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.
Jonathan Schwartz is the son of composer Arthur Schwartz – and on this sparkling late 70s set, he does a surprisingly great job running through tunes penned by his old man! The group's a big part of the strength of the record – as the combo features Harold Mabern both on acoustic and ... CD
Johnny Mathis takes on the sophisticated soul modes of the 70s, and also adds in a few other styles too – on an album that shows just how much the singer had changed in nearly 20 years of recording – sometimes shaped by all those other artists he'd inspired along the way! The title ... CD
Very cool live work from this ultra-hip Polish vocal group – at a level that both matches their classic records of the time, and also brings in some other groovy surprises too! The setting is live for all these tracks – and the music often features lots of cool organ from the great ... CD
One of Frank Sinatra's last great ballad albums for Capitol – a sad and dreamy batch of tunes that kicks off with the incredible "Only The Lonely" – one of those Sinatra torch songs that's so great, so sad, nobody else has ever been able to record a better version, nor have ... CD
An incredibly groovy record from The Voices In Latin – a one-off studio project headed up by sound library legend Barbara Moore! The set is one of the few commercially-released albums that Moore ever did – and as you might guess from the group's name, the record's got a style that ... CD
Yasuko's on the menu, and she's as sweet as can be on this late 70s set – an album that's even more soul-based than some of her previous efforts! The grooves are nicely upbeat here – hitting a style that's certainly club, but which also has a bit of a funky fusion too – thanks to ... CD
Hauntingly beautiful work from Yasuko Agawa – a set that has some echoes of older jazz and bossa at points, but also slides out in a smooth 70s soul mode too! As on her previous album, arrangements here are all by Susumu Arima – who also produced – and he's quite a maestro when ... CD
A wonderful early album from this hip Japanese singer – done in a mix of jazz and soul that reminds us a lot of Marlena Shaw! The overall style here is perhaps a bit more on the jazz side of the spectrum, but the arrangements and production are definitely influenced by American R&B of ... CD
The colors are rich, but gentle too – like a palette of pastels, all sung by the lovely Claudine Longet! The album's got a slightly more mature feel than some of Longet's first for A&M – great Nick DeCaro arrangements that show some of the deeper elements creeping into pop at the ... CD
Rootsy grooves and heavy rhythms from Baba Commandant – an album recorded in Burkina Faso, and done with a nice blend of guitar, bass, and drums – plus plenty of work on balafon and n'goni! The steel tones of the n'goni ring out nicely next to the warmer percussive melody of the ... CD
A great set of 80s British music that's so post-punk, it's traveled back in time – to rework older garagey sounds from the 50s and 60s for a whole new generation raised on the indie spirit of the late 70s! After years when some British groups were getting quite obtuse, others were getting ... CD
A really great look at the more tuneful side of the UK scene during the prime years of punk rock – a set that doesn't ignore punk for more mainstream material – but instead shows the way the new sound was influencing bands in a variety of styles, who were then also turning things back ... CD