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, 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.
Don't be put off by the staid sound of "concert" in the title – because the album's a great set of swingin' live McDuff, recorded at his prime, with the classic quartet of George Benson, Red Holloway, and Joe Dukes. The album's filled with screamin' groovers throughout, including a ... LP, Vinyl record album
Tight trio material from the legendary Richard Groove Holmes – caught live at Count Basie's Nightclub in Harlem, working hard and heavy with a trio that features Gene Edwards on guitar and George Randall on drums! This live set is the kind of record that beautifully shows why Groove was so ... LP, Vinyl record album
Stitt & McDuff in a very tasty set of organ/tenor grooves, played with that style that Prestige was finally beginning to perfect in the early 60s, as it let these organ combos shake off their 50's R&B sound, and start to hit a straighter jazz groove. Art Taylor's on drums, Eddie Diehl's on ... LP, Vinyl record album
Some of the best work ever from pianist Billy Taylor – and some of the earliest too! Taylor's 50s trio with Earl May and Percy Brice is augmented here by conga work by the great Candido – and this addition brings a lot of fire to the group, giving Taylor's normally safe style a harder ... LP, Vinyl record album
2 classic Miles/Coltrane albums are compiled here on a nice double LP set with good extra notes on the sessions. Miles and Trane are backed by the classic Red Garland/Paul Chambers/Philly Joe Jones rhythm section, and the set appears to include a few more tracks than the original LPs (although we'r ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most hard-edged albums ever cut by pianist Elmo Hope – and a smoking date that features lots of great tenor from Frank Foster – who'd recorded previously with Hope on Blue Note! Foster's at his deep, soulful early best here – not as much of the familiar Basie-driven ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great lost groover on Prestige – and an album that puts the soulful organ of Johnny Hammond Smith into contact with the groovy vibes of Freddie McCoy – one of the label's best under-reissued players! The tracks have a nice raw soul jazz sound – and the combination of vibes and ... LP, Vinyl record album
Some excellent Monk from the mid 50s – recorded between the early Blue Note sides and the later revolutionary ones for Riverside, all featuring Monk in some pretty heavy tenor company! Side one features Monk playing with Frank Foster, Ray Copeland, Curley Russell, and Art Blakey – on ... LP, Vinyl record album
A real killer from Brother Jack McDuff – one of his first truly great albums, and a record that has him breaking from the sleepier R&B organ sound of the 50s – into the leaner, cleaner mode of the 60s! The album's one of the first to have him playing with the incredible drummer Joe ... LP, Vinyl record album
A landmark meeting of two talents! This rare session has the poet Langston Hughes reading his own jazz-based work, set to arrangements by Charles Mingus, with additional work by Horace Parlan. Hughes' voice is incredible – a bit frail, with a wispy integrity that really opens up his own ... LP, Vinyl record album
The tenor sax here makes the album a standout – as John Coltrane still works with Miles Davis on 2 tracks for the record, but Blue Note stalwart Hank Mobley joins in on the rest! The approach is similar to that of the classic Coltrane/Davis years – and in a way, the record's kind of a ... LP, Vinyl record album
A post-Blue Note effort, and Donald's changing things up a bit with his 125th Street Orchestra and Uptown Singers – funking along in a way you'd expect from the longwinded title! Byrd loostens up the smoother backgrounds of his recent Larry Mizell helmed work, and in their place are grooves ... LP, Vinyl record album