Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

VG / G+: The Great Divide

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by lazydawg58, Feb 14, 2021.

  1. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    As I listen to all these records I've acquired and cleaned I'm faced with some difficult calls when it comes to grading. In my opinion most people significantly over grade. The reality is that most used records coming out of the wild, even after a through cleaning are VG at best. I see clear dividing lines between M, NM, VG+ and VG. But when we get to VG there is much more wiggle room. So much so that I sub-divide VG into 3 categories, VVG, VG, VG-, depending on the amount of pop, crackle and/or surface noise. The most difficult determination for me is where does a record drop from VG- to G+? I'd be interested to hear from others about how they determine the cutoff point.

    Here are my general rules when grading.

    Mint - sealed

    Near Mint - opened, played at least once, with absolutely no pops, crackles or surface noise, no light scuffs or marks, I only grade a record NM if I bought it sealed and and it plays perfectly

    Very Good Plus- plays without pops, crackles, or surface noise, may show light scuffs or marks that don't affect play, if I hear anything it isn't VG+

    Very Very Good- what a lot of others call VG+, "I thought it was VG+ until I heard a random pop, crackle or surface noise"

    Very Good - plays with some pops, crackles, or surface noise but doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the recording,

    Very Good Minus- plays with persistent pops, crackles or surface noise but doesn't overpower the recording to the point that it isn't enjoyable

    Good Plus - plays with significant pops, crackles, or surface noise that take away from the overall enjoyment of the recording
     
  2. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I'd have VG as an obviously used record that has very little surface noise, G+ will play through without jumping but have more surface noise, a lot of scuffs and light scratches, but it's acceptable on an old rare record and still enjoyable to people who aren't perfectionists. I don't use minus grades. I move it down to the next category instead.
     
  3. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    If the difference between Near Mint and Very Good Plus is purely cosmetic, it doesn’t seem like a rigorous distinction?

    I’d prefer it if vinyl grading focused purely on the sound, whereas the state of the jacket, inner sleeve, label, and visual appearance of vinyl are a separate grade.
     
    Gregalor, dee, 131east23 and 2 others like this.
  4. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    So what do you include in VG+? Can a VG+ in your view have any pops, crackles or surface noise?
     
  5. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Very little. A record that has light scuff marks that don't sound or make very little sound. This is all after the record is thoroughly cleaned. The grading system is different in the UK. I think the US Goldmine VG+ is Excellent here, which is second to mint.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
    lazydawg58 and E.Baba like this.
  6. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I agree with that. But that seems to be the only distinction between NM and VG+ in the formal grading system. That's why I have the most difficulty with VG and find it much too broad and subjective when compared to the other grades. M, NM and VG+ seem cut and dry, VG and G+ arbitrary with way too large a spectrum of possibilities. VG can play almost perfectly or it can play with lots of imperfections and anywhere in between those too ends of the spectrum.
     
    Stone Turntable likes this.
  7. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    VG to me often is grade you can get some fantastic sounding records at, but there's a risk involved if they haven't been play graded too. I'm sure we've all had the quite nice looking LP that should sound good, then it's just horrible, usually because of groovewear.
     
  8. dasacco

    dasacco Senior Member

    Location:
    Massachussetts
    As you've seen, grading is not an exact science. The forum guidelines (see below) work pretty well for me. In most of my descriptions, I'll state a play grade as well as a visual grade. Something can look NM, but play with crackle or surface noise. And I also have some that may look VG+ or even VG and the blemishes have no impact on the sound.

    Grading Guidelines:

    Vinyl
    • Mint (M): Sealed and/or unplayed.
    • Near Mint (NM or M-): Near perfect record and cover. No visible flaws or defects (any manufacturing scuffs should be noted). No unexpected surface noise or other audible issues at normal listening volume.
    • Very Good Plus Plus (VG++): Only a very small number of minor flaws present (ex. a couple of faint hairlines, a light scuff). No unexpected surface noise or other audible issues at normal listening volume. Cover shows no significant ring wear, nor seam splits.
    • Very Good Plus (VG+): More slight signs of wear but still an excellent condition record that plays well. Any surface noise is very minimal and the record is still an enjoyable listen. No groove wear. Cover may show minor defects including very light ring wear.
    • Very Good (VG): More obvious wear. Surface noise evident on playing, especially in soft passages, and during a song's intro and fade but never overpowers the music. Ring wear and other defects evident.
    • Good (G): Worn. Significant surface noise throughout, scratches that produce noise, but will play through without skipping.
    • Poor (P), or Fair (F): Worn out. Won't play through without skipping or repeating.
     
