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Soul Source Guide To Record Grading

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Posted (edited)

Hi all

I wondered what people thought about starting up a Soul Source guide to record grading - a kind of best practice guide.

Although there are published grading systems out there such as Goldmine and Record Collector, these do not really give practical tips on how to go about grading (e.g. holding a record up to a bright light to see the true surface condition, or checking for different types of warping).

As someone who tries to follow the published gradings and who also rates label and vinyl condition high on my list of priorities for collecting I am sometimes disappointed when receiving records that in my view are a long way off their described condition.

My take on this is that some people simply just struggle on a practical basis to put records into sensible grade categories. This can just be a question of how to go about it.

The Northern/Rare Soul scene has also tended to avoid the established grading systems - so one man's 'Excellent' is another man's 'VG+'. Often it seems that 'Excellent' is used as a catch-all grade. Don't get me started on 'Mint Minus' or 'Near Mint' and some of what gets described in those categories laugh.giflaugh.gif

It just occurred to me that something here on Soul Source, with a bit of practical advice on how to grade-check records and describe them according to a common grading system could be useful for both sellers and buyers.

I'm thinking that a thread to capture the various grade categories, tips on how to grade in practice, issues, grumbles etc. would be useful. This could then be pulled together into a practical guide of some sort which takes things step by step.

I would be happy to put some effort in to pull this together if it helps.

Or am I just too much of a condition anorak? smile.gif

Interested to hear what you all think.

Cheers

Richard

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I think a pricing guide in comparison to condition might be in order too....so many Vg and vg+ at ex, m- and m prices :wave:

the Goldmine one and what you should charge according to Goldmine based on condition can be found >>>HERE<<<

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Very Good Plus (VG+) Generally worth 50 percent of the Near Mint value.

Yeah right :wave:

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Posted

Hi all

I wondered what people thought about starting up a Soul Source guide to record grading - a kind of best practice guide.

Although there are published grading systems out there such as Goldmine and Record Collector, these do not really give practical tips on how to go about grading (e.g. holding a record up to a bright light to see the true surface condition, or checking for different types of warping).

As someone who tries to follow the published gradings and who also rates label and vinyl condition high on my list of priorities for collecting I am sometimes disappointed when receiving records that in my view are a long way off their described condition.

My take on this is that some people simply just struggle on a practical basis to put records into sensible grade categories. This can just be a question of how to go about it.

The Northern/Rare Soul scene has also tended to avoid the established grading systems - so one man's 'Excellent' is another man's 'VG+'. Often it seems that 'Excellent' is used as a catch-all grade. Don't get me started on 'Mint Minus' or 'Near Mint' and some of what gets described in those categories laugh.giflaugh.gif

It just occurred to me that something here on Soul Source, with a bit of practical advice on how to grade-check records and describe them according to a common grading system could be useful for both sellers and buyers.

I'm thinking that a thread to capture the various grade categories, tips on how to grade in practice, issues, grumbles etc. would be useful. This could then be pulled together into a practical guide of some sort which takes things step by step.

I would be happy to put some effort in to pull this together if it helps.

Or am I just too much of a condition anorak? smile.gif

Interested to hear what you all think.

Cheers

Richard

sounds good to me Richard

any sort of guide/info etc on such things am sure be more than welcome by most members

main thing to watch out for is that it is everyone is aware and treats it (during both the actual setup and when finished ) as a helpful and unofficial guide, rather than any "standard" or such

apart from that I can't see any probs thumbsup.gif

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Posted (edited)

I think the grading Mint is misused. Mint to me means never played and mint minus only having a few plays. A 45 regularly DJed with but visibly in good condition is Ex at best in my opinion.

I think VG and VG+ are also misnomers, because thesedays everyone takes VG and VG+ to mean crap and sometimes virtually unplayable because lots of sellers have sold rubbish and called it VG and VG+. Quality doesn't seem to mean much to many, like Chalky says, with the same price commanded whether it's Mint, Excellent or even VG+.

I don't think it's the gradings that are the problem, it's the pricing and values according to grading. Having said that, if someone is prepared to pay top dollar for an Ex or even VG+ who can stop them?

