How to collect vinyl
45 is not just a waist measurement
So you walk into a flea market with the goal of finding some apothecary jars for the bathroom and you’re sidetracked by a large square piece of art. In excitement you dig the piece out to discover it’s the sleeve for John Lennon’s ‘Walls and Bridges’ album. If you collect vinyl you’ll understand why I was caught on security cam jumping up and down like an eight year old on a mountain dew high. If you don’t, it’s time for you to go vinyl hunting and experience the glory of the record. With the rebirth of vinyl in indie music, there has never been a better time to start.
1. New vs. Old
Whether you’re 53 or 13, everyone has heard of or used a record player. While there is a huge difference in sound and quality on new and old vinyl, I recommend you invest in both. There’s no reason not to jump from Miles Davis to Duran Duran to Stickboy – which can all be found in record format.
2. Where to shop
While there are major retail stores (Hot Topic, FYE, Barnes and Nobles) that have a new vinyl section, don’t let that be your first option. Apart from the very limited selection, the markup price in store is always more than what the album would cost online at the record company or artist’s site. The best place to look for old vinyl is in the local flea market, or at a swap meet. If you’ve ever seen ‘High Fidelity’ then you’ll understand what I mean when I say go look for the best shop nobody has heard of.
3. How to check quality
Most reputable stores will let you test listen to the album before you buy it. This may not be the case in a market or meet. The best way to check quality without listening is to lightly run your fingers over the record and look to see if there are scratches or dents that run against the normal ridges on the record (yeah, those rings are supposed to wrap around the record).
4. Store and Categorise
You can store or categorise your records Alphabetically, By Genre, or Chronologically (the ABCs of organizing). Figure out how you want to store your records so you can find the perfect make-up or break-up song. It’s also important to keep them stacked side by side, not on top of each other; the weight of stacked records may cause bending and warping, which can really screw up the sound.
5. Check out the lyric book and cover art
Ever seen the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy” or Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil”? Both of these have fantastic covers. Sometimes cover art is the most interesting part of your purchase. Also, if you see multiple copies of an album you want, pick the one with the best lyric sheet/cover – you’ll appreciate it later when you’re not sure if Paul said “ku-ku-kachoo” or “goo-goo-gajoob”.
6. The first listen of a new record
Now, as a professional panties dancer, I recommend rocking out in as little clothing as possible. Also, make sure your blinds are down before you go waggling around in your underoos or your hot neighbour may start referring to you as “the Bridget Jones of Sheffield Drive” (based on personal experience, sadly.)
7. Trade, share, and expand your collection.
Why not share your new love with your kids, sister, best friend, or partner? The more people involved, the better. Be a happy shopper, and blast your music loud and proud.