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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.
Soaring soul from Carlos Garnett – one of the reedman's key 70s sides for the Muse Records label – work we'd rank right up there with the spiritual best of Gary Bartz or Norman Connors at the time! Like both of those contemporaries, Garnett's really reaching for something new in the ... CD
A stone 70s classic from reedman Carlos Garnett – and a set that's every bit as righteous as you'd guess from the cover and the title! Garnett really soars to the heavens here – blowing a mixture of different instruments in a setting that takes off from his classic Black Love album, ... CD
A mighty nice collection of work from the second chapter in the career of piano legend Ramsey Lewis – work that he recorded for Columbia Records in the 70s and 80s, after his initial run at Chess – and with a sound that's even groovier and more soulful than before! Ramsey in the 70s ... CD
Killer electric work from Herbie Hancock – right on par with his groundbreaking Headhunters set, but a bit spacier too! The album features a Headhunters-solid lineup – with Bennie Maupin on saxes, Paul Jackson on bass, Mike Clark on drums, and Bill Summers on percussion – all ... CD
We love the 70s work of Japanese pianist Fumio Karashima – and this album is one of our favorites from the decade! Fumio's got this way of being both bold and lyrical at the same time – long flows on the keyboard that are partly in the school of McCoy Tyner, but used to transform the ... CD
Cosmic jazzy genius from Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen – the kind of a record that sounds like it should have come out of Detroit or Chicago in the early 70s – and not the Texas scene from which the group hailed! The Lightmen have a vibe that reminds us a lot of The Pharoahs or some ... CD
An album from Junior Mance that's a real cut above – a live date in Tokyo that has the pianist working with great help from Frank Wess on tenor sax and flute – a hell of a bandmate, and a really sparkling talent in this setting! The whole thing's got a bite and edge that really stands ... CD
A rare vocal session from pianist Takehiro Honda – one recorded with American singer Mama T, who sings here in English throughout! Mama's name is one that might make you think she's a blues singer – but her approach is mostly that of a 60s soul jazz vocalist – jazz at the core, ... CD
An incredible performance from one of the greatest saxophonists to ever grace the Japanese scene – a player with a sense of power, tone, and phrasing that rivals avant greats like Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, or David Murray! Yet Karou Abe is also a player all unto himself – with a ... CD
A fresh set of work from drummer Kendrick Scott – a lean trio set that features excellent interplay with the bass of Ruben Rogers and tenor of Walter Smith III – the latter of whom really gets a chance to take off in the setting! We've loved Smith on other records, but here the freedom ... CD
A gem of a record from a stretch when the great Art Farmer was really continuing to perfect his sound – an album of understated brilliance that really showcases that special touch that Farmer could bring to a session! Art blows flugelhorn throughout – still in that cool, compressed ... CD
Fantastic work from bassist Gunter Lenz – a set with maybe a jokey title, but a heck of a lot of power underneath – one of those overlooked German jazz gems from a very special time in the scene! The players here are aware of the farther reaches of jazz, yet work together with more ... CD