Reel to Reel tapes- right channel backwards


New member
Hey all,
First, let me say I did my research, and found this topic
but it seems to me my problem is not quite the same as his, and I wasn't sure if bumping a 4 year old thread was really the best idea.

I was given some tapes from a friend, recorded in the late 50s early 60s for the purpose of converting to digital. I have an Akai 4000DS MKII, which, as I understand, is a 1/4 machine. But, when playing these tapes, the left channel plays forwards, the right backwards.
I recorded them into Audacity, side A and B on one project, and then simply reversed the right channel, which matched up nearly perfect.

I understand (I think) the
A left
b thgir
A right
b tfel
thing, but the Akai has the selector switch, so I toggled back and forth between it, and it did not achieve the result I was expecting. Stereo and 2-3 were both the exact same thing, w/ the left forwards and the right backwards. 1-4 only flipped the channels, now the left was the backwards one, and the right the forwards one. Same song, same place in the song, it just moved to the other channel. Is that what's supposed to happen?

The other thing that complicates matters, in my head at least, is that, while researching this problem, I came across something called dual mono, which I guess was popular at the time these were recorded. (4 different tracks of mono) I now dont think thats what these are, since, in my audacity recordings, I think I came out w/ 4 different tracks (I have a left and right for both A and B sides, regardless of direction). Is this thinking correct?
Since my purpose is just to get digital copies of the material on the tapes, recording them in and reversing the right channel in Audacity should be all that is needed, right? Are these dual mono? Am I missing half of the material on the tapes because it is on a track my player can't seem to access?

And finally- Any idea as to why this is doing this on a 1/4 player? If I were to want to listen to the reels again, as reels, what kind of player would I have to get to hear both channels the correct direction? Are these tapes from a more rare 1/2 player?

Not sure about the 4-track mono format, but late 1950s tapes could be half-track mono, where the top half is side 1 and the bottom half is side 2. That was the format my great aunt's recordings were in - fortunately I had a half-track stereo machine so it was just a matter of muting the other channel.
I have had this problem over the years, basically the heads have 4 tracks, 2 tracks in each direction to produce stereo. Trouble was that there were several different standards some manufacturers used the top and bottom track (say 1 & 4) as the stereo in one direction and the centre tracks (say 2&3) in the other, ands some used tracks 1 & 3 in one direction and tracks 2 & 4 in the other.

If you can solve this have a look around for an old TEAC 3340S, this is 1/4" 4 track and you can just plug into the tracks that you need for the correct stereo, this is what I use. However the 3340S only has 7.5" and 15" speeds so if the tapes are slower it won't work.