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.
A totally great little record that refers to itself as "calypsojazz innovations" – but which is even better than that label might make you think! The groove here is hardly calypso – as it's funkier, chunkier, and a much more heavy take on inspirations from the islands than we' ... LP, Vinyl record album
A crowning moment of achievement for trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah – a record that draws on his rich experience working with Sun Ra, but focuses the energy into a warmer, more spiritual jazz setting overall! The album's a lost treasure from the US scene of the late 70s – a perfect melding ... LP, Vinyl record album
Never-issued work by 60s Swedish modern jazz legend Gilbert Holmstrom – one of the most freely improvising musicians on his scene at the time! The set brings together two long selections recorded in 1968 – even more far-reaching material than Gilbert's famous Quintet album a few years ... LP, Vinyl record album
Legendary South African bassist Johnny Mbizo Dyani, in a setting that's completely different than some of his other recordings – a sublime solo performance from the late 70s, and one that features Dyani sounding even more spiritual than ever! Johnny's music is always fantastic – and ... LP, Vinyl record album
A funky gem from 70s Poland – heavy grooves from maestro Henryk Debich, served up in a range of soulful styles! The tunes here are all instrumental – and range from Barry White-styled tracks, to big band funk, to other more complicated numbers with a soundtrack vibe – all laid ... LP, Vinyl record album
A beautifully understated session from Polish pianist Wojciech Kaminski – one that's certainly focused strongly on his work on the keys, but which also features key contributions from other players as well! The style here is a mix of modes from various jazz generations – sometimes the ... LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible modern jazz from the Polish scene of the 60s – a rare album by pianist Andrzej Trzaskowski, featuring work by American trumpeter Ted Curson! Like the work of Komeda from the time, the album is a bold, fresh, modern statement that's clearly steeped in work by other 60s American ... LP, Vinyl record album
A beautiful live set from Michal Urbaniak's legendary Constellation group – one of the most important fusion combos in the Eastern European scene of the 70s, and a groundbreaking ensemble that also featured his wife Urszula Dudziak on vocals! There's an approach here that's a bit freer than ... LP, Vinyl record album
A fantastic debut album from saxophonist Kuba Wiecek – a musician who may well be ready to carry forward the strong legacy of Polish modern jazz from the 60s and 70s! Wiecek works here in a trio setting, with bass and drums – in the mode begun by Sonny Rollins in the late 50s, but ... LP, Vinyl record album
Aqueduct Ensemble is more of a duo than the large group you'd expect from their name – but they manage to serve up some very spacious sounds over the course of these improvised tracks! The core of the group features Stu on piano and Kit on woodwinds and electronics – acoustic elements ... LP, Vinyl record album
A glorious send off from J Dilla – with some of the most soulful productions Dilla's ever laid down – and appearances by Common, D'Angelo, Pharoahe Monch, Madlib, MED, Black Thought and others! It's impossible to listen to The Shining without considering the sad circumstances ... LP, Vinyl record album
A fantastic funky follow-up to the first Mr Thing compilation from BBE – and a set that's equally filled with rare and soulful grooves! If we didn't know better, we'd swear he went into our crates and pilfered our own record collections – because the package contains plenty of ... LP, Vinyl record album