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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 our favorite albums ever by the Art Ensemble of Chicago – a key French session that captures the group at the height of their powers! The centerpiece of the album is the extended track "Certain Blacks (Do What They Wanna)" – done in a beautiful mix of politics and free ... LP, Vinyl record album
Terrace Martin is an artist who just keeps on getting deeper and deeper over the years – an already-great jazz musician, but one who's widened his scope to touch on broader currents of soul and hip hop – all of which really open up with the jazz-based energy at the core! At some level, ... LP, Vinyl record album
To fans of the group Rush, the title of this record has a very different meaning than the common one – and, no surprise, pianist Brad Mehldau is actually referencing that song by the group here – which he performs on the record, along with some of their other work – and adds in ... LP, Vinyl record album
Incredible work from keyboardist George Duke – a killer collection of his earliest recordings for the MPS label – all of them great! Although Duke's probably best known for his smoother, more soul-based sides for Columbia, he got his biggest start on the MPS label in the early 70s ... LP, Vinyl record album
A double-length set from guitarist Mary Halvorson – with two different albums in the package! First up is Amaryllis – a record that has the fantastic guitar of Mary Halvorson amidst so many other sounds and shapes – delivered by a lineup that features Patricia Brennan on vibes, ... LP, Vinyl record album
A seminal jazz funk session of the 70s – Herbie Hancock's legendary meeting with The Headhunters, and a killer batch of tunes that really gave the combo their name! Herbie's playing a wide range of keys here – including Fender Rhodes, clavinet, and Arp – but almost even better is ... LP, Vinyl record album
What can we say? This is the ultimate Miles Davis album – the one that includes so many songs that we've heard way too much in Starbucks, in retail stores, or at a friend's house who claims to be a "jazz expert", but is really a yuppie dilettante. Yet somehow, over all the years, ... LP, Vinyl record album
A beautiful solo piano set by Cecil Taylor – recorded live in Ohio in 1973, and originally released on his own small Unit Core label. The work is a perfect example of how Cecil was stretching himself at the time – working in a mode that was part free jazz, part 70s spiritualism, ... LP, Vinyl record album
The legendary Phil Ranelin has been giving us great music for decades – yet he still sounds as fresh and vibrant here as ever – working in a small combo that really lets us focus on his phrasing and imagination on trombone, and his very righteous way of putting over a tune! Phil's ... LP, Vinyl record album
Maybe one of the most beautiful albums we've heard from William Hooker in years – and a set that has so much more to offer than just his work on drums! There's certainly some of the freer, more improvised moments on the record that you'd expect from Hooker – but there's also these ... LP, Vinyl record album
Guitarist Calvin Keys has really been going strong in recent years, but this album may well be one of the best he's given us in the past decade or so – in part because he's opened the door to some really fantastic guest work on the session! In addition to Calvin's own distinctive guitar ... LP, Vinyl record album
A full three albums by the legendary Pyramids – all packaged together in one complete set, with an unreleased bonus album too! The Pyramids recorded three key records during the 70s – each of them an underground classic, all served up in a wonderful bit of spiritual soul jazz with a ... LP, Vinyl record album