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.
A legendary concert – recorded at Massey Hall in Toronto, with a previously-unmatched quintet of superstar bop players – Charlie Parker on alto, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, and Max Roach on drums – all coming together in a performance ... CD
One of our favorite Red Garland albums of the late 50s – thanks to a slightly different rhythm section that features Sam Jones on bass and Art Taylor on drums – both of whom work beautifully with Red in a gutbuckety set of tunes! The style isn't exactly soul jazz, but it's clear that ... CD
An incredible album from Bill Evans – and maybe THE record you need in your collection if you're trying to understand his contribution to jazz! The album's one of Evan's first sides from the Village Vanguard – and features the legendary trio that included Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul ... CD
A beautiful little album from the young John Coltrane, and one that hides its strong sense of depth behind a familiar jazz standard used as a title! In some way, the record is almost experimental for the time – as side one features the tenor of Coltrane alongside just the bass of Earl May ... CD
A bold early statement from a young John Coltrane – and an album that really has him expanding his talents as a tenor soloist! Coltrane's working here in open-ended quartet format – with backing from the Red Garland trio that includes Paul Chambers and Art Taylor – on a set of ... CD
One of the best-ever documents of the young genius of tenorist Wardell Gray – exactly the kind of music that shows why he was one of the biggest and best of the bop saxophonists – before he was taken away from us all too soon! The material here was originally issued on 78s or 45s, and ... CD
Classic Miles Davis from that pivotal year of 1954 – featuring work from 2 different sessions, both of them great! The title track on the album is a key reading of "Bag's Groove", presented here in two versions, both recorded by a quintet that includes Milt "Bags" Jackson ... CD
A great little small group session by Nelson – one that has him working in a quintet with Eric Dolphy, one that shows that Nelson could be a strongly modernist player when he wanted to be! Dolphy plays alto, bass clarinet, and flute – and Nelson's tone is appropriately biting to match ... CD
They're not kidding with the title of this one – because although the record was only Wes Montgomery's second album as a leader, he was already making plenty of waves with the sound of his guitar! The session lines Wes up with the very tight rhythm team of Tommy Flanagan on piano, Percy ... CD
A session of "collectors items" that Miles Davis recorded for Prestige in the 50s – both dates that were too short to be issued as albums by themselves, combined here into one full length record! The first batch of material is from 1953 – and features Davis working with Sonny ... CD
A really fantastic record from reedman Jim Snidero – one that hints at its sound with the "strings" in the title – even though that's just a really tiny part of the overall picture! There's lots more going on here than just a saxophonist with strings – this isn't a ... CD
On My Way & Shoutin Again is a wonderful album of 60s Basie – one that focuses on the writing and arranging talents of the great Neal Hefti! Hefti's one of our favorite soundtrack composers of the decade, but in the years before his film fame, he was a frequent partner of Basie – ... CD