vintage cassette tape keeps stopping on one side.

For a little background-I’m a 53 years old Chicagoan . In the early 1970s my parents purchased my first cassette player/recorder. It came with a
“General Electric reusable tape cartridge” 10 minute recording time.
I had kept it all this time because it has recordings of my first dog Ginger (and my siblings and I) . I came across this tape recently .It had been stored away safely ,no damage whatsoever.
When i try to play side one the tape keeps automatically stopping. It plays fine on side two though. Only side one (of course) has Gingers and our ‘voices’ on it. When i hold down the play button to see if it will play through its still a no go.
I seem to remember that it began doing this back in the early 90s. I’m not an expert on cassette tape mechanics. What may be the possible cause of this problem?
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because i want to digitize these sounds before the tape eventually deteriorates.
Thanks all!!!

How old is the machine you’re playing it on? If that machine is a million years old the rubber rollers and belts may not be able to push the tape any further than that. Do you have a trash tape you can experiment on without harming the hero tape? Highly recommended. I think you can still buy blank tapes at Radio Shack.

Rewind your tape all the way one direction or the other by pushing a pencil in one hub and spinning it. Never leave a tape half-way along, either video or audio.

All my top quality tape machines died from bad belts and the only one I have left that still works is a Panasonic version of a Sony Walkman®. This is not a dreadful player and you can plug the headphone out into your Mac, or through a converter into your Windows Laptop and make a Music CD out of the work.


HI KOZ’ thanks for the response. I’m using a SONY CD/Tape ‘boombox’ I bought approx in 2004. It is still in very good condition and I play other cassettes with no problem. Also, as I had said back in the 90s it had started not playing side one on some other tape deck,so it isn’t the player. It must have something to do with the tape cartridge itself. Is it possible something within the contact area is missing? The white padding is still there. Maybe there is a plastic tab of some sort was snapped off? (just a guess)

If the problem persists with other tape players, (i.e. the problem is definitely in the cassette), you could transplant the tape to a new cassette shell …

Depending on how valuable this recording is you may wish to employ a specialist to perform the transplant surgery rather than DIY.

Does the tape continue to wind from start to end with just the sound stopping, or does the tape physically stop moving?

Thinking back to my days of using tape cassettes, one problem I encountered was warped cassette shells. The tape in my player always seemed to wind slightly off centre. After many plays it would eventually start to rub on the side of the warped casing and finally would jam completely when played in that particular direction. Could this, or something similar be the cause of these problems?

My apologies for the delayed response.
@Trebor- I think that may be the way to go. Thank you for the link, Ill be checking that out.
@Steve- It physically stops , just on side one. No problem like that on side two.
@PGA-That very well may be, which would coincide with Trebor’s advice in fixing it.

Thank you all so much.

Along the same lines as Trebors comment. Sometimes a tape can be wound too tight or unevenly. If you just need to play the cassette through once to record it then it may be sufficient to just wind the tape all the way through and back again (carefully) by hand (put a pencil through the spool and start winding). As long as you are careful this is probably a safer option than transferring the tape to a new shell but remember that old tape can become brittle.