Crate Digging Etiquette Part 1: Record Shopping With Manners

WARNING: This post has a high snark factor! Proceed with caution...

Few things peeve me more than an encounter with a rude record nerd who thinks he's the only person in the shop. Guess what pal, you're not. And yep, I know it chaps your smelly, hairy ass that a WOMAN is invading your precious vinyl space. Tough. Deal with it. Women love vinyl too, so suck it up and move over! As you may have guessed, today's post is about crate digging etiquette. Etiquette is another word for proper manners, and if yo' mama didn't teach you any, then listen up...

First of all, I am not what you would call a raging feminist, but I am all for equality. Equality for everyone regardless of sex, race, color or creed. I don't know who decided that record collecting was a BOYS club, but I'm here to tell you times have changed. It never ceases to amaze me when I come in contact with some jerkface who wants to swing his dick around and think that a mere female couldn't POSSIBLY know ANYTHING about records. Thankfully, this doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Guys, are you honestly going to tell me that if you met a woman in the vinyl section of your favorite music store, that you wouldn't try to chat her up?? Puh-leeeze.

Remember the old saying, 'Judge not lest ye be judged' (or something like that)? Well it totally applies to collecting records too. In an earlier post, I advise against being a record snob: A Short List Of Do's And Don'ts For Record Collecting  because it just aint pretty. Collecting vinyl is as much for sharing as it is for personal gratification, so be nice. You never know who might have-or know where to get-some holy grail record you happen to be looking for.

Another proper, courteous behavior while crate digging is to leave at least one row if not two between you and the person next to you. If you're just joining the rack, ask the person on either end which direction they are going, and start at the opposite end or go behind them. If there's just too many people at the racks, go to another section and come back when it thins out. Few people look through every single record available (I do!), so it won't take but a few minutes before you can get your greasy mitts in there.

People, my point here is that regardless of knowledge base, history or which set of genitalia you have between your legs, record shopping is meant to be a highly enjoyable experience. Don't ruin it for others by being a selfish know-it-all, because you DON'T know it all. Can't we all just play nice in the sandbox without flinging turds at each other?

Rant over.

Seven Inches of Heaven Part 2: A Tasty Oingo Boingo 3 Track Rarity

As promised, this post is dedicated to my latest 7" treasure; an Oingo Boingo 3 track rarity featuring 'All The Pieces' b/w 'Cruisin' and 'Lap of Luxury'. From what I have learned, they are outtakes from the Good For Your Soul album, and incredibly difficult to find. This is no doubt a bootleg pressing (limited to 200 pieces supposedly), which is something I don't often condone. However, for the shockingly low price the seller was asking, I could not pass it up. Then I played it. O.M.F.G. There are several Oingo Boingo songs at the top of my favorites list, but All The Pieces just kicked the shit out of all of them. Listen up:

Uh huh. What did I tell you? Gave me a six foot boner too. Don't you just love it when little gems like this somehow make their way into your life? I know I would still be blissfully ignorant if I hadn't come across this amazing track, but my life is definitely the better for it. I simply can NOT stop playing it.

'Cruisin' is a hard one to find too, but it is on You Tube as well and I'll include it at the bottom of this post. Whoever is responsible for putting these three tasty little tracks together on delicious green vinyl should be mighty proud of themselves. In fact, I'm considering purchasing another copy, because at the rate I'm going, this little beauty, will wear out sooner than later. You're welcome!



Jumping On The BLACK FRIDAY Bandwagon

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for making it back from my Seattle road trip in one piece. The horrific combination of rain storm, high winds and holiday traffic caused this trip to be the most stressful and physically challenging ever. Whew. That being said, I did pick up some tasty vinyl finds for you, including several of my best selling titles and a few special treats. Everything will be listed by tomorrow afternoon for your perusal, and my Black Friday sale will go into effect on Friday morning at 8 AM PST.

Soooo, what this means for YOU, dear readers, is an extra special coupon code which is to be applied at checkout for additional savings beyond my BF sale. Inconceivable! I will run this sale & coupon code thru DEC. 4th, so you'll have plenty of time to get in on the extra savings. Well, it's just my way of thanking you for taking the time to read my little vinyl blog, as well as celebrating it and promoting it too. So without further ado....here is your coupon code: BLOGREADR. You can enter my Etsy Vinyl Shop via this link, or by clicking on any album cover and/or link on this blog. Psst! Here's a tip: This coupon code will not expire, so feel free to use it anytime you like. Oh yeah.

Enjoy your T-Day, everyone. I'll be back after the holiday with a rockin' new post featuring a rare Oingo Boingo 7" which is my latest obsession. Stay tuned!

