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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.
The debut album of The Fallen Angels – one of those great late 60s psych groups who were signed up in a big mid-decade frenzy, got a chance to record some superb work, then were almost completely ignored by their record label! The group have a vibe that's right on the same cusp that the LA ... LP, Vinyl record album
The continuing genius of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – a group who are certainly as experimental as their name would imply, but who can also come across with some warmer Sunshine Pop touches too! And it's that which makes the group so wonderful – the blend of freak and ... LP, Vinyl record album
Searing greatness from Portland punk pioneer Greg Sage and his Wipers – the band's third album, and they're still pretty much at the top of their game here – showing a stronger songwriting hand than ever before, without dispensing with the vitally raw, timeless punky roots. This sounds ... LP, Vinyl record album
Vintage live material from Greg Sage and The Wipers – played with that special intensity that made them such a crucial link in the American underground scene of the 80s – even if they didn't always get their due until many years later! There's a sound here that's almost a bridge ... LP, Vinyl record album
The incredible second album from Silver Apples – even more mad, more trippy, and more space rock than the first! The tunes are all awash in fuzziness – mad guitars, distorted vocals, and rough electronics coming into play with a bit of banjo and some stark, stiff percussion that makes ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really wonderful little record – by a group who should have been much bigger than they were! Despite the fact that these guys are an obscure rock band with a silly name, the record's a perfect example of the subtly soulful work that was coming out of various west coast sources during the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A wonderful little record – one that's much richer and more compelling than you might expect from ESP Record's billing of Mij as a "Yodeling Astrologer"! The album's very heavy on reverb – used to really wonderful effect to expand and abstract the sounds created by Mij on ... LP, Vinyl record album
A punky funky no wave classic from James White – working here under the name of The Contortions, in a manner that's very similar to his Off White album! The tunes dip, turn, and kind of groove with a mad sort of art school energy – shifting easily between fast and frenetic playing, and ... LP, Vinyl record album
The second of 3 great albums by in the short but massively influential career of Galaxie 500 – the members of whom would go on the pretty successful careers in other groups, but it's hard to imagine how those records can be better remembered than gems like On Fire! Dean Wareham had really ... LP, Vinyl record album
The debut of the hugely influential Galaxie 500 – taking Velvets learned quiet drama and more jagged and terse influences from Joy Division and maybe a little early Jesus & Mary Chain, making them their own in a wonderful way – developing a sound that would establish long careers ... LP, Vinyl record album
The second album in Sonic Youth's earlier run as one the most exciting bands in underground rock, and possibly the greatest album in their long career! It doesn't take a genius to ram a screwdriver into the neck of a guitar, but when they're at their best (as they are on EVOL, Sister, and Daydream ... LP, Vinyl record album
For many folks, this is the first truly great album from Sonic Youth – the first in which the group found any kind of a groove at all! Sonic Youth had been sputtering around the New York art punk scene since the early 80s, but things didn't really come together until this work of ... LP, Vinyl record album