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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.
One of our favorite moments in the strong run of records from Family – a set that's still strongly defined by the vocals and songwriting of Roger Chapman, but which also has a lot more going on as well! John Wetton's joined the group for this album, and adds in bass and a bit of vocals ... CD
The short but brilliant career of The Runaways, served up here in a really great box set – one that features all four of their studio albums (including one not released in the US at the time), and their more obscure live album from Japan! Together, the five records tell the tale of a group ... CD
A long-overdue package – one that finally brings together all the many strands of music from underground Cali rock legend Merrell Fankhauser! CD1 features some of Merrell's earliest music – a host of early singles by Merrell & The Exiles, some of which were issued on the Glenn and ... CD
A record that has Family very much at the top of their game – and working in a format that some of their contemporaries were trying on record at the time – serving up one side of live material, and one set in the studio! Although the group are sometimes linked to the prog scene of the ... CD
A really great take on the sort of territory that's usually covered in Cramps-related compilations like this – a set of tracks that still trawls through the weird and wooly world of the 7" single in the late 50s and early 60s, but one that does so here with a special ear towards British ... CD
Prog rock was shifting a bit as 1974 came into view, but the leading lights of the scene were still going strong – sometimes with new modes and slight shifts in production techniques that showed that the music was evolving very strongly, and not just content to mire in the modes of an initial ... CD
A pair of albums from Frijid Pink, plus bonus tracks too – all served up in a single set! First up is the self-titled debut – a heady set from the Detroit scene, yet one that also instantly has the group stepping away from their contemporaries! There's plenty of the freak and fuzz ... CD
A record that's graced by a fantastic 70s cover by Hipnosis, and one that's got exactly the kind of groovy UK sound that you might expect! Stackridge have this blend of hard rock elements with some of the tighter, more compressed production that was coming into play in British studios – ... CD
The last album ever recorded by The Byrds, and a set that almost has the group going full circle – as the record's a reunion of sorts, and features an early lineup of the group back together – then-leader Roger McGuinn, joined by Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael ... CD
Four important albums from Jade Warrior – all brought together here in a single set! Floating World is the first album in Jade Warrior's mid-70s run for Island Records – and a set that marks a key shift for the group – a moment when they leaned even more heavily into their ... CD
A tremendous run of music from the great Keef Hartley – a British drummer who was maybe not the biggest name on the scene, but who created some wonderfully groovy music on the albums in this set! The records are a brilliant blend of jazz and rock elements, but in ways that are so different ... CD
British music breaking through – served up here in a set of sounds that really reflect the massive musical year of 1971! As you might guess from the "underground" in the title, the collection's a bit one-sided – as it's not out to document the hits of the time, but instead ... CD