ROAD TRIP! Seattle Bound...

Dear fellow vinyl junkies, do not despair! I have not fogotten about you. I have been amassing a collection of Christmas records to tempt you all with, and getting them listed in my Etsy Shop. Tomorrow I head off for a road trip to Seattle, in search of as many just cool records as I can get my grubby little mitts on. I will have a full report for you by Wednesday, in plenty of time before you engorge yourself with triptophan (turkey, that is), or pass into a pumpkin pie induced coma. You are the first to know that I will be having a Black Friday Sale starting on Friday morning! And just because I wanna see who's paying attention, I will post a SPECIAL COUPON CODE for my blog readers only that will reward you with an extra 10% off any purchase in addition to the discounted prices from the sale. What am I, crazy?? Yup.

So stay tuned, my little bloggees, look for the new post on Wednesday, but the sale/coupon code will not go into effect until Friday, so hold yer damn horses...

Seven Inches Of Heaven: My Newfound Love Of The 45 Record

OK kids, get yer minds outta the gutter. Even though I admit the title of this post is intentionally provocative, it's all vinyl, all the time in this here blog....

I have never really been a collector of those tiny records containing 2-4 songs each called singles, 45's, seven inches-or 7"s-, and we did not have very many of them in my household when I was a child. Growing up in the 1970's and 1980's, it was more about the album itself. In fact, I can only think of a few titles we had, and they were all my Mom's disco stuff, or Hall & Oates. Yes, well... It wasn't until I bought my first Adam and the Ants album that I received my first 45, which was included with the Kings of the Wild Frontier or Prince Charming album, I forget which. But I'll never forget what it was; 'Stand and Deliver' with Adam dressed in full highwayman gear, brandishing two pistols into the air and that damn sexy sneer on his face.

As I've said before, I stopped collecting records for about 25 years before heading full blast into it again, this time for good. The 12" album still holds the most magic for me, but recently I have found myself enamored with these tiny records, particularly rare and limited pressings of mostly punk rock, Brit Pop and just plain strange bands, provided they possess the almighty picture sleeve or are pressed on colored vinyl. It goes without saying that these tend to be the most expensive and hard to find, but I love a challenge.

There is something special about 45's that I find difficult to put into words. Maybe it's just their sweet size, or that you can just collect your very favorite songs. However, there's no denying they are a very cool part of vinyl history, and actually some of the most expensive records out there. It goes without saying that the most rare and expensive tend to be the Beatles, Elvis and Northern Soul just to name a few. But as any true crate digger knows, sometimes we get lucky at a garage sale, thrift store or it's actually passed down to you from a family member. Lucky!

It's good to see new artists pressing singles today, keeping the love for the 7" alive. Jack White has of course been perhaps the biggest contributor, with some of the White Stripes 45's going for hundreds of dollars apiece. Wow. Love to get my hands on one of those carrying cases too...

Anyhow, at least with vinyl size doesn't matter, it's all good. Maybe you'd like to take a look at some of the 45's available in my Etsy Shop. I plan on actively looking for more of these pint sized platters for myself, and for you. Stay tuned!

Guest Post Open Call To Vinyl Enthusiasts

In my ongoing effort to network with other vinyl enthusiasts, I'd like to extend an open call to anyone who would like to do a guest post here on my blog. The choice of topic is entirely up to you provided it pertains to vinyl in some way, can be of any word length, voice and style you choose. This is not to say I've run out of ideas already! I would just love to give someone a chance to voice their opinion, or offer knowledge and/or experience within the delicious world of vinyl record appreciation.

I'd also love to hear from any record store owners who perhaps have vinyl sales statistics they would like to share, or observations on your vinyl-buying customers. Who are the people you see buying vinyl? If you sell other items besides vinyl, what is the ratio of vinyl-to-other items and how much, if any, of an increase have you seen in recent times? What is the ratio of old/used vs. new vinyl purchases, and how many records do you offer in your shop?

Additionally, any online vinyl sellers who would like to participate are more than welcome. How long have you been selling records online, and what genres do you prefer to sell, if any?

Of course, links to your website or store information will be posted along with your article. I want to make this as much of a win-win situation as possible, so don't be shy!

Feel free to contact me via this blog or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/justcoolrecords) and let's network! My hope here is to provide quality information for any and all people who love vinyl records. Spread the word, share the knowledge and TURN IT UP!

A Short List Of Do's And Don'ts For Record Collecting

In my ongoing effort to provide helpful information regarding the special care and feeding of your record collection, I realized there are a few tips to mention which have not been previously covered here yet. The following is just a short, go-to list to file away in your memory banks after spending this month's budget on your latest acquisitions. Please feel free to comment and add some suggestions of your own...

