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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art

That's Right!

LP (Item 13344) Riverside, 1960 

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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, please note that 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:

Sealed

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".

Near Mint

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.

Very Good

  • 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.

Good

  • 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.

Fair

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.

Poor

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. 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.

With our Used CDs, you can expect the disc to be free of all but the lightest of surface marks — clean, and not dirty at all. You can also expect the case to be clean (we often change the cases ourselves — putting fresh cases on Used CDs we handle) — and you can expect the booklet to be in good shape, unless noted otherwise. We will list any specific details/defects underneath the item — so look for notes on cutout marks in the case, stamps on the barcode, or details like that.


You might be interested


Ezz-Thetics (Riverside)
Riverside, 1961. Near Mint-
Angular modernism from George Russell – a record that's still strongly preoccupied with his interest in modes and tones, but which also manages to swing nicely as well! The group here is a sextet – with Eric Dolphy making a great appearance on alto and bass clarinet – alongside ... LP, Vinyl record album
Flashback
Riverside, 1963. Very Good+
There's nothing "flashback" about this one – because the record's about as in-the-moment as you could be for jazz piano in the early 60s! Don Friedman's a really tremendous player at this point in his career – a sometimes unsung hero in the space between Bill Evans and Keith ... LP, Vinyl record album
Riverside, 1960. Near Mint-
Budd Johnson was one of those players from the old days who was continually drawing praise from younger and hipper musicians – crediting Budd with a tone and talent that was forever an inspiration to them. Case in point is this 1960 session, issued as part of the hip Cannonball Adderley ... LP, Vinyl record album
Hawk Flies High
Riverside, 1957. Near Mint-
A key album in the reintroduction of Coleman Hawkins in the late 50s – recorded in a style that still bears a lot of traces of earlier years, but at a time when Hawk was being claimed as a key influence by a variety of younger modernists! The set's got a sense of freedom that's really ... LP, Vinyl record album
Jazz Workshop Revisited
Riverside, Early 60s. Very Good-
Classic funky soul jazz playing by Cannonball and one of his great groups, caught live in San Francisco, with a nice hard groove that you don't always get in their studio recordings. The record includes a stellar 11 minute version of "The Jive Samba", one of Cannonball's greatest track, ... LP, Vinyl record album
Riverside, 1963. Very Good-
One of Art Blakey's best non-Blue Note albums of the 60s – a hard-wailing live set that fully exploits the best talents of the six-piece version of the Jazz Messengers! The group here is that tremendous sextet that featured Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Wayne Shorter ... LP, Vinyl record album
Riverside, 1961. Very Good+
Bobby Timmons at the height of his powers – recorded live at the Village Vanguard, with a trio that includes Ron Carter on bass and Albert Heath on drums! The tracks are a bit longer than on some of Bobby's trio studio sides for Riverside – nicely swinging, with some killer piano work ... LP, Vinyl record album
Sweet Lou
Blue Note, 1974. Near Mint-
Sweet Lou, but funky Lou too – a perfect blend of modes that makes for one of Donaldson's last great albums for Blue Note! The set's got some fuller arrangements from Horace Ott – but given Ott's work in the indie soul world during the 60s, there's still a nice edge to the record too ... LP, Vinyl record album
You Had Better Listen
Atlantic, 1967. Very Good+
An oft-overlooked and surprisingly soulful session on Atlantic – a sublime pairing of the talents of trumpeter Jimmy Owens and pianist Kenny Barron! The set's got a groove that's pretty unique – not really Blue Note or Prestige – but not like other Atlantic Records jazz as well ... LP, Vinyl record album
Transformations
Vanguard, 1977. Very Good
Funky Bunky from Chicago, with electric backing, including an ARP played by Jeff Bova. The sound's quite different from his Cadet albums – but not bad overall, kind of a smooth jazz funk approach. Tracks include "Funk Ain't a Word", "Chillon", and "The Lady from ... LP, Vinyl record album
MPS/BASF, 1972. Near Mint- Gatefold
One of the key non-Saturn Sun Ra albums of the 70s – and like his records for Blue Thumb and Impulse, a set that really helped awaken the world to his talents! This album may well be one of the most bracing of the bunch – as it features live material recorded by Ra and the Arkestra at ... LP, Vinyl record album
Golden Number
Horizon/A&M, 1977. Near Mint- Gatefold
A spare set of duets that follows closely in spirit to Charlie Haden's Closeness album for A&M – and like that record, a set of well-chosen reunion duets with key figures from his past! The album features 4 long tracks – each based around a different performer set next to Haden's ... LP, Vinyl record album
 



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