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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.
Fantastic work from Lee Moses – an underground funky soul singer who never saw great fame in the 70s, but who's hit legendary status in recent years – thanks to collectors and DJs around the world! Lee is best known for his album Time & Place, but he also cut a number of other ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most unique soundtracks of the blacksploitation generation – but maybe that's also because the film Lord Shango was also somewhat different than most – a hipper, more creative movie that took on a number of themes, which are all echoed by Howard Roberts in his music! This ... LP, Vinyl record album
A soul record, but one with a fair bit of "something else" going on as well – and a set that was originally only issued on cassette, which might be why it was missed the first time around! Antonio L Newton, aka Tony Newton, has a long legacy in soul music – including work ... LP, Vinyl record album
Mad funky soul from King Hannibal – a down and dirty singer from the Atlanta scene of the 70s! The notes on the back say "He's black, he's proud, he's arrogant – the combination is powerful" – and we've gotta say that we agree with that assessment, because King really ... LP, Vinyl record album
Genius work from Norman Feels – a virtually unknown mellow soul singer from the 70s, but one who should have been huge! Norman sings with this sweetly crackling style that we loved the moment we first heard it – a sound that's somewhere in territory covered by Marvin Gaye or Leroy ... LP, Vinyl record album
A long-overdue return to music from Tal Ross – the guitarist whose Hendrix-styled licks were such a big part of the early sound of Funkadelic – and which seem to have gotten even greater during the 25 years he was away from the studio! Tal handles all guitars and vocals on the set ... LP, Vinyl record album
A late rare gem from southern soul genius Bobby Patterson – the Texas talent who's best known for his work of the late 60s and early 70s, but who's featured here on a self-released album from the start of the 80s! The approach is a bit like the shift that Malaco Records was making in ... LP, Vinyl record album
A sweet SoCal groover from Cecil Lyde – recorded in LA in the early 80s, with a great mix of funky club and mellow soul modes! Cecil's got a great ear for the grittier side of California funk at the time – tunes that still use the heavy bass and keyboards of mainstream work from the ... LP, Vinyl record album
A mysterious bit of group soul from the 70s scene – a record that's full of original material, and delivered in a style that's very much like the best New Jersey and Philly indie sides from the start of the decade! By that, we mean that the group's a little rough around the edges – and ... LP, Vinyl record album
UK soul from the start of the 90s – and a set that definitely shows some of the best influences of that scene at the time! Sharon Benson's got a soulful voice that gets just the right treatment in the lean backings that are used on the album – some of the crisp, percolated beats of the ... LP, Vinyl record album
Landmark stuff, and a beautiful album that mixes soulful tracks with Donny's nascent jazz sensibility! The set's a key chapter in the history of soul music – a record that has Donny emerging from shadows of the Chicago studio scene to become one of the most promising soul artists of the 70s. ... LP, Vinyl record album
A great record – and the kind of lost soul that has group collectors digging through the used bins year after year! Smoke hailed from Kansas City, and they were sweet harmony group in the mode of many of their east coast contemporaries. The record was recorded in 1976, but has a sound that's ... LP, Vinyl record album