DO:

-Handle your records by the outer rims only as much as possible. Even if your hands are freshly washed, you will still leave a greasy fingerprint on the record from the natural oils in your skin.

DO:

-Use cotton or natural fiber cloths to clean your records. When a cloth needs washing, let it air dry naturally or put in the dryer without a dryer sheet. A dryer sheet can leave a residue on your records, requiring them to need a repeat cleaning.
DO:

-Store your records away from extreme temperature fluctuations. Common and well-used areas in the home are best, as they will be climate controlled and the most evenly tempered. Think of your records as little living, breathing beings. They want to be comfortable too!

DO:

-Keep track of the approximate use of your needle. Needles vary greatly in quality and sound production, and they all have a life span. To keep your records sounding their best, replace needles according to each manufacturer's specifications.
DO:
-Keep records within its inner sleeve when not in use. It's just good practice and will help to keep them clean.


DON'T:

-EVER clean your records with a paper product of any kind. Paper is made from wood, and wood will put fine scratches on your vinyl. If done repeatedly, it will damage the grooves and lower sound quality.

DON'T:

-Over-clean your records. Using a velvet or micro fiber brush each time you play a record is fine provided it needs it. But save cleaning with solvents to a minimum and only when the record really needs it to remove fingerprints and other foreign materials.

DON'T:

-Keep store price tags and stickers on the album covers--particularly older, used records if you care about preserving them. The glues used on the stickers will become more difficult to remove as time goes on, and will most always take the top layer of the cover off with it. Remove stickers slowly and carefully, using Q-Tips and alcohol if necessary.

DON'T: -Assume your friends and/or family know how to handle your records with care. If you're reading this blog, it is my educated guess that you want to learn how to care for your records properly. So if preserving your vinyl's condition is important to you, don't let your drunken friends get their meat-hooks on your little babies.

DON'T:

-Be a vinyl snob. It makes the rest of us look bad. We are all on this planet to learn, share and love. Give of your knowledge freely and you will be richly rewarded. Don't discriminate by overshadowing some one's personal vinyl journey by pretending you know more than everyone else. You just might be surprised....

And there you have it. A few little tips to keep in mind while amassing an impressive record collection. As always, there will be much more to follow, so I hope you'll join me in upholding the vinyl standards.

Easy Album Cover Repairs: Split And Unglued Seams

How many records have you passed up because of split or unglued seams on the album covers? Well no more, I say! Today's post shows you how to repair split and unglued seams on album covers, to help put an end to those nasty splits. Your collection will thank you for it, not to mention kick up its value a few bucks. Sweet, huh?

This is just one of several articles I have written and plan on writing for fellow record sellers and collectors who join me in KEEPING VINYL ALIVE. Whatever damage we can eliminate and prevent, the better the future of  'our preciouses'.

Before you go scotch taping your album covers together, have a look at these few tips to help you repair splits and unglued seams easily and with great results. No need for expensive tools or fancy gadgets, just some simple household items will suffice.


THE TOOLS

-Glue Stick: Not a hot glue stick, get the thick pasty stuff (the kind some kids ate in kindergarten) that comes in a twist-up tube. Rubber cement is also an option, but tends to be messy and you will undoubtedly get some on your hands, possibly transferring it to the front of the album cover and defeating our purpose here.

-Card Stock: Thin, but sturdy works exceptionally well. You will be using very small pieces at a time, so no need to keep a ton of it on hand (unless you're a super-obsessed record seller/collector like me!) You can even cut up the old greeting cards that Grandma gave you to re-use and recycle.

-Set of Sharpies: A small, rainbow colored pack is sufficient. Black, Blue and Red are the most common colors you will need.

THE PROCESS

Say you want to repair a complete or partial seam that has come unglued--not split--we will get to that kind of repair next. This is super easy; take your glue stick and run it along the glue line on the inner flap which has come apart. Hint: sometimes it's easier to GENTLY pull apart the rest of the seam so you can re-glue the entire seam for an even repair. DO NOT rip the seam apart. If the glue is failing, it will come up easily. Remember to keep your glue stick in the middle of the flap so you don't glue the insides together, as this will cause your cover to become too small for the record to slip into.

Press firmly and evenly along the outside of the cover where you have just re-glued. For best results, place the repaired seam between a stack of heavy books, or in between a stack of records and leave overnight if possible. This will give the glue plenty of time to set and create a strong bond on the seam. That's it!