    Chemguy and lazydawg58 like this.
  9. PopularChuck

    PopularChuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area
    Life is too short to buy anything less than VG IMHO, so I don't worry about the distinction to G+.

    That said, when selling, I always grade conservatively. Better to have a buyer surprised than disappointed.
     
  10. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Goldmine has VG+ as the 3rd category after Mint and Near Mint. This is what they say about what a VG+ record should be.

    "Any defects are of a cosmetic nature, not affecting the actual playback. In theory, a VG+ record should sound the same as a Near Mint (NM) one. Vinyl surfaces may show some signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don’t affect listening."

    But I constantly see sellers list albums as VG+ but include in the comments references to "infrequent clicks, pops" or similar issues that clearly would place the record one step below. I always buy with the expectation that the seller is over grading.
     
    Stone Turntable and Man at C&A like this.
  11. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I'll often buy a record that visually only looks G+, but it'll have to be a rare one with a decent condition sleeve. I also have to be able to see it so I can judge if it think it will clean up and play through well. I'm usually a good judge of that. I'd never buy a G+ record I can't see. Of course, they have to be very cheap too.
     
    lazydawg58 and PopularChuck like this.
  12. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    We don't have Near Mint in the Record Collector grading system, which is the one used mostly in shops. I like Near Mint as a grade though. Most things have been played a couple of times and if it's careful on quality equipment, it shouldn't show aside from it being unsealed of course.
     
    dee and lazydawg58 like this.
  13. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Thanks for posting this. I've never bought or sold on this forum so I wasn't familiar with this variation. The VG++ above seems to match what I call VG+ and the VG+ with what I call VVG. the biggest difference being that I have a VG and VG- with this scale having only a VG.
     
    dasacco likes this.
  14. Musical Chairs

    Musical Chairs Forum Resident

    I am generally of the view that when I buy something VG+, I should be getting a record that I will enjoy about as much as as something graded higher but will on careful listening/visual inspection show some sign of being a used record. Every oft-played but well cared for record in my collection will become VG+/VG/VG- over time.

    This is all complicated by the fact that some new vinyl sounds no better than VG+ when first purchased.
     
    dee, lazydawg58 and Man at C&A like this.
  15. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I agree. I don't sell on line but do have a table at a local antique consignment shop. I don't put out anything I know to be G+ but can't play grade everything I set out. (I did to begin with but it just isn't practical anymore). The records I play grade either stay in my personal collection or are ones I later decide to part with either because I know I'll seldom ever listen to them again or have multiple copies of. There in lies the difficulty. I don't want to knowingly put anything G+ out at the shop, so I'm trying to draw the line. I just listened to a James Gang album with lots of pops and crackles but it was enjoyable. Was it too much, I'm conflicted.
     
    dee likes this.
  16. dasacco

    dasacco Senior Member

    Location:
    Massachussetts
    Selling in a shop puts a lot more of the decision on the buyer, IMHO. If they can visually inspect the LP, they can decide if it's for them or not. I know that's how I approach any used records in a shop, I doubt I would pay attention to the grade the shopkeeper put on it. If you have a reasonable return policy they can return it if it turns out worse than they thought.
     
    lazydawg58 likes this.
  17. angelo73

    angelo73 field dweller

    Location:
    Orbiting Sgr A*
    once upon a time . .

    Mint - sealed ❨ironically, it means the actual condition of the vinyl is unknown ❩

    Near Mint - played once or twice only, dead quiet , no production flaws

    Excellent/ VG+
    not dead quiet, but without any noticeable pops or cracks

    VG
    only few minor, barely-noticeable crackles here and there ❨less than five single instances throughout❩ but otherwise plays perfectly

    Good
    several minor pops and crackles noticeable throughout (more than five single instances) but are not loud enough to ruin enjoyment
    ***
    A much stricter grading curve, that once seemed viable but lost favour as time went on and vinyl discs changed hands more times
     
    zongo, Jon H. and lazydawg58 like this.
  18. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    All good points. I clean, visually inspect, put in new inner and outer sleeves all the records I put out. The idea being that I'm doing all the work that a buyer would normally have to do if they were crate digging. On these records I don't put a grade. On the records I collect for myself I go through the same process along with of course listening to them, at which time I grade them. When any of these records eventually end up for sell at the shop I include a grade with them. I guess I'm just trying to offer an added bonus to the buyers when they see that grade. All this for $5 a record. I'm not in it to make money, just part of the hobby.
     
    dasacco likes this.
  19. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I wish we could all agree to this and it would become the standard. In this case most used records would be VG and G.
     
    zongo and angelo73 like this.
  20. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    To me, there is no VG-

    I think your Good+ is really P, and your VG- is G
     
    greelywinger and lazydawg58 like this.
  21. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Well Poor would be a record that doesn't play through without skipping, repeating or is badly warped or cracked, a totally trashed record. So that isn't the case.

