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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.
Swamp Dogg on Island Records – still recording in the early 70s, but already part of the surprisingly long legacy for the alter ego of southern soul giant Jerry Williams! Williams works here with a great core band that features guitar from Travis Wammack – in a style that's a bit funky ... LP, Vinyl record album
The rare first album by The Brief Encounter – a mid 70s funk group from North Carolina, but one who doesn't feel like a southern soul combo at all – as they work here with a sweet, strong, and jazzy flavor that makes them feel like the best of the California scene in the 70s! The group ... LP, Vinyl record album
An amazing setting for the righteous words and message of Nikki Giovanni – as the set has the poet working with backing vocals by the New York Community Choir, who also recorded a great soul album on RCA around the same time – and an overall approach that elevates Nikki's poetry into a ... LP, Vinyl record album
Steve Arrington's got a long long legacy in soul music – one that goes back to his late 70s work on Slave – but he also sounds completely contemporary here, working in collaboration with a whole host of producers who were no doubt influenced by his creations of the past, and help ... LP, Vinyl record album
A masterpiece of southern soul – even if the record hides underneath a somewhat unassuming cover! The set was originally done for the Back Beat side of the Duke/Peacock label from Houston – but was recorded in Memphis with some great early work from Willie Mitchell, all in a lean mode ... LP, Vinyl record album
Amazing sounds from one of the all-time greats – the legendary Little Willie John – not only a key inspiration to James Brown, but one of the formative forces in soul music at the start of the 60s! The material here was cut by King Records at the height of its R&B years, but it ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's ... LP, Vinyl record album
A sweet set of spiritual jazz funk – a gem of a set from an Ohio group of the 70s, but one that was initially only issued on CD by the Black Fire label many years later! The ensemble's led by singer/pianist Clarence Young – and has a very message-oriented approach – sort of a ... LP, Vinyl record album
A deep soul treasure! You've probably never heard of the team of Eddie & Ernie, but they've risen to fame over the years with collectors of rare 60s soul – and have recently been immortalized on volumes of Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures, one of the most important soul compilation ... LP, Vinyl record album
Great work from Little Bob – aka Lil Bob, aka Camille Bob – a New Orleans soul singer with a nicely funky edge! The album's almost got more of a mid 60s James Brown inspiration than some of Bob's southern contemporaries – with backing from the super-tight Lollipops, who really ... LP, Vinyl record album
A killer instrumental album of hard organ grooves and funky basslines! This was the album that broke Funk Inc out of their Indianapolis scene, and made them a force to be forever reckoned with in the history of funky jazz. The album grooves hard in the same sound as some of the classic work by ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most unique albums to ever come out of the Miami soul scene of the 70s – a sublime set of work that we'd easily rank right up there with the best material of the time from Donny Hathaway or Stevie Wonder! Milton Wright has a really jazzy groove to his music – and he mixes ... LP, Vinyl record album