Tip of the Week- How To Examine Vinyl Records Before Buying

Wicky Wicky Vinyl Collectors and To-Be Collectors,

Spring is in the air, the birds are chirping and I can’t wait to listen to some velvety smooth tunes.

Collecting vinyl is something I want to get cracking on in the coming months. I have seen a ton of records for sale when roaming town but I don’t want to buy something that is unusable.

As a rookie record collector I went on the hunt for some tips and tricks on what to look for when selecting. Friends have told me that it is hard to visually judge the shape and sound of a record but after continued chatting and oodles of reading here are some substantial things (see tips below) I am going to look for when inspecting my potential vintage vinyl purchases.

It may take time before I become a seasoned pro and between now and then you will likely see some posts on some of my vinyl scores. Now that I know what to look for when buying vinyl records I think I may start my LP (Long Play) collection by visiting The 10th Ottawa Community Record Show on Sunday, April 6th from 11am-4pm at St. Anthony’s Hall (Ottawa, ON). I’ve checked out this event in the past and there is a thrilling selection.

Poster I found on a Bank Street (Ottawa) window yesterday

Tips on how to examine vinyl records:

Look for Deep Scratches. Surface scratches or scuffs should be liveable but if the record is marked with significant scratches you will probably get some unpleasant noise. Make sure dirt isn’t hiding worse things and you are inspecting in good lighting conditions.

Look at Protective Measures. Inspect condition of the outer (quite important) and inner sleeve (very important). It may be a tell tale sign of how well the record has been kept by its current owner or in general.

Look for Environmental Factors. Stains and discolouration on the outer cardboard album jacket and faded graphics can mean the record was subject to unwanted things such as moisture.

Look at the Center Spindle Hole. Fine (hairline) marks around the spindle hole can reveal the number of plays. Imperfect center hole positioning can also mean your record is not in tip top shape.

Look for Warps. It may sound like an easy task but you need a sharp eye. If badly warped it may be unplayable. You can also check the shape to make sure it is nicely rounded still. Also be sure to check for heat damage around the edges of the records itself.

Look for Grading Indicators. Depending on who and where you are buying from there may be a ranking/grading system for the record such as this record is in Mint Condition, Poor Condition etc.

The sun is shining, feel the warmth on your ears that only vinyl sings.

Further event details:

10th Ottawa Community Record Show 

Event Location: 523 St. Anthony Street, Ottawa ON (near Preston Street and Hwy 417)

Event Admission: $3 Dollars


17 thoughts on “Tip of the Week- How To Examine Vinyl Records Before Buying

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