Seam splits are very common on older, or well-loved record covers, but do not have to be left to increase in size and get worse. They will most commonly appear on the spine and bottom seams. This is where you will use your card stock. Of course, if you can, match the card stock to the color of the album cover. Not essential, but certainly ideal. You can also color the card stock to match with one of your sharpies. (clever, eh?)

Cut the card stock at least one inch longer than the seam split. For example; for a two inch long seam split, cut card stock to be three inches long and at least one inch tall. Card stock can be taller than one inch, but if it's too tall, it will be more likely to 'catch' on the inner sleeve when you slip the record (within its inner sleeve, please) back into the cover. Fold card stock exactly in half to create a new 'seam' and cover the entire outside with glue stick.

Now carefully place the card stock piece inside the record cover where the seam has split and press evenly, again making sure not to glue the insides together. Again, press between books or records or other heavy objects and leave overnight if possible. Don't worry about the exposed glue edge that has become your replacement seam, it will dry clear and you can touch it up with ink or a sharpie if needed.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT: After your covers have been repaired and the glue has dried completely, cover them with poly outer sleeves to protect your handiwork and prevent further damage.
Now if I only knew how to repair split and broken records, THAT would be something! Anyone got any ideas?? I encourage anyone with related blogs and websites to contact me, and let's share links. Networking is what it's all about, so bring it on!

Condition, Condition, Condition: Dirt vs. Damage on Vinyl Records

Just as location is everything to a brick-and-mortar shop and real estate, condition is pretty much everything to vinyl records. For today's post, I'd like to mention a few key points to consider before purchasing a used or vintage album. Most of this will be old hat to seasoned collectors, but this post is aimed at the new or casual record collector who may be unaware of some things to look for.

As most of us know, condition varies greatly in records, particularly those pressed from the mid to late 1970's thru the 1980's which were thinner and less sturdy than older records of the 1950's and 1960's. Additionally, everyone's opinion of 'VG+' is different too, as we don't all bow to the Goldmine standards of record grading. But I think it's fair to say we have a similar threshold when it comes to the average collector. Grading rare and expensive records is another matter, perhaps for another blog post. Stay tuned for more newsworthy and interesting tips regarding vinyl records in future posts and articles. I am in it for the long haul...join me, won't you?

So you've started a record collection. Good for you! Collecting records is not only a highly enjoyable hobby (and lifestyle for some), it can be a wise investment as well. But what are some things to consider when collecting vinyl records?

First off, condition. Condition is very important and should be foremost in your mind when purchasing used or vintage albums. This isn't to say that every record should be scrutinized with a magnifying glass before buying it. However, knowing and recognizing the difference between dirt vs. damage will not only save you from buying an unplayable record, it can save you money or perhaps produce a pleasant surprise after cleanup. Let me explain...

The following are several kinds of dirt and other foreign objects commonly found on used records:

-Fingerprints

-Dead insects (yep, for real)

-Mold and mildew: A LOT of old records have been stored in basements. Pay close attention to BLACK MOLD which can be harmful if not removed quickly and carefully. Moisture damage normally only extends to the album cover and/or inner sleeve, use your discretion.

-Dust and paper particles from the inner sleeve or cover

-Mystery gunk best not described here

All of the above substances can be successfully cleaned off your records with little to no effort, leaving little to no traces behind. Unless you're a particularly squeamish person, none of these things should stop you from purchasing a desired album. A simple cleaning can turn a $5 record into a $25 record if it happens to be a rare title, so you don't want to let a little dirt stand in your way, right?

So how do you determine damage to a record that is clean or has been cleaned? Here's a few things to look for right away that should alert a red flag for you:

-Deep scratches: Scratches that can be felt will typically alter the playback of the record, or even cause damage to your needle. Consider the length and depth of the scratch. Light scratches are a matter of personal opinion, and should be examined closely before purchase. i.e: how many, the length of the scratch or mark, etc.

-Cracks or chips: Sometimes cracks can be so tight, you won't even see them with a cursory glance--but you can feel them. Forget it. Put it back.

-Warping: Warping, believe it or not, is also a matter of personal opinion. Always check the severity of the warp. A slight warp, in most cases, should be undetectable in playback provided it hasn't altered the shape of the record too much. A severe warp will cause your needle to jump, risking possible damage, and/or the record to 'skip' which disturbs playback.

-Manufacturing Flaws: Small divets, bubbles and dents can all be manufacturing flaws which may or may not create tics or other surface noises upon playback. Feel the depth of the flaw to determine whether or not you want to take a chance on it.

