Fortunately, most turntables, tonearms, and phono cartridges come with useful instructions. I also recommend 21st Century Vinyl, a DVD guide to turntable setup that's available from many sources, including Amazon.com. Host and renowned vinylphile Michael Fremer does a pretty good job of demystifying what can be an intimidating task.
Maintenance. Once everything is running, there are a few routine maintenance tasks. Stylus cleaning is best done with one of the small, closely cropped bristle brushes provided by the stylus-cleaning-fluid manufacturers. I like to add a drop of fluid directly to the brush before gently pulling it under the stylus a half-dozen times. Remember, always brush from the rear of the cartridge forward, never the other way or side to side.
Drive belts and motor pulleys collect crud that can affect pitch stability, so I'll clean the pulley using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and run the belt through my fingers wrapped in a paper towel dampened with Windex. (Beware of rubbing alcohol, by the way, which may contain undesirable lubricants.) Some manufacturers have specific ideas on how to do these things, such as coating a belt with talc or even using furniture wax, so check your manual first. And check your bearing oil once a year to see if it needs topping up. I've actually been called to service turntables where all of the oil had evaporated and the platter wouldn't turn anymore!
Care also extends to your LPs. Nothing is more important here than promptly returning records to their sleeves, preferably with the opening of the inner sleeve facing up, rather than out, to help keep dust out. Loose surface crud can be dispersed with a carbon-fiber brush such as the EDA Hunt, although encrusted dirt and fingerprints present a tougher challenge. For serious collectors, machines are available that can scrub the record clean using a fluid that's subsequently vacuumed off, and in my experience this is the only effective way to deal with very dirty records. I myself have used a VPI HW-17F machine for almost 20 years with excellent results.
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