This past July, my forever-long wish to own a stereo was granted. And ever since, I’ve been obsessed with hunting for records. Like anything else, looking for records at thrift stores, garage and estate sales can be a crap shoot. And an overwhelming one at that! Here are some super basic things I keep in mind when I’m out and about.
♥ Before you you get your heart set on a specific record, check the condition of it first. See deep scratches, scuff marks, chips, cracks or gouges? Skip it. And be sure to inspect both sides too!
♥ Make sure the record isn’t warped. (Warped records = distorted sound.) The easiest way to check is to hold the record up at eye level.
♥ This is a total no-brainer, but while you have the record out, make sure that it matches the jacket. How sad would it be to go home thinking you’d found a rare Kitty Wells record, only to discover some crappy Billy Joel album inside.
♥ Keep a running list of what you’re looking for. I have a friend who keeps her record wish list on Pinterest, I personally keep a running list in my notes on my phone. Either way, just like thrifting for clothes, I find it helpful to keep tabs of what I’m hunting for.
♥ Take a chance! If you come across an intriguing cover, artist or song, and the record’s in good shape, where’s the harm in taking it home for a listen? I picked “Mustang Jazz,” a recording of the Southern Methodist University Marching Band out of a $1 bin at a record fair last month and it pumps me up every time I listen to it!
♥ And last but not least, it’s OK to thrift records just because you like the cover art! Inspired by this Easy Record Cover Art DIY I spotted over the summer, I painted over a pin-up-y instrumental album cover. It sits on my vanity now and I love looking at it when I get ready each morning.
Some other good resources for learning more about thrifting records:
♥ Thrift Store Vinyl: “Listening to used records so you don’t have to.”
♥ The Thrift Store Record Collector: “Collecting records the cheap way.”
♥ How to Clean Old Records
Do you have any tips for thrifting records you want to share? If so, let us hear ’em down below in comments!
I use a vacuum system. You can buy one for $300 from nitty gritty, or build one…which i have done before for $30… http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/cleaner/cleaner.html
The difference is amazing and far, far superior to the usual methods. You want to lift the dirt out of the grooves, and a vacuum system works great.
Also, really read the liner notes, especially old LPs you know nothing about. They can tip you off.