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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.
A great return to form for Laurie Anderson – a set that's much more in the territory of her early recordings than some of her more song-based tracks – with a great blend of spoken and sung vocals, set amidst wonderful production from Brian Eno – a musical partner who makes the ... LP, Vinyl record album
Easily one of our favorite albums by Tim Buckley – and a record that really opens up with some key jazzy touches! Buckley's still got his roots in folk here, and his vocals are yet to hit the extremes of Starsailor or Lorca – but there's also a new sense of inflection to the way he ... LP, Vinyl record album
Maybe one of the strangest albums ever recorded by Magma – a set that's right in the middle of their classic prog run in the 70s, but which has a slightly different vibe! Drummer/keyboardist Christian Vander is maybe even more essential here than ever – but instead of long jams, the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A pretty fierce and fantastic album from Golden Earring – one that's very different than you might think if you only know the group from their later hits on radio! The sound here is completely full-on – heavy drums, rumbling bass, and stunning guitar work from George Kooymans – ... LP, Vinyl record album
A set of extended tracks from French powerhouse Magma, but one that burns with intensity throughout – thanks not just to the killer drum work of group members Christian Vander on drums and Jannink Top on bass (with both on keyboards as well) – but also to the presence of legendary ... LP, Vinyl record album
The mindblowing first album by The Talking Heads – a bold statement by a very young band who'd go on to shape the sounds of the left field for generations to come! The sound is spare and very focused – maybe the first layer that David Byrne would then build up when adding more ... LP, Vinyl record album
Early genius from the Talking Heads – a set that's got a much sparer sound than most of their later work, and a surprisingly groovy feel overall! The starkness of the group's debut is still very much in place – lots of tight interplay between bass and guitar – but the rhythms are ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great early live set from The Talking Heads – a collection of recordings from the late 70s and early 80s, culled together in a format that almost makes the whole thing come across like a discreet live album! The versions of tunes here are changed up nicely from their studio counterparts ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great little group from early 70s Chile – a scene we know very little about, but which we're ready to dig a lot more, given the strength of this set! Panal have a style that's partly psych, partly hard rock – kind of the blend that was coming out of the Peruvian scene in the early ... LP, Vinyl record album
A cool classic from the early years of Vertigo Records – and a wonderful mixture of hard rock energy and jazzy flute – but all at a level that's very different than Jethro Tull or other flute-based groups of the time! Norman Barratt handles the guitar with lots of fuzzy depth – ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of those records that was a classic from the moment it was first released – the legendary second effort from the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash – with added bonus of Neil Young in the mix, which gives the whole thing a current of darkness that's completely ... LP, Vinyl record album