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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 fantastic early album from jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby! Ashby's a unique talent like no other – and despite the fact that she plays a rather sleepy instrument, the harp, she swings with an other-worldly quality that's simply amazing, quite exotic, and very much in the camp of players like ... LP, Vinyl record album
A very different record than previous releases from Mansur Brown – as the musician really takes the "mixtape" in the title seriously, and blends plenty of beats and production touches with some jazz instrumentation at the core! That instrumentation is mostly in the background ... LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible music from The Pyramids – an obscure Midwestern combo who made some pretty amazing records in the early 70s! There's a heavy dose of spirituality in the mix here – a vibe that rivals some of the best albums of the time on Strata East, but with a freer sound overall – ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the earliest and most obscure albums from avant flutist James Newton – and an amazing demonstration of the unique qualities that Newton was bringing to his instrument at the time! In a moment where some players were really pushing things over the top, and trying to explore areas of ... LP, Vinyl record album
An intense album of spiritual jazz tracks – played by Lon Moshe and the Southern Freedom Arkestra – maybe one of the only albums we've ever seen by this lesser-known vibist! The album was recorded in 1976, during the height of the Black Fire DC underground scene – and Moshe's ... LP, Vinyl record album
A stone classic on the Black Jazz label – and one of the most unique guitar albums ever! We're not sure what the title meant originally – but over the past few decades, it's come to stand for some heavy heavy guitar work from the legendary Calvin Keys – a record that's really ... LP, Vinyl record album
A wonderful blend of 70s electric modes and the spiritual currents of the Gallo label on the South African scene – and a record that really stands as a testament to the talents and timing of keyboard player Lionel Pillay! The set just features two long tracks – building with a groove ... LP, Vinyl record album
Soaring sounds from Nucleus – one of the few UK jazz/rock combos from the start of the 70s who really found a way to keep growing and changing as the years moved on! Here, the lineup is nice and large – the mighty trumpet of Ian Carr in the lead, next to keyboards from both Gordon Beck ... LP, Vinyl record album
Really creative work from the South African scene of the 70s – a jazz record, but one that was done at that moment when musicians on the scene were throwing so many other great elements into the mix as well – really moving past any conventions in standard jazz, to create some very ... LP, Vinyl record album
Kirk Lightsey & Rudolph Johnson with The All-Stars
Maybe the hippest record ever issued by pianist Kirk Lightsey – in part because the set was issued on a South African label, and also because it features tremendous work from saxophonist Rudolph Johnson – who you'll know for his two classic 70s albums on the Black Jazz imprint! The ... LP, Vinyl record album
A funky jazz gem from the scene in early 70s South Africa – a record that seems to borrow a lot from the romping rhythms that Hugh Masekela brought to the US in the late 60s, but which also inflects things with a lot more 70s funky energy too! The drums from Jeff Mpete are great on most ... LP, Vinyl record album
A haunting bit of jazz from the Venezuelan scene of the early 70s – one of those great records from a time when the nation was really riding high, yet one that's hardly ever gotten much exposure on a global scale either! Pianist Virgilo Armas leads the group, and the whole thing has the ... LP, Vinyl record album