Newbie Vinyl Buyers Info
WELCOME NEW COLLECTOR OF VINYL RECORDS!
So What Do You Want To Buy Records For?!
Unlike today's intangible MP3s that you can't see or touch, a Record, be it a 78, a 45, an EP (Extended Play) or LP (Long Player or Album) is a thing that is there & will likely outlast any Digital format & still be the same in 50 years if you look after it. It's already been around 20 to 60 years, so you can see these things last.
Until about 1990 the way people bought Music was on Vinyl. Cassettes were around since about 1966 but they were for Albums only. Cassette Singles were briefly the way to buy a Hit Single although CD Singles were around more commonly by 1988. To Collectors, Cassettes & CDs are not really collectable unlike a Vinyl Record is. Get a few & you'll see why.
You may find yourself liking Music that is 20, 40 or 60 years old if you hear it on TV or a Film and not know what it is, but just find the Sound captivating. The Best Music era is 1947-1992 in our opinion, from the Birth of R&B to the end of Britpop. Only 45 years of music, but what a great amount there is. To like a Song, go find the Original Issue of it as was sold to make it a Hit is the appeal & to have a Little Piece of History. Most Original Hit Records can be found in nice grade for £10 or less, many will be found for 50p or £1, so unless you want Elvis HMV originals your outlay will be minimal. Buy a Bulk Job Box Lot of Old 45s for £20 on ebay & just play through them, ignore how old they are, after all many Classic Films, Books, Art & Poems are 50-100 years old but still appear contemporary as life doesn't move on as fast. You may like quite a lot of them & you'll be surprised how many you'll actually know, even if you are under 25.
The Retro scene means items like Dansette record players & Mid Century home furnishings are now what younger buyers are liking. To have some Old Records is unavoidable if you want to use a Dansette & these sort of players were sold from about 1956 to the late 1960s as the item a Teenager would be given or save up to buy. If you're using a player like this, you can happilly buy lesser grade used records, not so much the Collector Grade items we sell & have fun with them. Go ask your older relatives if they still have any records, though usually you'll find you asked 25-30 years too late & others got the vinyl years ago. Only when you realise you want to dig deeper will a Dealer like us be your next stop. To hear Unknown tracks use our MP3 samples on our item pages. To have a box of records of songs you like is a nice thing to have even if you don't play them as much as the MP3 or CD. If you start paying £20 or more to get a Record, then you're a Collector now and you'll be keeping vinyl alive & be interested in it for decades. Have Fun.
IT'S REWARDING! Stop watching the mindrot on TV & wake up your Mind & collect something or learn a skill or anything that's not passive. It's a Hobby & if you get good at it, you can end up doing it for a living instead of being a Corporate Sheep! Those who collect are often those with other practical talents such as Repairing things, Designing things & Making Live Music of their own. Being creative & not just reliant on Xbox or Sky TV is called Being Alive not just existing. Go collect a set of Beatles Vinyl Records which can be done cheaply if you buy wisely & are happy with more used copies that still are worth having. Is it rewarding? Yes It Is! You found some great songs you've never heard & had fun finding out what there was & getting them. You'll have something else to talk about rather than the boring ordinary chatter most have too. The days of there being Record & other Hobby shops & markets sadly are on the wane, but online you can find all items & things you need.
RECORDS ARE THE BEST FORMAT TO BE BUYING MUSIC FROM PRE 1990 ON!
You can buy CDs/MP3s of all imaginable artists & compilations of rare 45s, but sadly today they have been over-processed to remove any trace of vinyl noise if dubbed or even original tape hiss from analog master tapes. 'YouTube' audio & images are often really bad as highly compressed, if being a good start into 'old' music and why the site is full of home-made Videos of music, as the old 'home taping' idea is still alive. But the OTT processing kills the real sound of music with dynamic squashed, muffly treble & missing ambience! For collectors of music from 1954-1983 especially, the best years of pop music in general, much has never been issued on any CD. There is the pleasure of buying the original item that was bought at the time & having a collector's item in nice condiotion, instead of a faceless CD or even worse a MP3 download you can't even see! MP3s sound much better than they did of old, but being so compressed you are losing a measure of the sound, especially in loud densely recorded material which sounds gritty & unpleasant despite VBR conversions.
Buying an old record, you get a real artifact & if you buy wisely, a good investment too.
BUT RECORDS ARE OLD VINTAGE ITEMS OF VARYING QUALITY
just like any Vintage or Antique item, they can be of poor quality, but that's all there is. What the New Buyer needs to understand is that old records can be totally unpredictable! Most are "easy" to deal with, some will need just to be accepted for what they are, ie substandard as they were made. The worst sort of buyer is the unaware one who makes a seller's job hard as they don't understand "why" that is like that. You can't tell people is the answer as in all aspects of life: they must work it out themselves! This page is here to EDUCATE & since we added it a few years ago, by gum, it's worked.
