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Jukes of Stafford - new or beautifully restored Jukeboxes for sale, the only place to call




Jukes of Stafford


Here, Digger talked to Len Beddow at Jukes of Stafford. Len worked for more than thirty years as a Jukebox, pinball and one-armed bandit engineer and supplier. Since he 'retired' fifteen years ago he has been busier then ever, travelling the length and breadth of the UK repairing these classic, rare and valuable Jukeboxes.






Digger: Hello Len. What is your background and can you please tell us how Jukes of Stafford started and how the company has evolved into what it is today?

Len: My relationship with Jukeboxes started back in the sixties. I left a factory job to work as an engineer for a Juke Box company called Music Hire from Leeds. And I worked for them for a couple of years and then started working on various machines. And then doing it for myself. In 1971 I bought a pinball table with another guy and put it into a club and a fortnight later the cash started coming through and I thought that was nice. So we formed our own company and two years later we were established. And so thatís how I got into the Jukebox business. I ran that for nearly thirty years.

Digger: So youíve worked for yourself for most of your life?

Len: Yes. And about fifteen years ago I sold the company to retire and then among other things started to do Jukebox renovations.

Digger: Because itís you passion?

Len: Yes. So I started renovating Jukeboxes here in the workshop at home and then word got out that I repaired Jukeboxes. So I started to travel the country.

Digger: You go to the client?

Len: Yes, I go to them.






Digger: I suppose you have a lot of interesting clients?

Len: Yes, thereís a massive cross-section of people. You wouldnít believe it!

Digger: I suppose some of your clients have those wonderful minimalist warehouses with plain white walls and a Jukebox standing there in all its glory that I've always wanted?

Len: Yes, Iíve been to places like that. From the pop industry, for example, I have serviced Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest's Jukebox Ė heís got one or two Jukeboxes.

Digger: Please tell us more about the Jukeboxes and repair services on offer.

Len: I have sold quite a few this month - we have Rock-Ola Tempos, AMI's, Wurlitzers etc. all from the fifties.

Digger: Are they getting more difficult to source?

Len: They are, yes. Normally they're coming from America, but they are starting to get rare.





Digger: I suppose the Americans are starting to get wise to the fact that even there theyíre running out?

Len: Yes, and also there are American restoration TV programmes so I think theyíre starting to get more of an idea of what theyíre worth. So as a result theyíre less likely to sell them over here.

Digger: Whatís your favourite of the 'big four' - AMIí,s Rock-Olaís, Wurlitzers and Seeburg?

L: I would say the AMI.

Digger: The one I like the best is the unorthodox one where the platter goes to collect the disc and not the other way around.

Len: They will be from the forties Ė I've got one or two of those. The record swings out and the turntable comes up underneath it.

Digger: Were there any major European manufacturers rather than American?

Len: There were one or two but nobody special. There were companies like NSM in the early days but none of them came to much compared to the Americans.

Digger: Why is vintage, retro and nostalgia such a big thing in so many people's lives and why are Jukeboxes so evocative of decades past?

Len: Well, Jukeboxes are things of beauty.

Digger: Yes, they are incredibly beautiful to look at and tactile as well as being great to listen to.

Len: People still like to hear their music and they collect it. People tend to stick with the music from their era.

Digger: I suppose in that sense youíll have people eventually wanting Jukes from the 80s and 90s?

Len: Itís quite likely because you can get CD playing Jukes.

Digger: Hopefully that wonít be your and my problem!

Len: No! And people still love their music on vinyl. Itís a nicer sound from the Jukebox. The warmth of the Jukebox.

Digger: Yes, there is a warmth. Even that crackle is good.

Len: Yes, most Jukebox enthusiasts will say the same. Even with all the great Hi-Fi systems and sound systems that are available, nothing compares with a Jukebox.

Digger: The other thing that Iím noticing when Iím listening to MP3 files you can actually hear detail, like the band turning the music pages or putting their instruments down, stuff that you were never supposed to hear. You get a different experience with vinyl compared to digital that's for sure. What advice would you give to somebody planning to buy a Jukebox from you?

Len: I would say always buy a Jukebox that is collectable. Because a lot of Jukeboxes arenít collectable.

Digger: So what happens if they fall in love with one but itís not one that's going to accumulate in value?

Len: Thatís up to them but my advice would be try to buy one from the forties, fifties or very early sixties.

Digger: Are they a good investment?

Len: Iíve found them to be a good investment. Yes.

Digger: I suppose at a time when youíre only getting 0.5% in the bankÖ

Len: People can put a bit of money into buying a Jukebox, enjoy their money with the music and having a beautiful piece of furniture, or call it what you will, in the house. And then when the time comes to sell if they want to theyíll probably get their money back and more.

Digger: It transforms a house and when people come in it is so attractive and people are drawn to it.

Len: It's always a talking point.




Digger: Where are your customers coming from, are they young or old or are they from all points in between?

Len: All points in between. Yes, and this month in particular Iíve had people in their sixties and seventies.

Digger: Is that because theyíve retired, theyíve got a little bit of money and they want to treat themselves to a slice of their youth?

