The Vinyl Grading System
Each album carries an acronym. This acronym displays the record’s overall quality with relevance to industry standards and priced accordingly. Northwest Grooves displays the grading of the vinyl and sleeve on each used record.
A Mint record is perfect. It’s never been played, and it might’ve never been removed from its package. It’s fully sealed, and it has no blemishes or audio distortions. Mint vinyl is rare, and it’s incredibly valuable.
Near Mint (NM)
A Near Mint record is a fantastic investment. It looks glossy, and it’s clearly only been played several times. NM vinyl has little to no markings, and its package is either untouched or nearly untouched. Don’t expect to find any distortions on a NM record. In essence: A NM record is imperfect only in its one-or-two-time use.
An Excellent record is similar to a VG+ record. Its light marks will be difficult to spot, however, as will be its audio distortions. A lot of E-rated records have been in and out of their sleeve only a few times. Their minute signs of use, generally, reflect high-quality care.
Very Good Plus (VG+)
The next step up, a VG+ record has little faults. It doesn’t, however, have compromised audio or visuals. A VG+ record may have several inaudible marks and a little rub. Its audio may have slight background crackle. If you’ve come across a VG+ record, you’ve found a solid investment. As with a VG record, however, close inspection may reveal its age.
Very Good (VG)
A VG-rated vinyl has experienced a lot of use. It’s still useable, but it’ll carry a few distortions. Ranked above a G-rated record, a VG-rated record often carries light pops and clicks. It might have light visible scratches, and it may have split edges. You can enjoy listening to a VG-rated record, and you can use it as an artistic display, too. For the most part, a VG-rated record is undamaged. Upon closer inspection, however, its use will be apparent—both visually and audibly.
While the term “good” might seem positive, a record carrying a G grade may still be of poor quality. Record enthusiasts often sell records of top quality. If they’ve rated a record as Good, they may be picking up on undesirable condition traits. Frequently, a G-rated record is sold at a bargain price. It’s useable, but it may have several scratches. Its music has light distortions.