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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.
One of the darkest Sun Ra albums of the early 70s – and a set that's also a bit unusual in his catalog as well! The album was issued during Ra's run with Impulse Records – a period that mostly saw the label reissue previous records from the Saturn catalog – save for a rare few ... LP, Vinyl record album
The final album issued by Impulse Records in their short-lived, ill-fated partnership with Sun Ra – and maybe the most far-reaching of the bunch! The album features three long tracks – all of them relatively open and unbridled – put together with less of a song structure than ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great lost album from Sun Ra – one of a handful that he recorded on a legendary trip to Egypt in 1971 – live throughout, with that special sort of flavor that the Arkesta picked up while visiting the land of the pyramids! The work was recorded in Cairo – by a lineup that ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really beautiful record from South African trombonist Malcolm Jiyane – a set that's got plenty of the earthy, organic currents of SA jazz from years past – but which also has a very distinct flavor of its own! Malcolm is a player who really uses his instrument to explore sound first, ... LP, Vinyl record album
Here's a summer house we'd really like to visit on our next vacation – a legendary spot in Sweden, where Don Cherry created freely with some of the hippest players on the local scene in 1968! The tracks here were all recorded for later commercial release, which never ended up happening ... LP, Vinyl record album
A really cool little set that's maybe a bit jazz, and a bit "something else" – instrumental sounds from keyboardist Roland Bocquet, who you might know from his work in the group Catharsis – served up here with all sorts of cool elements that move between jazz fusion, spacey ... LP, Vinyl record album
Fantastic material from the legendary Sun Ra – groundbreaking solo piano material, which shows a completely different side of his genius away from his work with the Arkestra! The package presents all volumes of Ra's seminal sides from 1966 – including a third volume, which has never ... LP, Vinyl record album
Sun Ra made some really wonderful music in Rome during the year 1977 – heard most famously on his albums for the Horo Records label, and now on this unreleased session from the time! The album features Ra at his straightest, and most soulful – playing piano and other keyboards with ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the greatest Sun Ra records from the early 80s – and a set that's every bit as striking as its sinister title! The album was recorded in 1982 – in marathon New York sessions that yielded more than one album's worth of material – but of all of them, this is probably the ... LP, Vinyl record album
This isn't the first time that Joe McPhee and Paal Nilssen-Love have recorded together – but the set may well be their best – a beautiful batch of duets that have the pair really blowing us away with their sympathetic spontaneous creative activity! There's a spiritual core here that ... LP, Vinyl record album
Some of the earliest music ever from groundbreaking French pianist Jef Gilson – and proof that right at the start, he was already in a unique space that was all his own! Gilson was a real standout in the European postwar scene – and he was one of the first in the 60s to really try to ... LP, Vinyl record album
A real standout in the 70s catalog of reedman Steve Lacy – and that's saying a lot, given that he gave us so many fantastic records in the decade! The album's proof that the Horo Records label had a great knack for capturing key players in some different, but fantastic formations – and ... LP, Vinyl record album