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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 brilliant testament not just to the bass work of Barry Guy, but to so many other factors as well – the open spirit of the contemporary Polish avant scene, the strength of key improvisers in each others' company, and even the much-lauded efforts of the Not Two label to present material of ... CD
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
A wonderful large format recording from bassist Barry Guy – working here at the head of the Blue Shroud Band, an improvising ensemble that echoes some of his earlier work with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra! The extended work is an expansion of an earlier piece that Guy recorded with ... CD
The legendary Joe McPhee leads off this session with a tremendous burst of power – work on the trumpet that's a bold signifier of the energy to come – as he mixes up tenor and a bit of voice with long-form spontaneous creation in a trio with John Edwards on bass and Klaus Kugel on drums! ... CD
Two searing long, live improvisations that really sum up the intensity of the Ballister trio at its best – the kind of special sonic resonance that occurs between the saxes of Dave Rempis, drums of Paal Nilssen Love, and cello and electronics of Fred Lonberg-Holm! All three players are ... 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
Tim Trevor Briscoe/Szilard Mezei/Nicola Guazzaloca
Wonderfully careful, precise improvisation from a trio that we're not sure we've ever heard before – but who are already overflowing with so many new ideas, they certainly warrant all the extra space given to them on this 4CD set! The package brings together live material from four different ... 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
The sonic intensity of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson gets a perfect foil here in the electronics of Joachim Norwall – a musician who really helps Gustafsson to reach some of the most powerful sounds we've heard from his horns in years! Mats can have a way of blowing his instruments as if they'r ... CD
A wonderfully sensitive record from the legendary St Louis saxophonist Luther Thomas – very different than some of his larger group material, and in a really great way! The record features Thomas in duets with Luther C Petty – the leader on alto sax, Petty on flute, and both musicians ... CD
Great work from a contemporary hardbop genius – Finnish drummer Aleksi Heinola, a musician who's got the same sense of leadership as the great Art Blakey! Not that Heinola's any sort of Blakey imitation – just that he's got a way of picking all the best elements for a group, putting ... CD