Why is an 8 track is called an 8 track? 8 tracks use 1/4" magnetic tape and are a continuous loop. There are 8 tracks parralell to each other on the tape. There are four programs on the tape (varying number of songs per track) and two tracks per program - one for the right speaker and one for the left, thus making it a stereo tape cart. It doesn't mean that there are only 8 songs, which some people may think. A small metallic trip or splice allows the tape to switch between programs. Here's another interesting fact about 8 tracks. You may have seen what appeared to be an 8-track but it had a whole in the left back corner (or right, depending on how you're looking at it - see second pic.). These are 4-track tapes. They are similar to an 8-track except they have 2 programs instead of 4. The other difference is in a 4 track system, the pinch roller is part of the player and in an 8 track, the pinch roller is part of the tape. If you want to play a 4-track tape in an 8-track player, you need a converter. Most of these were metal and slipped into the hole on the back of the 4-track, which allowed it to be played in a regular 8-track player. A lot of people call them a "gidgit" (see 3rd pic.). They're not easily found. If you're lucky, you might find one in the back of a 4-track when you purchase the tapes. Otherwise, you may pay some big bucks for one. Most 4-tracks are the size of an 8-track, but there are two larger 4-track carts.
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!!!!