-Crayon, Ink & Permanent Marker: Found almost exclusively on children's records. The solvents needed to properly remove these things will more than likely cause damage to the record, or at the very least to playback. Should be avoided unless markings are minimal, or are on the label or record matrix only.

Of course there are many other factors to consider when gauging damage, but this list will give you a good start. Many other tips regarding storage and proper care for your record collection are available, and should be reviewed when beginning to collect records. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy listening!

How To Preserve and Protect Your Vinyl Record Collection

Over the years, people have asked me all kinds of questions regarding records. Again, I must reiterate that I am by no means an expert. However, that being said, you know I've got my opinions and love to share them with you. Today I'd like to share some basic tips on how to keep your slabs-o-wax in great shape now and forever. If there is a particular topic you would like to read about regarding records, please feel free to let me know!
Collecting records has become one of my very favorite hobbies, as well as a lucrative side business. When I first began to sell records, I didn't realize it could be so satisfying and educational at the same time. My only hope is that someday I'll devise a way to reach a wider audience and continue to recruit new vinyl collectors. No disrespect to 'old' vinyl collectors of course, as I could be classified as an 'old' vinyl collector myself. What I mean to say by that is I took a 25 year 'break' in collecting records by getting caught up in the CD generation (although it took me until 1992 to purchase my first CD). Before downloads and mp3's took over, I sold rare and out-of-print CD soundtracks (mostly) and did very well until the change. Which is when I decided to try my hand at selling vinyl, with much trepidation, because I assumed record collectors were infinitely more discerning than CD buyers. But in fact, it seems that I am the pickier one for the most part.
Anywho, fast forward a few years and literally 1000's of records later, I find myself wanting to share my knowledge with others who may be reluctant to spend their hard earned money on yet another musical format. Newbie collectors, I salute you, and assure you that any money spent on records is a wise investment. Guys, chicks dig it and this gives you the golden opportunity to use that ancient pick-up line, "Wanna come over and check out my record collection?" And gals, trust me, guys think it's really hot when we can hold our own in this arena. Heavy up!


Many people just beginning to collect vinyl records may not realize how to care for their collection properly. Careful storage, proper care and cleaning can make a world of difference in prolonging the life of a record. Here are just a few, simple tips to remember to keep your collection in great shape for many years to come:

STORAGE

Records should always be stored in an upright position. This is why records are often kept in crates, so they will stay evenly upright with little or no slanting. Records that have been stored at a slant for an extended period of time can warp because of the uneven pressure which has been placed on them.Older records, particularly from the 1950‘s and 1960‘s, are less prone to warping because of their thickness and material content. Newer vinyl, especially 1980‘s records, were pressed much thinner and are more susceptible to damage.

The same can be said for covers as well; album covers from the 50‘s and 60‘s were made of hard, substantial cardboard often covered with glossy photo paper which stands up very well to the test of time. Newer records have much thinner covers, which are easily bent, marred and rippled from moisture damage.

Do not stack records on top of each other, the pressure can also cause them to warp and/or (God forbid) crack. Their weight can be deceptive until a few or more are stacked together, causing the record(s) on the bottom to withstand the combined weight. It’s just good practice to keep them upright and free from the weight of other records.

Store records in a temperature controlled room, away from extreme fluctuations of cold and hot. Records make great conversation pieces, as well as beautiful works of art so display them proudly where guests can peruse your collection in a comfortable environment. Dirty, moldy, wet basements are certain death to records, so unless you’re planning to build a vinyl graveyard, keep ‘em outta here. The same can be said for attic spaces; attics tend to be stifling, hot, dusty and confined, so your precious copy of John Denver's Rocky Mountain High won’t last long up there.

Poly outer sleeves are an excellent way to keep dust, dirt and damage off your records and covers. They provide a protective layer for the covers, keeping them free of surface rubbing or ‘ring wear’, corner bumps and scratches which are all normal occurrences with everyday use. A ‘collector’s favorite’ poly outer sleeve is made from 3mil Polyethylene and comes in LP (12“) and 45 (7“) sizes. These are a minor investment and will keep your collection looking top notch.

CLEANING

There are many methods for cleaning records properly, of which the specifics can vary greatly. Phan-Stat is one of several record cleaning fluids which can be purchased online or in some record shops. Used moderately and with a low nap chamois cloth, it will produce excellent results on a dirty record. A little research could be necessary to discover the many methods of record cleaning, but are ultimately a personal choice.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind when collecting records, or preserving a current collection. With the vinyl revival in full upswing, the proper care of vinyl records is more important than ever as their value continues to increase. If you ever decide to part with your collection, your resale value will also increase if you have properly cared for them. As with all collectibles, condition means everything and the better the condition, the higher the value.