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.
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 list them underneath the item — just like we do with LPs —
so look there for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details.
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.
One of the best Shirley Scott albums ever – a wonderfully groovy little set that seems to stand head and shoulders above some of her other trio dates of the 60s! Shirley really hits a nice clean groove here – a sense of tone we don't always hear this beautifully on earlier Prestige ... LP, Vinyl record album
A very cool little set – not a hokey album of big band music, but instead a set that has Hammond hero Shirley Scott taking on some of the same territory as Jimmy Smith on Verve Records! By that, we mean that she teams with arranger Oliver Nelson – who gives Shirley a very cool groove, ... LP, Vinyl record album
A nice little 60s album by Johnny Hodges – one of the few post-Verve sessions that has him still playing in the hard swinging Ellingtonia small combo mode of the 50s! Players are all strong – and include Jimmy Jones, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance, Harry Carney, and Paul Gonsalves – and ... LP, Vinyl record album
A perennial favorite in the John Coltrane catalog – a beautiful set of standards, handled in a warm laidback style – but which still has some of the depth of soul that John Coltrane brought to his more experimental work on Impulse Records! The album's a classic introduction to the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A landmark album of vocal jazz – and one of the few sessions that John Coltrane ever cut with a singer! In a way, the album's more Hartman's than it is Coltrane's – given that Johnny's warm, mellow style of singing isn't as free and open as Trane at his most adventurous – but at ... LP, Vinyl record album
A record that bursts out with a sound that definitely lives up to its striking title – as Ornette Coleman explores the new frontiers of experimental jazz with one of his great groups from the end of the 60s! The album's got the intensity of the best ESP sessions of the period, but also shows ... LP, Vinyl record album
Very groovy work from Chico – still very Latin at the core, but with lots of light 60s touches on top, ala the work of Gary McFarland, or some of the other groove-conscious arrangers for Verve and Impulse! Players on the set include Art Farmer, Clark Terry, JJ Johnson, Seldon Powell, and Pat ... LP, Vinyl record album
An essential piece of 60's avant garde jazz that often gets overlooked because the album is split between two different leaders – but with John Coltrane and Archie Shepp at the helm, what leaders they be! Shepp leads a quartet that includes Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Barre Phillips on bass, ... LP, Vinyl record album
Really wonderful early work from Keith Jarrett – a spiritually-driven session that's free from the cliches of his later work! The album's a spectacular group effort – one that has Jarrett playing piano, percussion, and sax – in an ensemble that also includes Dewey Redman, Charlie ... LP, Vinyl record album
Sweet funky 70s work from Cannonball Adderley – a record that has him revisiting older tunes from his early soul jazz years – but in ways that give them a whole new electric vibe overall! The album's actually Cannonball's last full studio set, but it's also one of his greatest too ... LP, Vinyl record album
A key point in the development of the Miles Davis sound of the 60s – his first album to feature work from Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams – augmented by some equally nice work on other tracks from Victor Feldman and Frank Butler! The sound here is beautifully spare – ... LP, Vinyl record album
Larry Coryell tries out his vocal chops a bit on this album with his classic group from the early 70s – but the main "voice" on the record is still his wonderfully tight guitar – which has a beautifully sharp sound throughout! When Coryell sings, he almost seems to be doing ... LP, Vinyl record album