Len: Yes, thatís normally it. They have some spare cash.

Digger: Good for them. What customer feedback/comments do you get about your service and the product?

Len: All positive and there are very few people doing what I do, travelling around the country fixing Jukeboxes.

Digger: How does that work? Do you have to stay over in hotels? So you donít see your wife for a day or two sometimes? 

Len: No, I take her with me.

Digger: Thatís brilliant. What you need is an Airstream trailer and tow that along so you have somewhere retro to live in on the move. Look on my site Len Ė there are some people that do Airstreams on there.

Len: (Laughs) Is that right? We'll do a three-day run down to the coast or wherever and I do the repairs.

Digger: It sounds quite idyllic.

Len: Yes, it is.

Digger: Youíve got to the stage where youíre taking on just enough work to keep it interesting and ticking over.

Len: Yes, you see I can pick and choose. I donít have to work, I just like doing it.

Digger: Thatís great. No apprentice though?

Len: Unfortunately not no. I have spoken to people who I thought might be interested and capable of taking it on. But they really have to live up to my standards.

Digger: Thatís understandable and you have a lifetimeís experience for them to catch up on. Do you find that the youngsters donít have the technical ability and aptitude that the previous generations had?

Len: Iíll tell you what puts people off more. One thing might be that youíre hundreds of miles from home and youíve got to fix it. The buck stops with you.

Digger: Thatís pressure.

Len: Yes, youíve got to be equipped and youíve got to be prepared to sort it out and come away with it being fixed. So a lot of people donít fancy that. They might be prepared to have a go in a workshop but they don't fancy going on site and doing it.

Digger: The different manufactures built very different machines although they all used similar types of components.

Len: Yes, I have got a massive range and have accumulated a lot of parts over the years.

Digger: So you're a bit like an AA man when you go out on the road?

Len: Yes, I am.

Digger: What do you enjoy most about running Jukes of Stafford Len?

Len: The challenge.

Digger: It's still always a challenge?

Len: It's always a challenge even though I've been doing Jukeboxes for all these years. Yet every week you'll come across something that you haven't come across before.

Digger: It is an ideal life you've got there Len.

Len: It is an ideal life.

Digger: Meeting different people, working with something that you love - it doesn't have to be stressful. Going around the country and taking Mrs B with you. Can't be bad.

Len: It's good stuff.






Digger: What are your other retro passions?

Len: I do dabble a bit with the old mechanical one-armed bandits. The same sort of things I enjoy about them - they're mechanical and the ingenuity with which they were put together.

Digger: What about pinball machines?

Len: Not so much. Although I operated pinball machines with my company - hundreds of them all over the country at one time, so really I just saw too much of them and they really don't hold the same appeal to me. They also don't have the same nostalgic appeal to other people. There are one or two who collect pinball tables but it's not like Jukeboxes. They died almost overnight - it was incredible when I was operating them and they'd all be dozens of them in a line at a University and then suddenly, over a two-year period, they just died.

Digger: What made that happen? Space Invaders?

Len: I don't know. Space Invaders were around but pinball had been round a long time.

Digger: So, plans for the future then Len?

Len: Well, I'm 69 and I really don't know. All of my friends are retired but in a way I feel like I retired fifteen years ago and what I'm doing is like a working hobby.

Digger: Because you're in such demand for your skills and the product - as long as you enjoy it.... How much would a typical machine cost somebody to buy, by the way?

Len: If you want something that's from the fifties then you've got to pay over £5,000. There's a guy in London who sells the equivalent for £8,000. A Jukebox I may sell for £8,500 he might well sell for £12,500. And there is some big money out there still.

Digger: But it's still very good value when you look at what it is, the rarity and the amount of work that you're putting into them. They're as good as new aren't they?

Len: Yes, they are as good as new. But all original parts.

Digger: Thanks Len for letting us know all about Jukes of Stafford.

Len: Thank you.



Jukes of Stafford





Jukes of Stafford - new or beautifully restored
 Jukeboxes for sale, the only place to call




  Jukeboxes are fast becoming the must have accessory for the home. It is a centrepiece, conversation subject, and for many a return to a mis-spent youth. Those of us that still remember vinyl boxes in coffee shops, pubs, clubs and colleges yearn for a piece of their past.

Unfortunately many jukes built in the 1950s and 60s have been neglected over the years, and they tend to either shoved in corners or garages gathering dust while the parts seize up. The modern jukebox with its CDs and replaceable circuit boards are easier to repair. The older ones however need that touch of experience.

That is where Jukes of Stafford are different. Our chief engineer, Len Beddow, has worked with jukeboxes since the early 1960s. What he doesn't know about retro jukes isn't worth knowing. He prides himself on his knowledge, and has yet to be beaten!!

In addition, we come to you. No matter where you are we do not burden you with the task of getting the juke to our workshop, you just need to be there to let us in!!

Our knowledge of jukeboxes also means we are the place to call if you are looking to buy. With new or beautifully restored boxes for sale, Jukes of Stafford is the only place to call.

www: Jukes of Stafford










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