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We realize that there are many different interpretations of the standard grades used
for pre-owned vinyl record albums & CD, so we thought we'd offer you the ones that we are working with,
so you have an idea what we mean when we give the grade for a non-new item on our pages.
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 have only one grade for non-new CDs at Dusty Groove — "Used CD".
This grade is somewhat all-encompassing, but we choose it because we try to offer
Used CDs in the best shape possible.
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 list them underneath the item — just like we do with LPs —
so look there for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details.
All of our Used CDs are guaranteed to play without skipping or flaws.
If you purchase a Used CD from Dusty Groove, you have 1 week to play it to determine
that it plays correctly —
and if it does not, then you may return it for a full refund.
The "resonate" in the title here is very well-put – as there's an overall sense of sound that comes not just from the core instruments handled by all three players in the trio – but also by the many "objects" that are part of the improvisation too! The album ... CD
A really unique take on the form of free improvisation – one done at a distance, during the global pandemic in 2020 – but at a level that's very different than anything else we've ever seen on record! The "correspondence" in the title is a reference to the process of the ... CD
Chicago plan do a great job here of mixing together darker passages and more sensitive moments – at a level that really lets the group open up with the kind of instrumental dexterity you'd expect from the individual players – a lineup that features Steve Swell on trombone, Gebhard ... CD
The great reedman Mark Whitecage is a player who never fully got his due – a really unique talent in terms of phrasing and rhythm, finally given one last chance at the spotlight here on this final recording with The Nu Band, a group in which he played for many years! All four players here ... CD
Tenorist Rodrigo Amado is at the head of a really great group here – a quartet that can come on fierce when needed, but also really work together to build up their sound slowly – improvising in ways that are open, yet feel structured too – especially on the moments that let the ... CD
A fantastic tribute to the ongoing contributions of the Not Two label – an important Polish imprint that's done plenty for improvised music over the past 20 years – with a wealth of studio releases, and live events such as the festival recordings presented in this beautiful set! The ... CD
Wandering The Sound Quintet (Satoko Fujii/Guillermo Gregorio)
Wandering The Sound is a great name for this quintet – as their improvisations seem to go on a journey during the course of the record – one that's not lost in the sense that "wandering" sometimes implies, but which is taking things easy, really exploring the time and space of ... CD
A set that's maybe a bit more inside than usual for the mostly-improvised Not Two label – but one that's also got a nice sort of an edge, too – a different take on familiar territory, all graced with the great work of Michael Marcus on soprano sax, tenor, octavin, and tarogato! Marcus ... CD
The title definitely gets it right – as the set's documents unexpected alchemy between reedman Ken Vandermark and a wonderful blend of improvisers – all recorded over the space of a few days in the Polish city of Krakow! The set's something of a follow-up to Vandermark's massive ... CD
Fiercely spiritual music from the great David Boykin – exactly the kind of record that puts him in a special sort of legacy that goes back to the glory days of the 70s! Boykin's always had this sort of quality in his music, but it feels as if in recent years, he's gotten even more righteous ... CD
Given the energy going on here, we can say that saxophonist David Boykin isn't sublimating any of his thoughts – as the record's got a wonderfully explosive vibe right from the start, then continues to soar in a mighty nice way! The format's a trio – Boykin's tenor next to the bass of ... CD
Never-issued music from a really legendary group – titled in a way that's similar to their famous 60s record for Atlantic Records – but a batch of live material recorded in Sweden with an equally sublime sort of feel! Art Farmer works here on flugelhorn alongside guitarist Jim Hall ... CD