We realize that there are many different interpretations of the standard grades used
for pre-owned vinyl record albums & CD, so we thought we'd offer you the ones that we are working with,
so you have an idea what we mean when we give the grade for a non-new item on our pages.
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, please note that 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 have only one grade for non-new CDs at Dusty Groove — "Used CD".
This grade is somewhat all-encompassing, but we choose it because we try to offer
Used CDs in the best shape possible. All of our Used CDs are guaranteed to play
without skipping or flaws. If you purchase a Used CD from Dusty Groove,
you have 1 week to play it to determine that it plays correctly — and if it does not,
then you may return it for a full refund.
With our Used CDs, you can expect the disc to be free of all but the lightest of
surface marks — clean, and not dirty at all. You can also expect the case to be
clean (we often change the cases ourselves — putting fresh cases on Used CDs we
handle) — and you can expect the booklet to be in good shape, unless noted
otherwise. We will list any specific details/defects underneath the item — so
look for notes on cutout marks in the case, stamps on the barcode, or details like that.
A rare later date from tenor giant Arnett Cobb – and one of the few to match the groove of his Prestige Records sessions! There's an easygoing groove here that takes us back to the brilliantly understated soul of Cobb's Party Time Records – as the set's got a similar laidback rhythm ... LP, Vinyl record album
A session of "collectors items" that Miles Davis recorded for Prestige in the 50s – both dates that were too short to be issued as albums by themselves, combined here into one full length record! The first batch of material is from 1953 – and features Davis working with Sonny ... LP, Vinyl record album
A 60s compilation of some of Zoot's great work during the 10" days at Prestige – back when he was playing with a bit more fire than in some of his later work. Half the tracks are cut with a small group that includes Kenny Drew and Stu Williamson – and the other half are cut with a ... LP, Vinyl record album
Eddie Lockjaw Davis swings way out here – working in that cool cooking mode from the 50s, with organist Shirley Scott a very important partner on the date! The group's got a larger sound than usual – thanks to the addition of trombonist Steve Pullman – a player we don't know much ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the few Cobb sides for Prestige to feature an organist, in this case the obscure player Austin Mitchell. The record's got a pretty deep gutbuckety groove, thanks to trombonist Buster Cooper, the other main soloist on the album. Cobb's rich Texas tenor is firmly in place – and titles ... LP, Vinyl record album
Very righteous material from Gary Bartz – and one of his classic NTU Troop albums, with Andy Bey on vocals and electric piano, and the great Stafford James playing some mighty heavy bass! The tracks are nice and long, with a very soulful sound that mixes freer spiritual playing with a good ... LP, Vinyl record album
Nice nice album on Prestige, bringing together Jug's earlier sides in 2 different settings. The first batch has Ammons "battling" Sonny Stitt in a set of stuff that features hard twin tenors in the frontline, with the kind of cutting contests the two of them would perform live all over ... LP, Vinyl record album
Gene Ammons gets the Cannonball Adderley treatment – as he blows funky solos over an album arranged and conducted by David Axelrod! Brasswind has a larger, fuller funky sound than some of his earlier work for Prestige – and it works very well! The overall sound's a bit smoother, but ... LP, Vinyl record album
Eddie Lockjaw Davis/Coleman Hawkins/Arnett Cobb/Bu
The title's terrible, but the album's a great one – a really classic-styled jam session, of the sort that the Prestige label hardly ever recorded! The session features 4 tenor giants of slightly older vintage – Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Arnett Cobb, and Buddy Tate – ... LP, Vinyl record album
Classic Jug, playing in a laidback open-ended blowing session, with other strong Prestige players – like Coltrane, Jerome Richardson, Paul Quinichette, Art Taylor, and Mal Waldron, who always seems to be the driving force between most Prestige sides like this. The album has only 4 tracks, ... LP, Vinyl record album
An early pairing of Miles Davis & John Coltrane – one of the duo's mid 50s classics for Prestige, as you might guess from the verb in the title! And although "Steamin" might be a word that's a bit too firey to describe the action going on here, the album's got a tremendous ... LP, Vinyl record album
A classic early set from Jack McDuff – and a record that's very much in his own hands, despite the presence of Gene Ammons as a co-leader! The group's more of a McDuff one than an Ammons ensemble – and features the great Joe Dukes on drums, Eddie Diehl on guitar, and Harold Vick on ... LP, Vinyl record album