Vinyl record sales for 2018 continued their increase for the 13th consecutive year. Even though…
If you are reading this, you probably have a new-found or existing respect for vinyl records and all that they have to offer. Truly, vinyl is making huge strides in renewed popularity, partly because of a format that allows listeners to enjoy an emotional connection with the experience of listening to warm sounds generated by oversized discs housed in colorful covers. While the appeal of owning a vinyl collection, large or small, varies in importance according to the collector, the methods for buying, transporting, playing, and storing are relatively set in stone. Keep reading to learn more about how to preserve your music collection for many years.
Getting Started with Your Collection
Older vinyl records are easy to come by these days. Other than Music Row, you can find them at yard sales, record stores, and thrift shops. Most of the time you don’t even need to spend much money on them. However, buying a good record takes a little bit of know-how if you want to add playable, quality albums to your collection. You need to contain your excitement over finding a nearly pristine sleeve of “Love Me Do.” Make sure to check the record for signs of imperfection, including ground-in dirt, scratches, chipped edges, and grooves.
Checking the condition of a vinyl record begins by carefully taking it out of the cover and visually inspecting it. While dust is to be expected, ground-in dirt is not. Use these tips to avoid problems:
• Look for scratches, grooves, and chips by running your finger along the record.
• Even if the record comes up relatively smooth, you should take the time to listen to it and see if it plays cleanly enough for your ear.
• It is a good idea never to purchase a dirty disc if you can possibly avoid it. Ask if the shop has a cleaning machine and run the album you are considering through it at least once. Doing so makes it easier to identify imperfections in the copy.
Places to Buy Vinyl Records
If you are looking for a good place to purchase vinyl, you may want to consider:
• Record shops
• Second-hand shops
• Book sales
• Garage sales
The first three choices are perfect for older, used copies. These are the types of places where you can find an album that you need to complete your collection of a particular artist. On the other hand, the last two listings offer excellent options for sourcing new vinyl. Of course, you can always check out vinylhub.com to find even more stores and websites to shop for the newest additions to your music collection.
Avoiding Bootleg Versions
Unless you are in the market for bootleg copies, almost nothing is worse than coming home with a great find only to discover the record is a fake. The best way to avoid this scenario is to learn to recognize a bootleg copy so you don’t accidentally buy one in your excitement. Bootleg copies of vinyl records typically fall short in the weight category, and they usually have an unbelievably low price tag. When in doubt, put it back.
Maintenance tips such as cleaning the records and turntable itself
Not only is it important to store your record collection properly, but you also need to care for it well. Before you begin playing your albums, take a few minutes to check them out visually. A dirty record certainly isn’t going to play well on your turntable, and it may even sustain damage while you are listening to it. Use one of the following options to eliminate pressing residue and dust from your vinyl records:
• Carbon-fiber brush – gently brush the dust off the record
• Record-cleaning machine – follow the directions accompanying the machine
• Wood glue – allow a thin coat of wood glue to dry on the record and slowly peel it off
Don’t forget about the stylus needle of your record player, because you also have to keep it clean in order to avoid damaging your records inadvertently. Use one of the following to do so or purchase a Groovewasher Kit which comes with everything you need:
• Stylus brush – gently brush the stylus from back to front
• Stylus pillow – gently place the stylus needle into the pillow
• Ultrasonic cleaner – follow the directions accompanying the ultrasonic cleaner
Whether you are preserving vinyl as a collector or as a practicing musician, there’s a right way to do it. Truthfully, though, there is a learning curve in learning how to properly care for vinyl records. After all, this isn’t a practice that most households indulge in anymore. Nonetheless, if you are going to take the time to build a fantastic collection of albums, you may as well strive to maintain their value by using tips for the proper care of your records and turntable.
by Angie Bersin of RedFin