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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.
Great work from Stan Hasselgard – a cool jazz clarinet player who was coming up on the Swedish scene at the same time that Jimmy Giuffre was on the rise in the US – and a musician who made a trip over to Los Angeles in the late 40s, where he cut the really fantastic work that's ... CD
Strong solo work from saxophonist Darius Jones – a set that really lives up to both the "raw" and the "lone operation" in the title – as Jones blows here in a space that's very much all his own – with raw emotionality in the spotlight all the way through! Yet ... CD
An important early album from saxophonist Koichi Matsukaze – maybe not one of the biggest names in Japanese jazz during the 70s, but certainly one of that scene's most striking players! The approach here is quite spiritual – long, open tracks that pulsate strongly – thanks to ... CD
Angel Bat Dawid is a completely mesmerizing artist on record, but she's even more mindblowing in a live setting – where she seems to channel the energy of the skies and the planet into her music – brimming over with righteous energy that guides the rest of the group with a hell of a lot ... CD
An intense album of spiritual jazz tracks – played by Lon Moshe and the Southern Freedom Arkestra – maybe one of the only albums we've ever seen by this lesser-known vibist! The album was recorded in 1976, during the height of the Black Fire DC underground scene – and Moshe's ... CD
A really wonderfully-done collection of work from the legendary Sun Ra – put together by longtime musical partner Marshall Allen, and way way different than the typical mish-mash of tracks you'd find on some of the budget or public domain titles on the market! First off, the track selection ... CD
A fantastic album from Sun Ra and the Arkestra – one that we'd rank right up there with our favorites on the Saturn Records label! The work here has never been issued, and it's extremely beautiful, too – pulled from a few just-discovered studio sessions done after the group was parting ... CD
One of the most ambitious albums to date from the mighty Greg Foat – a set that's different than some of his more intimate affairs, in that it features key contributions from British jazz giants both young and old – all working with Greg's piano, Fender Rhodes, and vibes in a style that' ... CD
A really obscure set from legendary reedman Byard Lancaster – a set that was issued late in the history of the spiritual jazz label Black Fire, but one that's every bit as essential as their music from the 70s! Lancaster works here often with just a bit of percussion in the background – ... CD
Sun Ra left the planet a few decades ago, but his Arkestra has been going strong – really carrying the torch that the great one kept burning – and stepping out here in their first studio album in 20 years! The record is really something special – that core Sun Ra spirit, but ... CD
A great set from saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett – almost back to his roots in the St Louis underground scene, as the album's a live recording of long spiritual jazz tracks, arguably a lot more compelling than most of Bluiett's studio work from the time! The album was recorded at Sweet Basil in ... CD
The first album in many years from German jazz legends Embryo – and a set that hardly has them missing a beat at all from their famous work of the 70s! Part of the strength of the record might be its placement on Madlib's record label – but from the notes, it seems that all the credit ... CD