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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 only full album ever issued by Jubal – and a record that has a cover and a sound that should have made it a classic, especially given that Elektra Records were more than willing to take a chance on these guys! Jubal have a style that's a bit roots rock, but with some of the more ... CD
A really cool group from the late 60s UK scene – one that we might be temped to put in the hipper camp of the jazz rock world of the time, but who've maybe got a bit more of the latter style than the former – which makes their use of tenor and trumpet come across in a really unique way! ... CD
A really rare batch of garage psych from late 60s DC scene – served up on a record that barely got any circulation at the time! The oft-overlooked Fallen Angels were signed to Roulette in the late 60s, and the group only made a couple of albums – Roulette bailed when it became obvious ... CD
A record with a sound that's as wonderfully swirling as its cover – material from a short-lived Cali group of the early 70s, and one who deliver this set with all the best elements of the big groups of the time – but with a much more laidback vibe! Their harmonies can really be ... CD
A great bit of work from the re-formed Blues Magoos – a new incarnation of the group that had a few early garage rock hits, and which on this set features some great work by Eric Kaz, who seems to add a hip singer-songwriter feel to the record. The group have clearly been listening to a lot ... CD
A pretty great set by this overlooked group from the 70s – a combo headed by two different singers, who trade leads and harmonize with a quality that's often in the best Hall & Oates mode of the time! The singers are Mark Pearson and Reed Neilsen – and Pearson maybe gets a bit more ... CD
A modest classic from the British scene of the mid 70s – and an album that may loom large in the history books, but which has found its way into plenty of record collections over the years! Metro features lead vocals from Peter Godwin and plenty of support from Duncan Browne – the ... CD
A sweet AOR set from Mark Pearson and Reed Nielsen – a duo who come together with vocal styles that are maybe a bit like the shift that Hall & Oates were taking at the end of the 70s – and we mean that in the best way possible! Pearson and Nielsen have a great ear for a catchy tune ... CD
A really pivotal album for the young Bob Seger – still very much in the Detroit territory of his early years, but already learning how to focus all his inspirations in a really great way! If you know the very young Bob, you'll know that he began as a soul-inspired rocker – but here, ... CD
One of the stunning late 60 psych rock classics on Mainstream Records – and, like the rest, a set that's a real standout at the time – and one of the few musical statements by a group who never got picked up and pushed more heavily by another label! Yet that quality is what makes the ... CD
A stone smoker from Rare Earth – recorded at a time when they were able to easily handle a groove made up of equal parts funk, rock, and soul! The vibe here is almost like War at times – not for the LA touches in the mix, but for the heady and heavy way these guys roll forward – ... CD
The first really major album from Rare Earth – issued on their own self-named subsidiary of Motown! The set's a perfect blend of the rich undercurrents of the heady Detroit scene of the late 60s – at one level a tripped-out rock record with styles that almost hint at MC5, at another ... CD