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.
Twin organs back to back – and a heck of a hard-wailing set from Groove Holmes and Jimmy McGriff! The album cooks from the very first note – and features long tunes that open up with the same sort of solo-heavy approach that you'd get on Holmes' Prestige albums of the 60s – very ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the best-ever BYG/Actuel sessions, and one that has the unlikely pairing of east coast avant players Sonny Murray and Byard Lancaster with Art Ensemble bassist Malachi Favors. Murray plays drums, and reads a bit of poetry, while the band wails behind him in powerful turgid lines of hard ... LP, Vinyl record album
Doin Allright? Dexter's doing great on this one – working with that fully mature Blue Note sound of his – a rich approach to soloing that keeps the tracks cooking with excitement! The group on the set's an all-star lineup that includes Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Horace Parlan on ... LP, Vinyl record album
Excellent Willis Jackson session from the early 70's that was produced by Paul Winley, and which has the same groovy funky jazz feel as some of Winley's other work from the time – like Harlem Underground. The record includes Willis' funky version of "Ain't No Sunshine" that was on ... LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible material from Max's "plus 4" group that included Ray Draper, George Coleman, Booker Little, and Art Davis! The band at the time was forging a haunting mix of hardbop and lyrical modernism, and was driven by Max's progressive vision and rich talent for selecting just the right ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of Louie's hippest records – a hard grooving set of tracks recorded live, with a swinging off-beat edge that's very different than some of his other straighter work. The players include Conte Candoli on trumpet, Joe Maini on alto, Willie Green on tenor, and Bill Perkins on baritone ... LP, Vinyl record album
A good collection of work from Miles' early days at Columbia working with Coltrane, up through the pre-Bitches Brew years with the classic Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams lineup. Titles include "Walkin (live)", "All Blues (live)", "Someday My ... LP, Vinyl record album
Far and away the greatest album that Brother To Brother ever cut – and a monster record that's satisfying all the way through! At their roots, the band have an ensemble funk style similar to many other 70s groups – but they also add in a lot of jazzy changes and a nascent sense of a ... LP, Vinyl record album
A goofy LP in it's own right, with wine instruction and music, but it's also been sampled by the Beastie Boys, on that part of "Check Your Head" where they talk about being in the townhouse of the guy in New York. The sample jumps right out at you, and there's a lot of other goofy ... LP, Vinyl record album
JB's wildest album, with a crazy cover that shows him running away from the devil, and great gatefold inner photo with him standing amidst a bunch of declarations of "Hell". The record is a double album filled with lots of different styles from James' funky bag. Nicer bits include " ... LP, Vinyl record album
Smooth mellow soul from one of the great under-discovered talents of the 70s! David Oliver has a sweet voice that's kind of inspired by Marvin Gaye's more sexy work for Motown – but which is also produced here by Wayne Henderson with a slightly jazzy tip, and some spacey arrangements that ... LP, Vinyl record album
Amazing work from The Voices Of East Harlem – a group with roots in gospel, but working here in a wonderfully soaring secular soul style – complete with arrangements and production from the legendary Leroy Hutson! The style here is similar to some of Leroy's best work, and that of his ... LP, Vinyl record album