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.
Insanely wonderful early work from Charlie Mariano – some of the freshest, cleanest alto sax work of its time – blown with a tone and sense of soul that goes way beyond some of Mariano's contemporaries at the time! The album was recorded for Bethlehem Records, and is relatively ... CD
Brilliant early work from Charlie Mariano – key proof of his genius, and one of the main albums we'd recommend by him! The album has Charlie coming of his years in the Boston scene – boppish at some level, but blowing with a raspy soulfulness that really opens up his horn into new ... CD
One of the most stunning later sets from the great Art Blakey – a record that reminds us that although Blakey had a great talent for picking key younger players to work with during the 80s, he could also still be one hell of a drummer as well! The tracks here are incredibly long and open ... CD
A beautiful later set from bassist Richard Davis – recorded in collaboration with pianist John Hicks, who provides some nicely rich sounds alongside Davis' well-played lines! Davis both bows and plucks his bass – with that round, full sound we loved from his 70s solo sessions – ... CD
Bassist Richard Davis has always been a genius – and even in his later years, he continues to create these magical sounds that nobody else can touch! Davis steps out here in so many unusual, sublime styles that we're newly impressed with his talents – has he bows the bass on some ... CD
One of the coolest, grooviest albums you'll ever hear from the legendary percussionist Airto – a set that mixes his own Brazilian roots with the electric genius of 70s CTI – all with stunning results! Airto's in the lead – and blows some beautiful wood flute lines alongside ... CD
A beautiful trio session from guitarist Phil Upchurch – a real back-to-basics session that's quite different than Phil's smooth jazz of the 70s, and his mixture of soul and funk in the 60s! The style here is more like a classic guitar jazz album from years back – with Phil on guitar, ... CD
A grand connection from David Matthews – one of the keyboardist's fusion sets for the Japanese Electric Bird label, who gave Matthews a great showcase for his electric grooves in the 80s! The sound here is kind of an extension of the funky electric big band sides that Matthews scored for ... CD
A sweet funky classic from guitar genius George Benson – and a record that features some surprising soul arrangements from Pee Wee Ellis – also known for his classic work with the James Brown Band of the late 60s! Pee Wee's got a tighter groove here than on some of George's earlier CTI ... CD
An album with one of the most compelling covers ever featured on the CTI label – a fantastic achievement for ultra-hip arranger Don Sebesky! Don first got his start working on complicated charts for 60s singers and musicians – an early legacy of music that really set him apart, and ... CD
Massive music from funky reedman Joe Farrell – quite possibly our favorite of his legendary 70s run for CTI – and that's saying a lot, given how great those records are! There's a lean, edgey groove to the set that's totally great – a lot more bite than usual for CTI, thanks to ... CD
One of the strongest fusion sets we've ever heard from baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber – cut at a time when he was playing so much great music on other folks' records, but hardly ever got to shine on his own! Cuber's got a lean quality with his instrument that makes it a surprisingly good ... CD