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.
Early blue eyed soul work from Boz Scaggs – an album that's got a lot more rootsy touches than some of his bigger crossover hits! At one level, the album seems to have a Bay Area-styled approach – genre-blending soul, R&B, and rock influences into a sound that proudly steps forth ... LP, Vinyl record album
Genius work from Denice Williams – a singer who'd cracked the charts a bit as Denice Chandler, with a little girl soul sound, way back in the 60s – but who's grown up considerably by this essential 70s set! Chandler's voice is still a bit high – almost in a Minnie Riperton sort ... LP, Vinyl record album
Bright, bubbly soul from Centerfield – the 80s soul duo of Keni Towns and Phil Jones – who both sing and play most of the instrumentation on the set! The sound's not as lean as you might expect for a duo album – thanks to the addition of some studio help too – but the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great set from Bobby Womack's late 70s years at Columbia Records – one of our favorite records of this chapter in his career! Bobby's move to Columbia in the late 70s did a heck of a lot of good things to his music! At the label, he forged a strong mellow soul sound that still ... LP, Vinyl record album
Wonderful work by Al Johnson – one of the unsung heroes of mellow 70s soul, finally getting his shot on a major label after many years as a songwriter and arranger for other aritsts. Norman Connors brought Al to Columbia – and as he did with other talents in earlier years, like Phyllis ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of Bill Withers' greatest albums of the 70s – a set that has hip stepping off the acoustic sound of his Sussex records, into a warm and jazzy style that we like every bit as much as his earlier work! The album's got a wonderfully sophisticated jazzy vibe, and includes the excellent cut ... LP, Vinyl record album
The birth of Aretha Franklin's soulful sound – a real change from the jazzier sound of her first two albums for Columbia, and a set that really shows some great sides of her talents! Arrangements are by Belford Hendricks, who creates an uptown-styled sort of sound – one that has fuller ... LP, Vinyl record album
Righteous soul from The Free Movement – a mixed male/female harmony group with a feel that's similar to The Fifth Dimension or The Friends Of Distinction, but a bit hipper! The group have a sunny feel that's quite nice – soaring harmonies reaching to the top of the groove on the best ... LP, Vinyl record album
A solid modern soul debut from Gregory Abbott – leanly grooving midtempo production on par with some of the biggest stars at the time – with deeply sinking hooks and beautiful vocals from Gregory! He has that way of rolling from laidback, effortless energy to a sweet falsetto and ... LP, Vinyl record album
An overlooked smooth soul gem from Tyrone Davis – cut during his early years at Columbia, and recorded with a sweet Chicago finish! Arrangements are by James Mack, who also handled the small backing group on the record – and Tyrone's singing with that raspy style we always love, fused ... LP, Vinyl record album
A huge disco cash-in moment of the 70s – but a great one too, and a strong illustration of the power that Casablanca Records had in both the clubs and charts at the time! The movie and record were both a bit over-pressed upon release, but they nonetheless stand as a great snapshot of the way ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the biggest albums ever from The Chambers Brothers – a set that helped them cross over big into the mainstream – shaking off their previous folksy roots with a rumbling approach to psychedelic soul! The record's got a much heavier groove than any of the group's previous work ... LP, Vinyl record album