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, please note that 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.
Bossa nova from Herbie Mann – one of our favorite albums ever from the famous flute player – cut for United Artists, and a one-off session that's arguably better than most of his Atlantic work of the time! There's a groove here that's undeniable – a sense of swing that grabs us ... LP, Vinyl record album
Proof that the serious compositional intentions of MJQ member John Lewis could more than be fulfilled – and a nice dramatic score that features a few themes that would later be taken up more fully by Lewis' group. The set is mostly orchestral with jazz touches – featuring Lewis at the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great little record – one that keeps up the high standards set by Teddy Charles' earlier work! The set has a bit of a goofy gimmick – in that it takes work by Russian composers (Stravinsky, Korsakoff, Borodin), and makes it swing with a jazzy groove. But because Charles is working ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great return to form for guitarist Sal Salvador – a player who didn't always get that much time in the spotlight in the 70s, until a big wave of fresh exposure from the Beehive label! Sal got his start in the Stan Kenton group, where he learned a great sense of color and phrasing – ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great little album by this wonderful trumpeter – and one that we passed up for years because we were afraid of the words "brass" and "shout" in the title! If you're a Farmer fan, though, don't worry about this being some sort of snoozy "bold n brassy" session ... LP, Vinyl record album
Wonderful stuff – a rare LP from the early 60's that has master reedman Jerome Richardson running through hip versions of hip tracks from hip (and not-so-hip) movies! Includes nice long versions of "Delilah" and "No Problem" (from Les Liasons Dangereuses), plus "Never ... LP, Vinyl record album
Alive, and plenty lively – one of our favorite albums ever to feature the team of Al Cohn and Zoot Sims – and one that has them really stretching out a lot more than usual! The album's got a format that's quite different than the tightly-reigned sound of Sims and Cohn on other dates ... LP, Vinyl record album
Sanctified, indeed – and just the kind of record to show why Slide Hampton was unlike any of his trombone-playing contemporaries! The set's got a tightness and punch that's really unique – not the compact quality of JJ Johnson and Kai Winding, but also not the hardbop of Curtis Fuller ... LP, Vinyl record album
A nice hardbop revival session for Clifford Jordan – recorded with a style that takes us back to his first years on wax – with an excellent lineup, and a very strong focus on the dynamic of the ensemble! The lineup includes Red Rodney on trumpet and flugelhorn, Jaki Byard on piano, and ... LP, Vinyl record album
Great stuff from Benny Golson! Sure, the record features Benny's tenor set amidst some sweeter R&B arrangements – but the formula works nicely, and is Benny's lost bid to capture some of the same sort of modern soul excitement than Donald Byrd was getting in the 70s. Titles include the ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the greatest Milt Jackson albums ever – thanks to an incredible lineup that features Art Farmer on trumpet and Benny Golson on tenor – both of whom give the record a lot more edge than usual for Jackson! The set's almost a maturation of the earliest modern grooves that Milt ... LP, Vinyl record album
Freddie Hubbard at the peak of his 70s powers – and one of his finest albums of the decade! The record follows strongly in the tone that Freddie set at CTI on his mighty Red Clay and Sky Dive sets – long, drawn out tracks – done with lots of electricity in the rhythms, and a very ... LP, Vinyl record album