I WANT TO BUY A RECORD, WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?
The 'How To Order' page is HERE. Be aware of what you are buying: check the listing, the photos for further detail & label faults if any. The grade shown is just for the Vinyl (not the label) the part you can't see: it has been scrutinized under a 100w lamp so you'll never get a misgraded item with us.
Be aware you are buying vintage old & used records from 20-60 years ago that have usually been looked after well for us to be selling them here, unless rarer or appealing to DJs, ie Reggae is listed in lower grades. If you only tediously want or expect 'perfection' like brand new unused items, then vintage used vinyl in any grade is not for you.
I'VE NEVER BOUGHT A RECORD BEFORE: WHAT PROBLEMS DOES THE VINYL FORMAT HAVE?
New buyers more familiar with CDs & MP3s need to understand what vinyl is about. It is not predictable or easy like CD/DVD/MP3, it can require work & may never have been produced (ie pressed, recorded, mastered) to a high standard in the first place! A record is not today's main music format. When you buy an original record, you get what they made way back when, be it good or bad or just confusing. It is just how it sold when released first time, having been used by previous owners. They played it, wrote their names on it or whatever: it was their item & they did as they wished with it! The fact they kept it is good for us many decades later & keeping it better, or more truthfully, ignoring it in a box hidden away is what buyers like. Well looked after really means they ignored it & haven't seen it for 40 years! Records can wear, scratch or damage in ways CD & MP3 can't. They can be fragile and break easily. They can deteriorate with poor handing & heavy use. They'll still be around in 100 years, will your CDs? A CD either plays or doesn't. A record is an analog & mechanical object: sound is on it through vibrations in grooves in a spiral on the plastic. This spiral can easily get dirt in it that may not be visible, such as mould & it will make the music quality very poor until washed.
RECORD GRADING Please read our GRADES page to understand how we offer record grading.
OUR RECORDS ARE ALL USED: MINT MEANS TOP GRADE USED
See what we call MINT, ie the VINYL is unmarked if not necessarily unplayed. It's top grade for an item of 20 to 50+ years of age. Labels we do not include in the Grade as you can see both sides though we note damage details like writing & tears. Similarly the Sleeve has a basic grade, so check the photos for writing, tears, stickers etc. It is impossible to state a record is Unplayed or has had 2-3 plays as some say in hope of getting higher prices. Only if you open a sealed & undisturbed 25 box of a record can you state that, and once unsealed, who's going to believe such anyway? We once had a sealed box of the UK 1979 No.1 Cliff hit in PS, all unplayed or looked at since the Factory and unopened until by us. They were exactly as you would have bought at the time. But yes, we amazingly got a complainer saying "it wasn't mint enough" as they didn't understand vinyl. Silly eh?
NEWER BUYERS MUST LEARN FACTS ABOUT VINYL RECORDS
The majority of records are easy & as you'd expect. Some aren't. We don't list the particular inherent weaknesses of the item beyond a basic visual grade or "Play Large Stylus". An experienced collector of records will understand that is just how the record was made, it may not be to today's high standards as with many vintage items, the weaknesses inherent are part of the charm of vinyl, or an unacceptable nuisance to the novice only aware of CDs/MP3s, in which case, perhaps you're best stick to digital formats until you understand things better.
Records may never have been made to a particularly high standard when new. Many records were made to be just good enough for a cheap portable record player and AM/MW radio broadcasts, just as today's digital music is created to heavily-compressed MP3 format players. They can be pressed on cheap vinyl creating surface noise. They can be UK 45s dubbed from USA 45s with little care, so even a Mint one will have the noise from the source it was copied from. A Mint record dubbed from a noisy record or badly mastered will still be Mint as it's how it was made, there is no better on that particular issue. The sound could be distorted ie raspy vocals as they were mastered badly creating clipping on the midranges. If you are not using a mono switch on your amplifier any mono record will sound different to how it does in mono. Only on ultra hi-fi valve tube amps can you not notice the difference with Mono switched in or out, with transistors, the extra "sizzle" will always be heard. They could be mastered with a non-standard size groove that your standard Stereo one will not be able to get the best sound from. See the GRADES page (near the page bottom) for more on that stylus story.
BEWARE OF THE EBAY BULLSHIT HYPE!
