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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 really important early album from this groundbreaking pianist – a set that initially got plenty of exposure at the time, thanks to its placement on the Infinite Zero label – even though Matthew Shipp's piano work was very far from the mainstream! The trio here is tremendous – ... CD
Easily our favorite album by Baikida Carroll – a wonderfully spiritual session cut in Paris, and done with this open-ended, spacious sound that seems to bring AACM improvisation into play with some of the global currents that were happening overseas at the time! As on an AACM date, most ... CD
Really stunning work from John Blum – one of his few efforts as a lead act, and one that has us wondering why he hasn't given the world a lot more tremendous albums like this! Blum's got this way of attacking the piano that's definitely in the school of Cecil Taylor, an old mentor – ... CD
Natural Information Society have been a key force on the Chicago underground for a number of years – and here, they go back even further, to open the door to the legendary saxophonist Ari Brown – who joins the group on tenor! You might know Brown's music as a member of 70s spiritual ... CD
A surprisingly redemptive set of work – given that it's inspired by a time in the life of tenorist Allen Lowe when he was hardly able to sleep at all! The massive 3CD package works as this beautiful suite of tracks united by unexpected twists and turns along the way – very much woven ... CD
A really fierce blend of avant jazz and post-punk energy – served up here by a group that effortlessly mix complicated reed lines with more driving drums and electric bass – all peppered with vocal contributions from singer Sofia Jernberg! Mats Gustafsson is one of the key forces here ... CD
An essential bit of 70s soul jazz – a real standout in both the catalogs of tenorist Clifford Jordan, and the Stata East label! This is one of those few records where every element is perfect, and all players rise together to a new level of expression – and we'd easily rank this one ... CD
One of the last recordings ever made by the genius trumpeter Jaimie Branch – and a set that shows the bold new direction she was going in, right before she left our planet all too soon! The music here leaps forward from any of Branch's earlier recordings – with harder rhythms, more ... CD
Sublime spiritual jazz from Strata East – one of the label's rarest recordings, and one of its hippest too! The set has an incredibly righteous feel – a blend of keyboards, saxes, guitar, percussion, and vocals that steps off with a very deep feel – one that's heavy on the best ... CD
A monster set of work by one of the funkiest guitar players ever! Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones recorded a number of sides for Prestige Records during the early 70s – but this rare gem came out after all those, in 1975, on the tiny Joka label, and never really got into proper circulation at the ... CD
Fantastic material from Sun Ra – a never-heard 1972 performance at Slugs, and one that captures the group at their most spiritual point! The core of the set is the track "I Roam The Cosmos" – one of the more obscure Ra compositions, and a title that appears here for the first ... CD
A fantastic record from the contemporary Chicago scene – one that both gives bassist Junius Paul his first showcase as a leader, and underscores the richly collaborative energy in which the musician works! The set was recorded at various points in the Windy City underground – with Paul ... CD