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There may be different interpretations or standards used to grade pre-owned vinyl record albums & CDs.
These are the grades that we use and what they mean for items that are not new copies.
Used Vinyl Grades
Below are stated conditions for a used vinyl records at Dusty Groove. Grading for
the cover should be assumed to be near (within a "+" or "-")
the grading for the vinyl.
If there is significant divergence from the condition of the vinyl, or specific flaws,
these will be noted in the comments section of the item. However, please be aware that
since the emphasis of this site is towards the music listener, our main concern is with
the vinyl of any used item we sell. Additionally,
all of our records are graded visually;
considering the volume of used vinyl we handle, it is impossible
for us to listen to each record. If we spot any significant flaws, we make every attempt
to listen through them and note how they play.
The following grading conditions apply to the vinyl component of an album or single:
This is what it says, that the record is still held fast in shrink-wrap.
We tend to be pretty suspicious about these things, so if the shrink-wrap doesn't
look original, or if the record seems to have undergone some damage over time,
we'll probably take it out of the wrapper to ensure that it's in good shape —
which is why we don't have more of these. In some cases the shrink-wrap may be
torn in spots, but if it's not possible the record has been taken out and played,
the record will still qualify as "Sealed".
Dusty Groove does not use the grades of Near Mint
(or Mint, for that matter) because in our experience, we find that no records
ever qualify for such a high grade. Even sealed records tend to have one or two
slight faults, enough to usually qualify them for a grade of NM- or lower. We've
often found that records which are clearly unplayed will have a slight amount of
surface noise, especially in quieter recordings.
Near Mint - (minus)
Black vinyl that may show a slight amount of dust or dirt.
Should still be very shiny under a light, even with slight amount of dust on surface.
One or two small marks that would make an otherwise near perfect record slightly less so.
These marks cannot be too deep, and should only be surface marks that won't affect play,
but might detract from the looks.
May have some flaws and discoloration in the vinyl, but only those that would be
intrinsic to the pressing. These should disappear when the record is tilted under
the light, and will only show up when looking straight at the record.
(Buddah and ABC pressings from the 70's are a good example of this.)
May have some slight marks from aging of the paper sleeve on the vinyl.
Possible minor surface noise when played.
Very Good + (plus)
Vinyl should be very clean, but can have less luster than near mint.
Should still shine under a light, but one or two marks may show up when tilted.
Can have a few small marks that may show up easily, but which do not affect play at all. Most marks of this quality will disappear when the record is tilted, and will not be felt with the back of a fingernail.
This is the kind of record that will play "near mint", but which will have
some signs of use (although not major ones).
May have slight surface noise when played.
Vinyl can have some dirt, but nothing major.
May not shine under light, but should still be pretty clean,
and not too dirty.
May have a number of marks (5 to 10 at most), and obvious signs of play,
but never a big cluster of them, or any major mark that would be very deep.
Most marks should still not click under a fingernail.
May not look near perfect, but should play fairly well,
with slight surface noise, and the occasional click in part of a song,
but never throughout a whole song or more.
This is clearly a copy that was played by someone a number of times,
but which could also be a good "play copy" for someone new.
Very Good - (minus)
Vinyl may be dirty, and can lack a fair amount of luster.
Vinyl can have a number of marks, either in clusters or smaller amounts, but deeper.
This is the kind of record that you'd buy to play,
but not because it looked that great. Still, the flaws should be mostly cosmetic,
with nothing too deep that would ruin the overall record.
Examples include a record that has been kept for a while in a
cover without the paper sleeve, or heavily played by a previous owner
and has some marks across the surface. The record should play okay,
though probably with surface noise.
Good + (plus)
Vinyl may be dirty, or have one outstanding flaw,
such as a light residue, which could be difficult to clean.
May have marks on all parts, too many to qualify as Very Good-,
or several deeper marks, but the record should still be ok for play without skips.
In general, this is a record that was played a fair amount,
and handled without care. A typical example may be a record which has
been heavily played by a DJ, and carries marks from slip cueing.
Depending on the quality of the vinyl, may play with surface noise throughout.
A record that you'd buy to play, cheap, but which you wouldn't buy for collecting.
Will have marks across all parts of the playing surface,
and will most likely play with surface noise throughout.
May have some other significant flaws, such as residue, or a track that skips.
In most cases, a poor quality copy of a very difficult to find record.
This is a grade we rarely use, as we try not to sell records
in very bad condition, though in some rare cases we will list a
record in such bad shape that it does not conform to the standards above.
