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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.
Some of the coolest work of the German scene in the 80s – a range of electronic, experimental pop that's very different than both the longer prog recordings of the 70s, and some of the mellower ambient sounds that were also coming out of Germany at the same time! Instead, the cuts here are ... LP, Vinyl record album
Beautiful music from Arthur Russell – some of his most tunefully compelling work ever, but still done with all the offbeat edges we love from his more experimental sounds too! The music often features Russell singing along with processed lines on cello – in this haunting style that at ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of the last Cluster albums recorded for a long stretch – and a set that maybe makes us wonder what Moebius and Roedelius would have done, had they kept on working in this direction! It's almost as if the groundbreaking duo were listening to the creations of the younger generation that ... LP, Vinyl record album
There were some really amazing sounds going down in the Argentine scene of the 70s – and this record is definitely one of the best examples of the scene at its creative height! There's almost as much electric piano on the record as there are vocals – used in all these cool, open styles ... LP, Vinyl record album
Groundbreaking work from the Paris scene of the 70s – a record that's kind of post-prog, post-improvisation, and which maybe sets the scene for sonic experiments on the UK scene in years to come! Philippe Doray is at the helm of his antisocial associates here – a quintet that mixes ... LP, Vinyl record album
The Thin White Duke turns to the east – and gets a whole new sound with help from Brian Eno! The album is an amazing departure from some of David Bowie's previous work – a set that's sparer, more spacious, and which is often instrumental – quite a statement, given Bowie's ... LP, Vinyl record album
A very heady batch of tracks from a young South African group – one who are working in acid-drenched territory years before the bigger fusions of the Zamrock generation – with a raw sound and very trippy vibe, and music that's overflowing in fuzzy guitar work! The music here was never ... LP, Vinyl record album
Led Zeppelin at peak power – mixing hard rock bombast with deep, genuine love for blues and folk guitars! Houses Of The Holy is the essential the blueprint for countless imitators to come – but it's also got smarts, subtleties and creative ambitious that's just plain lost on the ... LP, Vinyl record album
One of our favorite David Bowie albums ever! Aladdin Sane was a real turning point for Bowie – recorded on the heels of the tremendously popular Ziggy Stardust album, but really pushing the boundaries past the more straight-ahead rock and glam of that record. Instead of just sitting on his ... LP, Vinyl record album
David Bowie at his most sinister for the 70s – a landmark set that combines the harder rocking sound of the Ziggy Stardust years with the more sophisticated theatrics of Aladdin Sane – in a style that features some of the darkest, most political work of Bowie's career! There's a depth ... LP, Vinyl record album
A brilliant soul album! That's right, we said SOUL album! Bowie was at the height of his Ziggy Stardust fame when this one was recorded – a drastic left-turn in styles, forged during a point in his American tour when he could take a break, head to Philly, plug in at the Sigma Sound Studios, ... LP, Vinyl record album
An incredibly lovely record from Kraftwerk – fashioned along the same suite-like style as Radio Activity, and served up with some haunting and charming tunes throughout! The electronics are quite spare, yet very thoughtful – never a note out of place, as the quartet build their careful ... LP, Vinyl record album