Tascam 388 tape heads, what's their condition?


New member
Hi everyone,

So I have this Tascam 388, bought it a couple of years ago and have used it off and on since. I was wondering about the condition of the tape heads but not really sure what I should be looking for. Hoping someone could take a look at these (not so great) pictures and tell me what condition they're in. I haven't had any issues, just curious really... and paranoid about them failing as they're obviously super hard to source. Anyway... thanks for taking a look!

First and foremost I hope you understand nobody can really tell you anything definitive about your heads from some pictures on the internet. There’s no way to know if they’ve been relapped, unless you have some way to verify that information, and if they were relapped if it was done well, etc. I can tell you what I *don’t* see: keystoning on the face of the R/P head, so that’s good, and it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of wear on the lifters. So *maybe* it’s a relatively low mileage machine with even wear? No guarantees. Can’t see if there are gaps at the core tips because the pics are at an oblique, too dark and too far away. If you really want to know, the *only* way is to pony up and send the headblock assembly to John French or the like and have them evaluated. That’s what I do when I really want to know.