Edited by Matt Male

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Posted

regarding any guide about grading

I would say the pricing issue is a different matter completely and so should be left out

if I read Richards post right, the idea is a simple guide on how members could look at a 45 and then grade it quickly and easily into "sensible grade categories"

that right ?

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So what grades are you gonna go for Richard?

M- Mint Minus

Ex Excellent

Vg+ Very Good plus. No more plus signs should be allowed, one is ample, any more and it moves up the grades thumbsup.gif

Vg Very Good

G Good

P Poor

Any more? Too many would maybe confuse matters and IMO are not needed.

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So what grades are you gonna go for Richard?

M- Mint Minus

Ex Excellent

Vg+ Very Good plus. No more plus signs should be allowed, one is ample, any more and it moves up the grades thumbsup.gif

Vg Very Good

G Good

P Poor

Any more? Too many would maybe confuse matters and IMO are not needed.

They are the ones that I tend to use / recognise.

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They are the ones that I tend to use / recognise.

A record could be Excellent condition Audio wise

However Label condition may be Vg & require grading if no scan.

DJ Graffiti or Label Tear would be Obvious if Scan provided.

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Posted (edited)

So what grades are you gonna go for Richard?

M- Mint Minus

Ex Excellent

Vg+ Very Good plus. No more plus signs should be allowed, one is ample, any more and it moves up the grades thumbsup.gif

Vg Very Good

G Good

P Poor

Any more? Too many would maybe confuse matters and IMO are not needed.

Yeah - that's about bang on Chalky thumbsup.gif

Less is more on grade banding I reckon.

Excellent can be a useful grade and is probably essential for the UK market (although generally the US guys don't use it at all and their VG+ can be close to top quality condition).

Agree there should not be any more than one plus (+) sign, and probably no minus (-) signs at all. For example, to me E+ means nothing except a bit of lack of confidence in grading yes.giflaugh.gif

There are 3 types of grading to be considered:

1) Visual grading of vinyl

2) Visual grading of labels (and/or photos/scans)

3) Play grading for sound quality

I think there should be grading of both 1) vinyl and 2) labels for all sales.

In addition, for the more expensive items there should also be play grading IMO (difficult if handling a lot of items I know, but essential if selling pricey records).

And c'mon guys - with vinyl and label grading this should also be for both sides of the record if they are different yes.gifyes.gif

Cheers

Richard

Edited by Premium Stuff

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Yeah - that's about bang on Chalky thumbsup.gif

Less is more on grade banding I reckon.

Excellent can be a useful grade and is probably essential for the UK market (although generally the US guys don't use it at all and their VG+ can be close to top quality condition).

Agree there should not be any more than one plus (+) sign, and probably no minus (-) signs at all. For example, to me E+ means nothing except a bit of lack of confidence in grading yes.giflaugh.gif

There are 3 types of grading to be considered:

1) Visual grading of vinyl

2) Visual grading of labels (and/or photos/scans)

3) Play grading for sound quality

I think there should be grading of both 1) vinyl and 2) labels for all sales.

In addition, for the more expensive items there should also be play grading IMO (difficult if handling a lot of items I know, but essential if selling pricey records).

And c'mon guys - with vinyl and label grading this should also be for both sides of the record if they are different yes.gifyes.gif

Cheers

Richard

Yes, if someone was to only grade as Ex, then you would expect that in every way Audio, Label, Picture Sleeve etc would ALL meet that grade.

Not always the case though.

As you say, grading seperately for Vinyl & Label would be better.

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the americans never grade anything above vg++ tho. its always gonna be tricky

dave

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the americans never grade anything above vg++ tho. its always gonna be tricky

dave

I don't get that Dave

Do you mean Americans don't grade Mint Minus? If so, how come as there seems to be loads of M- (they just don't grade Ex)?

Cheers

Richard

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Still down to each individual - two people can look at the same record and see it completely differently.

For instance, I regularly buy records from a couple of US dealers who both swear by the same Goldmine grading system, and have used it for well over ten years, selling thousands of 45s. One I'd happily buy VG items from all day, the other I wouldn't ever chance anything under VG+...

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So what grades are you gonna go for Richard?

