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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 full-length look at a group who only ever issued a few tracks back in the day, but who were clearly one of the leading lights of the scene way up in Minnesota during the 60s! These guys have a warmth and way of harmonizing that's a nice change from some of their contemporaries on the garagey ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really unique record, one that seems to mix some of the spacey sounds of the electronic ambient world of the early 80s underground with more tuneful, song-based modes of the post-punk generation – all at a level that seems to move effortlessly between both sorts of styles! There's ... LP, Vinyl record album
The Vaqueros created music hundreds of miles from the ocean – working in the Twin Cities in the 60s – but that didn't stop them from creating some mighty nice surf numbers at the time, which were then mixed with more rocking numbers that sported a very cool female singer in the lead! ... LP, Vinyl record album
Totally wonderful work from this overlooked 60s duo – Jon Abdnor and Javonne Braga – a pair who recorded for the very cool underground pop powerhouse Abnak Records, and have this rough-edged quality that really makes the music wonderful all the way through! The style is as groovy and ... LP, Vinyl record album
To most ears, trumpeter Jon Hassell first burst on to the world through his experiments with Brian Eno on EG Records, or maybe his 80s work on ECM – but here, on his debut for the small avant label Lovely Music, it's clear that Jon's already in complete control of his sound – and is ... LP, Vinyl record album
A career-spanning look at the legendary Twink – the British psychedelic genius who was a key part of the Pretty Things and Pink Fairies, and an even more legendary artist on his own – continually creative over the decade, at a quality level that even has later tracks sounding every bit ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really rare chapter in the career of the great Link Wray – a set of vocal tunes that were done at a time when most folks knew Wray as just a guitarist turning out amazing instrumentals! The album was issued only briefly in 1964, as an unusual chunk of work from Wray's time at the Swan ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really cool concept album from the Chicago scene of the late 60s – a set that has dreamy sunshine pop harmonies blended with some darker psychedelic elements – all at a level that resonates strongly with the Dunwich production the whole thing received! There's almost a UK late 60s ... LP, Vinyl record album
The last album that Crow would ever give the world, and a great capper to their short by strong run of records in the early 70s! Like so many of the harder-edged American rock groups of the time, these guys have moved completely past the blues that inspired their initial sounds – working out ... LP, Vinyl record album
The fantastic lost legacy of The Harlots Of 42nd Street – a cross-dressing group who were Manhattan contemporaries of the New York Dolls, but who never got their best shot at fame! If anything, the group's lyrics are grittier than the Dolls – more in the streetwise/street scene mode of ... LP, Vinyl record album
There's a guy who looks like a priest on the cover, but the sounds within are much more the stuff of hell than heaven – surprisingly raw work from a group who were years ahead of their time in the way they handled their guitars! Royal Aircoach aren't just another lost garage band from the ... LP, Vinyl record album
An undisputed masterpiece, and a record we never tire of hearing – unabashedly the inspiration for our years of jazzy exploration as adults, even though it was probably the closest thing we ever got to the genre as wee lads! Walter Becker & Donald Fagan raise their already-high bar to ... LP, Vinyl record album