A "Fair" record will have enough marks or significant flaws that it
does not even qualify as "Good", but is a copy you might consider
for playing, if you're willing to put up with noise and/or flaws.
An example might be a recording with surface noise so heavy that
it is equal to the volume of the music. For records listed as "Fair",
we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
Like "Fair", we rarely list records in this condition,
as they represent the extreme low end of spectrum.
These records typically have multiple serious problems,
and we offer them as "relics" or "objects" only — for
those who want to at least have a copy of a record,
even if it is not really worthy of play, perhaps for the cover alone.
For these records, we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
Additional Marks & Notes
If something is noteworthy, we try to note it in the comments — especially
if it is an oddity that is the only wrong thing about the record.
This might include, but isn't limited to, warped records, tracks that skip,
cover damage or wear as noted above, or strictly cosmetic flaws.
Used CD Grade
We only use the grade "Used CD" for non-new CDs.
This all-encompassing grade was chosen it because we only buy and offer
used CDs in the best possible condition.
When you purchase a used CD you can expect the disc to be free of all but the
lightest of surface marks, the case to be clean (we often change the cases ourselves),
and the booklet to be in good shape.
Used CDs may show some signs of use, but if there are significant details or
defects we will describe the item's condition (just like we do with LPs),
so look for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details before ordering.
All of our used CDs are guaranteed to play without skipping or flaws.
After you receive a used CD from Dusty Groove, you have 1 week to play it to determine
that it plays correctly.
If it does not, you can request a return for a full refund.
Tom Waits's follow-up to Rain Dogs – and a batch of songs that do double duty as a straight-up, stand alone record from his wild years at Island Records – and also as the musical accompaniment to a play he co-wrote with wife Kathleen Brennan! (As Chicagoans, we have a special fondness ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the greatest albums from Tom Waits's peak years at Island – carrying on with the clattering, defiantly vintage-sounding instrumentation – especially given the obsessively modern production aesthetic on most major label albums in the mid 80s. This album also just so happens to ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of best ever albums by Tom Waits – the beginning of his gutbuckety, Americana Carnivalesque era of dreamlike sinister romance and lovelorn surrealism! The tin pan piano ballads and get pushed a bit to the wayside for Tom's more mysterious and poetic side, and this begins one of the great ... LP, Vinyl record album
The first album from Steely Dan, and a really nice chapter in their career – one that's maybe a bit less iconic than the late 70s records, but in a way that really keeps things interesting! There's definitely less jazz and polish than on the later albums – but already, the group are ... LP, Vinyl record album
Superb work from Steely Dan – and a record that really shows them hitting perfection in the studio! The core sound of this one's jazzier than before – with some great help on instrumentation from Victor Feldman, Lanny Morgan, Bill Perkins, and other west coast jazzers – all ... LP, Vinyl record album
The amazing first album from Big Star – a set that came out of nowhere, made hardly a ripple on the charts, yet went onto crash in big waves of sound for generations to come! The style here is unlike thing else before – hardly what you'd expect from the group's Memphis roots or Alex ... LP, Vinyl record album
The original demos for PJ Harvey's classic debut album Dry – tracks that maybe have a vibe that's even more open and earnest than some of the later studio versions! Things are relatively stripped-down – really the core of the tunes, without that trademark production that also made PJ ... LP, Vinyl record album
A little bit leaner, and little bit darker, and a lot more solo of a PJ Harvey album after the comparatively bigger sounding Stories From The City, Stories From The City (itself largely the work of trio, though more deliberately layered and polished) – but true to form, Polly subverts the ... LP, Vinyl record album
PJ Harvey mixing piano-heavy, often softly-sung arrangements with some of the darkest songcraft of her career to date! White Chalk might be her sharpest left turn ever – which is saying something given the creative leap from Rid Of Me to To Bring You My Love a decade earlier – veering ... LP, Vinyl record album
Philadelphia Freedom from Elton John – a trio of tracks recorded with legendary Philly Soul producer Thom Bell, all with a Sigma Sound vibe that's quite different than most of John's other work at the time! In fact, although these tracks were recorded right at the height of the disco era, ... LP, Vinyl record album
The incredible first album from Traffic – a record that was already way ahead of the pack, and would set the tone for so many other sounds and modes from others in years to come! At some level, the group were just coming off the big beat group years in the UK – that time of strong ... LP, Vinyl record album
Maybe not the most politically correct of the entries in the Greasy Mike series of weird and wild 45s – as the collection brings together material that offers a postwar take on the East – in a weird mish-mash of rocking styles blended with imagined ideas of Pacific-rimmed culture! The ... LP, Vinyl record album