the opposite charge, thus neutralizing the object so that is does not attract particles in the air to itself.
Have you ever gone to lift a record off a turntable after play only to fight with it to release it from the platter mat? Have you ever taken a record out of the sleeve on a dry day and noticed a slight crackle sound or dust sticking to it like glue? Well, that’s where this “anti-static” gun comes in. You hold it about 8 to 10 inches from the record and S-L-O-W-L-Y squeeze the trigger then point it away and release. If you hear any clicking when you do so it means you are pulling the trigger too fast. (This will not only be ineffective, but shorten the life of the unit as it will wear down the rheostat inside). It may take more than once to release the charge from the record.
*Be careful not to point the Zerostat at your cartridge or any other electronics and also do not use it on people, it can cause injury.
The Thunderon Brush
This is an alternative to the Zerostat and far less expensive. Thunderon is actually a soft conductive filament. On the brush it is combined with goat hair (which is actually soft and naturally static charge resistant). I was amazed at how effective this brush is. I was skeptical when I purchased it even after seeing a demo video. That is, until I tried it myself. This thing really works and works good. You use it by holding the record in one hand with your fingers on the label and the very outside edge of the record. You then gently brush one half of one side in one direction once and then the other half the same way and no more static charge. Don’t believe that? Try this: find a couple of pieces of Styrofoam such as packing peanuts then take a record you suspect or you know is charged with static electricity, hold it at a vertical angle and toss a piece of the Styrofoam at it, it will cling. Take the Styrofoam off and use the brush as instructed. Then hold the record again as before and toss the Styrofoam at it, it should just slide right off.
Both products work well, however the only difference is that the Thunderon brush is not very effective while the record is on the platter, but the Zerostat is in that case. Either one of these products are good to have in your vinyl tool chest.