    My problem is that while the other grades are concise and narrow, VG is much more vague and wide ranging. I could just call them all VG but then it doesn't really tell you much. It goes from just a hair away from playing perfectly to a good amount of noise that doesn't overwhelm the listening experience.
     
  22. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    I think the OP has way too many grades. I prefer Mint, NM, VG+, VG and G and P. There's no point grading G+. VVG makes no sense. It's stated to mean a single instance of a pop or crackle? VG means more than one? If you hear any it's VG.

    Mint is sealed or never played. If you bang up the sleeve's corner even sealed it's graded VG+. You're buying the unknown, but it's NOS, so you pay more.

    To me NM is perfect, visually and aurally. No warps. It doesn't get better than NM.

    VG+ is not visually perfect, it's been played but sounds almost perfect. Their might be some surface noises but nothing major. I'm not going to complain about the grading if a light tick occurs during the run in or run out. It can be warped but not affect the sound. Sleeve isn't worn but there may be slight damage.

    VG is a record that is most commonly found in used record stores bins. It's been played. And there might be some pops and even a crackle. Sleeve may have mild ring wear, maybe some defacing, and small tears or seam splits.

    G is worn out but playable. It doesn't skip, but it doesn't sound anywhere near perfect. There are probably scratches on the record. These are you normal garage sale finds. Sleeve is worn heavily.

    P is unplayable. You buy these for the sleeves. At Cactus Records in Houston, they throw away these records and just sell the sleeves. There is no such thing as a P graded sleeve.
     
    lazydawg58 likes this.
  23. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Maybe I can clarify a bit. VG+ contains no imperfections (pops, clicks etc.) as that is exactly how it is laid out in the goldmine guidelines. If I hear anything I simply drop it to VG as you noted but I'll add a V to it (VVG) as a reference letting me know that it is almost as good as a VG+. If a record is a VG and it's on the low end I'll add a - to it (VG-) as a way of letting me know it's a bit noisy. It's just a way to give me more information since VG is such a wide range.
     
  24. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl

    I never sell anything here without a full playgrade and closely listening to it through headphones. As such, I don't list much, but feel better about the whole process when I do. I hate returning records that don't play like they are listed. It is a major inconvenience and if through discogs sometimes I 'eat it' and just use it for trade-in at the local shop and give them an 'honest' playgrade on it. I like the forum grades above. The only phrase I don't understand is "no UNEXPECTED surface noise" which I guess leads back to the eye-test rather than the ear-test. Based on thae forum grading school I can't in good faith rate much of anything as better than VG+.
    Based on the same grading scale, VG seems to be a significant drop-off, for my taste, as does G+. I likely can't enjoyably listen to VG or G+ based on those grades as most of my listening is headphone- based in a relatively quiet area, fully immersed in at least what I can hear and not hear.

    It seems like it all washes out with any luck. You get good deals, great deals, on a few records, you get hosed on others. At least that has been my experience fwiw. With every win or proper buy, there is always a 'dog' to follow or vice versa, unless one is incredibly vigilant, patient, and disciplined in their buying. Which is a good habit. This forum has seldom disappointed.

    VG 'should be' a noticeably better listen than G+. Significantly so imo, if possible.

    The problem with M and NM graded new records imo are some I have had will still have a few seconds of surface noise, and in more than one area, and of a volume level output that can distract from the music. Thankfully, new M and NM records also seem to play without any audible, to me, issues.

    Based already above on the widely differing definitions in posts, I see I can only sell here, for me in good faith, via playgrades with specific notices of sonic anomalies. I don't mind that at all.
     
    dasacco and lazydawg58 like this.
  25. dasacco

    dasacco Senior Member

    Location:
    Massachussetts
    See the part I bolded above. This is by far the best way to sell and buy as far as I'm concerned. I'm about 18 years into selling and buying here and I've had exactly 1 issue selling (I refunded with no questions asked) and 1 issue buying (I was refunded with no questions asked). I have run across no one deliberately over-grading and descriptions have always been spot-on. If it's that particular matrix you're looking for the seller will let you know. The good sellers here have made me a better seller, and I think it's contagious. Our classifieds are the best!
     
    dee and lazydawg58 like this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine