Sunday, March 6, 2016

How to buy Vinyl records

What with all the fuss about the revival of records, somebody had to write a straightforward essay about the pro's and con's of buying LP's and what beginners need to know about them. Unlike those old blokes on BBC 4 (I'm looking at you Danny Baker)  I will tell you about how to buy records without getting all whimsical and nostalgic. The first step is the most obvious really (1) Always buy Independent Now that Tesco, HMV,  and Urban Outfitters are selling LP's it might be tempting to pop into one and get yourself a few records, and you have every right to do so. You won't find the new Ty Segall album amongst the grocery's however. Independent store's have been making a come back recently, and it's due to the revival of LP's, as well as a bit of a leg up from 'Record Store day'. While you may have to walk to the outskirts of town. You can have an actual conversation and discover music that you'd not have heard otherwise. While HMV may like you buying LP's as it makes them an extra £5. The money you spend at an indie will put food on the guy's table. (2) Avoid re-issues if you can. If you are lucky to live near a good second hand store such as The Diskery then you will find it so much easier to get first, second or third pressings. (3) Always buy 1st pressings if you can, the sound will be so much better and you will have the nice smug feeling that your favourite albums were all the first out the factory. However don't forget to (4) Set a budget, don't spend over £25 on anything unless you are an actual collector. (5) Get 70's and 80's records rather than 60's or 90's. Mint 90's indie records are as rare as early 60's classics. Both will cost a fortune. Although 60's 7" singles can be bought for anything above 10p. (6) Be wary of new releases, and (7) Avoid gimmicks. Modern day records are not always pressed to the same quality as older ones. My copy of Jamie XX's In Colour plays so quiet I can hear bees buzzing in the background over it. (7) Charity Shop's can be a goldmine for records. Oxfam may have jumped on the bandwagon and upped their prices, but you can still find the odd Gem. As a general rule older records can be warped and covered in scratches. You'd be amazed how well they can still play though. (8) Buy a decent cleaning kit and you can make old records look new again. (9) you don't need a fancy turntable, if you are just starting out then you're probably better off with a Crosley than a Bose. My Crosley Cruiser cost under £100 and while many snobs hate them, I love mine dearly. Most important of all, you need to (10) make space. Find an old bookshelf and move the books somewhere else. You may only want to buy the occasional Record Store Day collectible but you will find your collection grows very fast very quickly.

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