Are you thinking about buying a record for the first time? Are you still debating what record player to get? Maybe just saw a record store in your home town and decided "Hey, I should try that" one of these days? Well if so, this article for you. If you've already built a collection of records, this is definitely not for you, but we'll be interested in your feedback on our new record player system.
As time goes on, you'll get real world experience that will make you the go to guy for new collectors, but at the moment, stick by these five rules, and you will be fine.
A. Don't buy a record online for your first record-. This is not a diss at online storea- we have an online store, and its pretty great- but there are a lot of records stores online, some scrupulous, some not, and nothing is worse than shelling out for a beautiful record and discovering that it is scratched or there was big watermark on the back or that it was really a repressing of what you wanted. Which reminds us.
B. Beware repressings, ESPECIALLY repressings made after 2005 or so. Again, some great repressings are available at your local Barnes and Noble you will love, and other repressings will be valuable to you simply because the album was great and an original would be prohibitevely expensive. But repressings can be a dangerous buy, for two main reasons.
1. There are no perfect copies in vinyl- repressings can be lighter, and therefore more prone to warping or cracking, the press may have degraded slightly, features like booklets could be missing. Buying a record is not like buying an MP3, where the original file gets copied exactly.
2. Pressings after 2005 are often based on the CD masters, as opposed to masters mixed specifically for vinyl. That means you won't get better audio quality, and because two sides of a record store less audio data than 1 side of a CD, the formatting can be odd- songs that are supposed to lead into eachother require the disk to be flipped, songs could be missing, etc.
C. The Record Store Owner is your friend- Many people shop for records for the first time and don't ask for help, something we do not quite understand. This isn't just a job for your local record store owner, its also their passion project. They can help you find new records you wouldn't have thought to get otherwise, they can help you try out new records to make sure they are up to scratch (no pun intended), and they will help you understand why a record is valuable/cheap/ and more. You can even ask him or her to hold a record you've been looking for forever, should it come in.
D. Discogs is also your friend. Discogs is essentially the Kelley's Blue Book of records- it averages prices on collectible records and has all kinds of data on editions, manufacturers, and prices. And like Kelley's Blue Book, it is not the end all for prices, and you can expect to pay more/less/ the same depending on condition/store/location in the country.
E. Do not be afraid to take the record out of its case- Good record stores will inspect the record before selling it to you, but you should also check to make sure,
A. There aren't any deep scratches,
B There are no signs of warping.
C. There is minimal signs of water damage on the jacket and sleeve.
Follow these steps, and you'll not just have a good record buying experience, you'll return home with a great sounding record in a beautiful jacket that will bring you joy for years.