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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.
Very righteous work from Esther Marrow – an overlooked soul singer who works with a hell of a lot of pride and power! The set's an overlooked gem in the Fantasy catalog of the 70s, and it's one of only two secular soul albums cut by Marrow – and quite possibly the best of the bunch, ... LP, Vinyl record album
A funky little record from Chuck Berry – one that has him picking up a bit of Memphis soul, but in ways that are nicely different from the sound of Stax and Hi Records! Berry's guitar work still gets plenty of play, but there's also a nice current of deep soul in the overall arrangements ... LP, Vinyl record album
A classic 60s album by the Four Tops – really one of their better efforts of the period – a record that finds the group working some soulful magic on a couple of their best known tunes, as well as adding a dose of deeper emotion to some hit songs of the time! Like other Motown success ... LP, Vinyl record album
Janet's massive follow up to Rhythm Nation 1814 and it's a triumph, too – delivering on all the strengths of other peak era efforts and slyly working in some stylistic detours along the way – asserting herself here as strongly as ever! Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis once again show why they' ... LP, Vinyl record album
Not the first album from Janet Jackson, but definitely the one that put her over the top – and a record that also set the standard for so much more soul music to come – thanks to the production efforts of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis! Jam and Lewis had been doing some great work for other ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the few cases in the history of pop music where the record is worth all the hype! Marvin blew everyone's mind when he unleashed this amazing suite of political soul tunes – not only just because he'd moved past the simple love songs of earlier years, but also because he was working ... LP, Vinyl record album
A stunner of a solo album from Diana Ross – one that has her working beautifully with the team of Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson – really taking off here into some wonderful new territory! The Ashford & Simpson sound is very much in place here – a soaring, joyous approach ... LP, Vinyl record album
Slightly later than some of Isaac Hayes' biggest Stax albums – but a great little record that's filled with some excellent smooth soul material! The record shows Hayes really trying to push his style to new levels, and it's got a sophistication that you don't hear on earlier albums – a ... LP, Vinyl record album
If you think that Chuck Berry only hit his heights at Chess Records, then get ready to change your mind – as this late 60s record for Mercury is quite a cooker! Side one has Berry working in a cool hybrid of blues and soul, but with some very weird production – handled by Chuck himself ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the greatest albums ever in the history of funk – the first album by The Meters, and virtually the blueprint for countless funky records to come! The set marked a key moment when energy from the funky 45 underground of 7" singles was able to step forward into the space of a full ... LP, Vinyl record album
Seminal work from The Meters – and an album that's essential for just about any collection of old school funk! The record's a blueprint for grooves that have been copied for generations to come – yet nobody does it better than these Crescent City kings – working here with a sound ... LP, Vinyl record album
The Meters are struttin plenty here – stepping out with those hard, tight New Orleans grooves that practically changed the way funk sounded in the 60s – and which had a huge impact on the sound of so many other groups in the decade to come! The approach here is wonderfully lean – ... LP, Vinyl record album