Saturday, March 13, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does The Vinyl Record Finder have a public store?

Not at this time! However, we do plan to open a store very soon. We are currently looking for a suitable location. Not to worry. If you have records or collections you wish to sell, we will come to you! If you are looking to buy LP's, our stock of LP's can only be found on our online auctions. We do on occasion, see some collectors by appointment ONLY.

2. How are you different from regular record shops?

First and most importantly, we pay more for your records than any local used record store! Secondly, we offer a very personal, friendly and accommodating service. Finally, when we purchase your personal record collections, we eliminate the middle man (local record stores) and provide our customers better access to deleted and rare records that are no longer available.

Put it to the test! Contact any of the local used record store in the Memphis area (there are not many) and tell them what you have. You will probably be offered 50 cents to maybe $1.00 per record (on average)given the number of LP's you are trying to sell. Then call us! We tend to pay $1.00 to $5.00 per LP (sometimes more), if they are records of interest to us. You'll be hard pressed to find any matches to our offers.

3. What type of records do you specialize in?

While we specialize in Jazz, Blues, Doo Wop and old Rhythm & Blues, we are also very knowledgeable in all forms and genres of music. We are interested in Psych, Punk, Garage, Rock, Disco, Soul, Beatnik Comedy and Beatnik Poetry, plus any other interesting genres.

3. Does anyone still buy vinyl?

Why of course! There are quite a few of us left out there that still see vinyl as special. Vinyl has an aesthetic quality unmatched by CDs. With CDs slowly fading and MP3's becoming more popular, vinyl itself has also becoming even more special. As odd as it may sound, there are some (myself included) that believe good quality vinyl sounds better than a CD.

4. What is a vintage record? 

Vintage records fall into two categories: disc and cylinder. Vintage disc records were made roughly from 1890 to 1960. They are also referred to as coarse-groove or short play (SP) records. Most commonly, vintage disc records are referred to as ‘78s’, referring to a speed of 78 revolutions per minute (rpm).

Non-vintage disc records were made from 1949 to the present. They are commonly referred to as micro-groove records, and play at 45 or 33 rpm. Formats include 7" 45 rpm discs with oversized spindle holes, 10" and 12" long plays (LPs), extended plays (EPs) and others. Most non-vintage records were made from vinyl.

5. What do the formats mean?

a. LPs or long-playing records. These are regular 12" size "albums" with 4-7 songs per side.
b. 12"s or EPs (extended-play records). Same as above, but contain only 2-3 songs per side.
c. 7"s or 45s.
d. 78 rpm. Vintage and very old. These records tend to contain on one song per side.

6. How do I clean my records?

Answers may vary: The vast majority of vintage disc records are made of shellac mixed with various fillers, compounds and dyes. Unless a record is really filthy or greasy, gently rubbing with a damp terrycloth towel in the direction of the grooves will remove most of the dirt. This should be done on a soft flat surface to prevent cracking the disc, and the towel should be rinsed out frequently if cleaning more than just a few records. Follow the cleaning towel with a fluffy dry one, and let the record air-dry for a few minutes before placing it back in the sleeve.

7. How do I store my records?

Most vintage records have proven to be remarkably durable over time, but they do have enemies: dirt, moisture, pressure and extreme temperatures. If possible, records should be cleaned before storage. Dirt will scratch records, dust in the grooves will cause premature groove and stylus wear, insects and organic compounds will react with the shellac and silverfish eat sleeves and record labels. Once records have been cleaned, it is best not to put them back into old sleeves, but they should be placed in new sleeves. Never allow your records to get wet, and even high humidity can be dangerous.

Avoid storing your records flat, as this will cause grains of sand, record sleeves and other foreign objects to imbed themselves into the surface. Records should be stored upright on edge. Do not allow them to lean, and avoid keeping them in record storage boxes unless the discs are fully upright and flat against each other. They may be safely stored flat if the individual stacks are not greater than a couple of inches tall and the temperature doesn’t get too high. Ideally, the ambient temperature should not be allowed to exceed 75° F.

8. What are my records worth?

Records of any significant value usually comes from a serious collector or an inherited important collection. Outside of that, most of your records probably have little value. This is because the great majority of vintage records (like coins, stamps, postcards, comic books and other collectibles) are very common. Records were pressed by the millions, and there are many more records still in existence than there are collectors seeking them.

Generally speaking, most records in the following categories have little value: big band, popular songs, ethnic recordings, classical, opera, post-war country, sacred titles and album sets. Genres more likely to have value will include early jazz, early blues, early rhythm & blues, early rock and some foreign pressings of US titles from the 1950's and 1960's (Not Japanese re-issues). There are plenty of records to go around, however, certain types, brands and artists are highly desired by collectors.

Our recommendation is that you check out any group of records before disposing of them, just to make sure that you have nothing of significant value. We offer free consultations over the phone and will come out and take a look at your records if necessary (free of charge).

9. How do I dispose of records I do not want?

Basically you have three options: attempt to sell them, donate them or throw them away. You can try to sell them! eBay is good auction site, however, if you manage to sell any, you may find that the effort it takes to list, pack and ship them to be more trouble than they are worth. Not to mention the cost that eBay will charge you for the same. You might also try to find a local record store, antique dealer or flea market that would give you a few dollars. Running a classified ad in your local paper is an option as well.
You can donate them or give them away! You can donate them to the local Salvation Army, Goodwill or other thrift stores. Some charities will even pick them up, though you might have to throw in some old clothes or furniture to get them to make the trip. Finally, you can throw them away! Why do that when you the options above?

10. Can I transfer my vintage records to tape or CD?

You sure can! To do so, you will need a turntable with phono plugs, a preamplifier (or integrated amplifier) and a recording device (tape recorder, CD writer or computer with sound card).  Today USB turntables are available that make transferring your music much easier.

11. Where can I learn more about collecting?

Hopefully our website has provided you with at least the basics.  There are numerous resources available for both beginning and advanced collectors. You can find more information in bookstores or on the internet.