M- Mint Minus

Ex Excellent

Vg+ Very Good plus. No more plus signs should be allowed, one is ample, any more and it moves up the grades thumbsup.gif

Vg Very Good

G Good

P Poor

Any more? Too many would maybe confuse matters and IMO are not needed.

I have sometimes used "S" + Shite (but still plays but looks and sounds shite)

other wise the gradings above make sense to me :lol:

merry Crimbo :wave:

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Posted (edited)

I have sometimes used "S" + Shite (but still plays but looks and sounds shite)

other wise the gradings above make sense to me :lol:

merry Crimbo :wave:

Only problem mate is sometimes you buy a record graded Ex+ and it turns out to be S+ laugh.giflaugh.gif

Happy Christmas to all

Cheers

Richard

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I think VG and VG+ are also misnomers, because thesedays everyone takes VG and VG+ to mean crap and sometimes virtually unplayable because lots of sellers have sold rubbish and called it VG and VG+.

aint that the truth :rolleyes:

the one that i've seen a few times that makes me laugh (but at least its honest to a degree):

ex condition with just a few pops and crackles laugh.giflaugh.gif

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I don't get that Dave

Do you mean Americans don't grade Mint Minus? If so, how come as there seems to be loads of M- (they just don't grade Ex)?

Cheers

Richard

stuff i seem to look at in the states seems to be vg++. thats their version of what we call mint mint minus. i think it should be left down to the individual as everybody see`s things differently. same as pricing really

dave

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stuff i seem to look at in the states seems to be vg++. thats their version of what we call mint mint minus. i think it should be left down to the individual as everybody see`s things differently. same as pricing reallydave

I see plenty of Americans use near mint which is their mint minus isn't it? See plenty list as excellent but like you say many seem to err on the side of caution and use vg+ which really is what most UK excellent and sometimes mint minus/near mint is IMO.

Like I said what is the point of two or three extra plus signs (vg++ or vg+++)? Like saying it is in really really really good nick. Have you ever heard a dealer say that to you? It would be like talking to your kids rolleyes.gif

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I see plenty of Americans use near mint which is their mint minus isn't it? See plenty list as excellent but like you say many seem to err on the side of caution and use vg+ which really is what most UK excellent and sometimes mint minus/near mint is IMO.

Like I said what is the point of two or three extra plus signs (vg++ or vg+++)? Like saying it is in really really really good nick. Have you ever heard a dealer say that to you? It would be like talking to your kids rolleyes.gif

I choose to use + signs. Because everyones perception of the grades differs a bit I try to be more fine tuned to better describe each 45. I use 5 grades in between VG+ and NM/M-. They are VG+, VG+ to VG++, VG++, VG++ to NM and NM/M-. This may be excessive (let me know what you think) but I used to be a collector of sports cards which, if you can believe, is much more ticky about grading than records. The grading companies for those use 20 individual grades (1-10 with .5 intervals). Since switching to this more detailed grading system, I have have had very very few complaints about my grading. As said previously...I always grade the vinyl seperate from the label and try to put a sound clip of every more expensive record up.

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there is no way you can be too descriptive when grading, the issue is definitely each individual's perception of what constitutes each grade. Which often can be worlds apart from one seller to another.

At this point in time, for a rough overview, as a buyer I am following this as a guide.

Mint - self explanatory

SS - self explanatory (may or may not be Mint because of the possibility of warping.

Mint Minus or Near Mint - record is like new, buy without hesitation.

Very Good ++/Excellent +/American Excellent (rare) - slight signs of wear, buy without hesitation.

Very Good +/UK Excellent/Excellent Minus - noisy, only buy if you trust the seller & have experience with them prior or can get a soundclip, I very rarely/never buy this grade from unfamiliar dealers.

Very Good/UK Excellent Minus etc - noisy to hammered condition, don't buy.

Very Good Minus - noisy & definitely thrashed, don't buy.

everything below is also obviously hammered.

As a seller I use

NM

E (this usually gives people a nice surprise)

VG++

VG+

VG

VG-

then you get down to your "Good"(s) which don't even count.

don't usually bother with anything less than VG++ though because I'll just throw them out or tack them to the wall for deco.

Euroman's Excellent & Yankeeman's VG+ have got to be the most abused grades ever angry.gif

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I choose to use + signs.  Because everyones perception of the grades differs a bit I try to be more fine tuned to better describe each 45.  I use 5 grades in between VG+ and NM/M-.  They are VG+, VG+ to VG++, VG++, VG++ to NM and NM/M-.  This may be excessive (let me know what you think) but I used to be a collector of sports cards which, if you can believe, is much more ticky about grading than records.  The grading companies for those use 20 individual grades (1-10 with .5 intervals).  Since switching to this more detailed grading system, I have have had very very few complaints about my grading.  As said previously...I always grade the vinyl seperate from the label and try to put a sound clip of every more expensive record up.

I noticed a few American dealers starting to use the 1 to 10 grading system lately.

I personally think any more than one plus sign is not needed, why not just use excellent rather than vg++ or vg++ to nm? means the same thing to me.

Don't ebay encourage the Goldmine system?

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The biggest problem to me is when sellers use grades like EX++++.

Does that mean that your EX+ is the same as other sellers' VG? Or does it mean that your EX++++ is only VG because your also have a EX+++++++++?

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if it plays good then what it looks like should not matter.( as long as its cheap. djs + personal that is.) if its for a collection then its got to be a VG++. same for a dealer. best condition gets the best price. so really its 3 sections of grading. IMHO............ playing.. collecting.. buy to sell.

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Still down to each individual - two people can look at the same record and see it completely differently.

For instance, I regularly buy records from a couple of US dealers who both swear by the same Goldmine grading system, and have used it for well over ten years, selling thousands of 45s. One I'd happily buy VG items from all day, the other I wouldn't ever chance anything under VG+...

Have To Agree With This Comment As Some Dealers Vg To Vg+ Would Be Bearsy's S+ :thumbsup:thumbsup.gif

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Just come across one that uses 1 to 10 and here's his description....

I like number 8! Between 7 and 9 :D

10: Mint… Perfect record, clean gloss, no marks, beautiful in every way. Very few records will make mint.

9: Mint -… Very clean, only a few light marks. A great record.

8: Condition between 7 and 9. but closer to 9

7: VG+… Used, but not abused. Light scratches only. Should play, and look very nice with minimal surface noise.

6: VG… Looks a bit used, light scratches, no gouges, still plays well, some surface noise.

5: VG-… A bit rough but will play ok. Fills the collection.

4: G… Plays very rough. Has multiple scratches. What a bargain!!

3-2-1: It only goes down from here.

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Just come across one that uses 1 to 10 and here's his description....

I like number 8! Between 7 and 9 :D

10: Mint... Perfect record, clean gloss, no marks, beautiful in every way. Very few records will make mint.

9: Mint -... Very clean, only a few light marks. A great record.

8: Condition between 7 and 9. but closer to 9

7: VG+... Used, but not abused. Light scratches only. Should play, and look very nice with minimal surface noise.

6: VG... Looks a bit used, light scratches, no gouges, still plays well, some surface noise.

5: VG-... A bit rough but will play ok. Fills the collection.

4: G... Plays very rough. Has multiple scratches. What a bargain!!

3-2-1: It only goes down from here.

Noticed that myself Chalky , do you think he ran out of descriptions :D , there' s another dealer on e-bay

who has all the above and then each of the above is graded 1-10 now that is confusing!

Cheers

Swifty :D

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Noticed that myself Chalky , do you think he ran out of descriptions :D , there' s another dealer on e-bay

who has all the above and then each of the above is graded 1-10 now that is confusing!

Cheers

Swifty :D

he ran out of something, must have had writers block or whatever they call it after the first couple :D

Was the Vg.1 etc the Art Posey 45? Saw that, talk about complicating matters :D

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Forgot I started this thread - gave up on it due to lack of general interest sad.gif

Seems few people are interested in the proposal for a SS approach to grading

I guess I will continue to be disappointed then by people who need either they eyes or consciences looked at when they grade VG records with shitty labels as EX or better, or records which have seen obvious action/wear as M- or near mint no.gifno.gif

Cheers

Richard

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I was viewing one who used the number grades 1 to 10 thenhe went and graded the record 5- :D ffs it's either 5 or 4 :D

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