Originally posted by Kittybear:
Any advice on the best places to buy vinyl,
What to look out for when buying etc.
I often worry that if I buy second hand the record will be scratched.
I get a lot of my used vinyl from eBay, but if you go down that route, it pays to do your homework first. Things to bear in mind on eBay:
1)Check the seller out. Do they sell a lot of records, or sell all sorts of stuff and just a few records in there? Experienced record sellers know how to grade condition. If you find a seller with a lot of record sales and good feedback, the odds are good that you will get what you expect.
2) The more information available on the listing, the better. Don't be afraid to ask for more if anything is unclear.
3) This is just my personal opinion, but if you see a listing with not much info, poor/non-existent pictures and "Mint Condition", you are gambling. A lot of unknowledgeable sellers say 'Mint', and if they do not know the Goldmine/Record Collector grading schemes, their version of 'Mint' probably won't match yours. Most good sellers pretty much refuse to use the grade 'Mint' as it is basically impossible to live up to. 'Near Mint' is what you're after.
4) Sealed LPs can be great (you know it won't be worn or scratched). The only issue is you can't get the seller to look at the matrix codes on the deadwax should you wish to confirm something (like which exact pressing it is, who cut it etc). That may or may not bother you. Most people not, I'd guess, but it's why I didn't/am not looking for sealed for US copies of CH and TOLM - there are particular cuts I want.
5) Specific to Crowded House - Woodface, and particularly TA, quite often go for reasonably large sums of money. Don't get sucked in. Be patient and you will pick them up for much more reasonable prices.
There are probably other things, but I can't think of them right now.
Other internet options are the marketplace at discogs.com, which lists each pressing and has good info, and if you'd rather pay more to guarantee condition, eil.com are good. I've only rarely bought from them, but they always deliver on condition. Oh, and don't forget the classifieds here at Frenz!
Other than that, local record shops are of course wonderful things, go support them! Flipping through stacks of LPs not knowing what you will find is a lot of fun.
If you are inspecting LPs in the shop, just the usual things to watch out for - scratches, dirty albums, lots of wear around the spindle hole (may or may not indicate a worn record), and also how lustrous does it look? LPs should be glossy and black. If they look grey and dull, they have probably been worn by being played on bad turntables. Avoid.
Also in a shop...when trying to judge condition, try to be near a window...natural light shows up lots that you might not see under fluro...
Right, it's someone elses turn...I'm knackered!
EDIT: I keep remembering more stuff. If you buy an LP and it is noisy, don't be afraid to give it a wash. When I got my US pressing of the debut, it was the noisiest record I'd ever heard. Constant loud crackles. After washing once, it is 90% better (just quiet surface noise in one or two spots. I reckon another clean will get it nearly perfect. SO: Brushes, a cleaning solution, and water. There are all sorts of fancy ways you can go about this, but for an inexpensive solution, I use a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water as the cleaning solution (brushed on/around), then hold the LP nearly vertical under a tap to wash it away, then rinse again with distilled water. Towel off the worst of the water and stick it in the dish rack to air dry overnight. The actual wash time is probably less than 5 minutes to do both sides of an album. Obviously it won't fix damaged grooves, but it does wonders if the record is just dirty.