Used Vinyl Grades Explained

Adam Bartlett

We get a lot of questions from folks regarding the definitions of our used vinyl grading system. 

The phrases we use are an industry standard set of terms that are generally agreed upon by record dealers and collectors worldwide. For those unfamiliar with the terms we thought it would be helpful to publish some definitions here. Enjoy!

Mint (M)
Absolutely perfect in every way. Never been played and usually sealed. Rarely do we grade any used record as mint.

Near Mint (NM)
Used but nearly new. The vinyl looks glossy and clearly has only been played a few times. There are generally no marks on the vinyl and the whole package is complete.
This is right next door to a brand new album.

Excellent (EX)
A few very light marks where the vinyl has been in and out of the inner sleeve a few times. May include other very minor signs of use. Generally very close to a new record.

Very Good Plus (VG+, our most common grade)
Some light surface marks that generally should not affect play. Definitely no skips, no pops, and should have nearly no surface noise. And if there is, it won’t be audible over the music.

Very Good (VG)
The record is definitely used and has seen a bit of life. May contain very light pops and clicks and will have visible marks on the vinyl. You can still listen to it and enjoy it, but it visually and audibly USED. Sometimes we will grade an LP VG- if it is below VG but better than GOOD.

Good (G)
A playable record but with noticeable faults. Good generally means there will be heavy wear on the vinyl but it will still typically play without skips or excessive pops. Anything with this rating will be priced significantly lower than another LP with a higher grade. Variants: G+, G- for better or lesser versions of GOOD.

Playable but with excessive wear or damage. This may skip, pop, or be warped. Don’t expect much out of records with this grade. Best used for bar copies or party copies. Loan these ones to your friends.

We rarely sell records we would grade as POOR. Typically these will be in the dollar or quarter bin. If they are on our main sales floor in a genre section it’s only because they’re collectible, rare, or in demand and retain value even when in poor condition.

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