Some buyers of today don't want to PLAY the record, they want an Original Artifact of the Artist they choose. You'll find ridiculous prices are often being paid for average items due to the "sheep effect" which may only be "created" to trap the unwary, ie a high bid means others accept it as a genuine price. Ebay doesn't let you see who you are bidding against now, so 'beware'. A top grade copy of Beatles 'Hey Jude' on UK Apple with the Sold In UK legend is not an everyday find, but it is around & many are still to be unleashed as original owners sell up over the coming years. Used VG copies are ultra-common, as it sold probably 500,000 copies in the 7 weeks it was number one. Is it Rare? No chance! So a seller managing to get over £100 for a lowly Near Mint copy in a 70s dull Apple Sleeve may sound like a Fairy Story? But it happens as these new buyers have no sense of Rarity & Real Value of items. That £100+ buy is a £10 record really. All they are being sold a Lifestyle and a Dream, exactly the same as wrinkle creams & push-up bras for Women. The "You're Worth It" Generation. Sadly You're Goods Aren't Worth It when you try to sell your heavily overpaid item in the real world, without fake hidden bids & silly hype.
LEARNING WHAT IS THE ORIGINAL PRESSING & OTHER PITFALLS
A brief idea: Be aware when buying records that some records were on catalog for many years & the copy you see elsewhere looking like a huge bargain might be the 3rd or 5th press or even a recent bootleg/repress. We detail RE or 73 PRESS where necessary to help.
UK Decca made TRI centres from 1954 to early 1960. LPs can be even more fussy with slight wording differences apparently making a huge difference to completist. What should matter more to a more grounded buyer is getting the issue that was the style that sold the most: ie Beatles 'Please Please Me' LP sold best on the Black & Yellow print Parlophone, no 'Sold In UK' logo & the Mono issue with big Mono on the sleeve. The Gold print one is a rogue oddball press almost, made for likely days before the new design came in. Certain labels changed design often, ie UK Island 45s went from all-white with varying addresses at the top, to Red/White design to pink design with orange eye logo, to pink with big 'I' logo/black eye logo then the multicoloured palm tree design all within 10 years from 1962-72.
Only records on catalog for longer periods can be found with later designs and are considered 2nd pressing/issue. Then there are Variants, as some try to make out different typeface or a different publishing company means something. It generally doesn't add anything, except interest to researchers. Those saying one type (usually the one they have...) is rare than "the ordinary one" is based on amateur guesswork & that guesswork is often quoted as fact! Check our A-Z by label sections to see the label designs change. The later pressings sold after the initial sales will be far rarer, but less desirable as made later.
Beware the BS hypers saying 'rare 1st pressing' on an item that was never repressed on any other design (ignoring any reissues on different labels/numbers). Matrix numbers are meaningless to hype with too: only a very few records that have different music actually count, read elsewhere about that.
If you are buying USA vinyl be aware of a multitude of repressings, bootlegs, repros & other non-originals. To add to the confusion, eg Elvis on Sun: all 5 records he made laid side by side look very different to each other!
Demos: a Demo by a name artist or a record considered by Soul Collectors will have a premium over the stock issue (shop bought) copy. In certain categories (60s Beat Psych) the Demo may well be more common, Record Collector seems to like to price some Demos way down, eg Syndicats Crawdaddy Simone. In reality the stock & the demo are worth the same price as most collectors aren't bothered by demo or issue paperwork, but the issue could be much rarer. Some early UK Motown 500s & other mid 60s UK Northern sounds are much rarer as issues but sell for less than the Demo! 1950s Demos are less wanted, especially the Decca group one side demos. Only certain name artists or popular hits get higher prices. Ebayers thinking the already OTT RC-priced Skyliners London 45 is really worth £300 as 2 one side demos, the A on one record, the B on the other, will never get a sale. Even in the 80s a 1 side demo was 25% the issue, both A&B could be about 50% the Issue. Again the track that is the 1 side "half" affects the price as some 45s had a great A side & a lousy B side. But if you're collecting you'll want both halves!
A Factory Sample sticker may add an apparent air of exclusiveness & a high premium, but be aware it's only a gummed label like a stamp & easily transferred to a 'money' record from a cheapo 45, so (we) don't add any premium for it.
An Acetate will be encountered sooner or later, today's market only puts a hefty premium on unissued tracks musically worthy ie a great unissued northern/mod/psych dancer, an alternate take or mix, or a name artist even with an exact-as-released track. An acetate of an issued track that is musically no different is not as wanted as the regular Issue or Demo. Many 'unknown' acetates turn out to be something pretty mediocre & even an obscure released item, making a once-money item of little value once it's been found out, ie 'rare cover version' turning out to be a budget covers LP version by an un-named nobody! The Norther Soul scene used acetates to cut unofficial versions of rare tracks just for DJ play. These are usually of low quality & are usually worth under £10, not the £100s a genuine studio made one might make.
Record Info & Contract Press pages: Original research, photos of our records & text ©2020 by select45rpm.
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