No Vinyl Left Behind.

When I’m not recording or performing music, DJ-ing an eclectic set of vintage pop, Jazz, International and fringe vinyl records, or hand-embossing a batch of independently produced lathe-cut records, I’m obviously buying more records. But you might not have known that I also sell records – actually I have to, because that’s how I create more space on my shelves for the new records I buy!

Whether online or at one of several regional record shows I attend, it’s easy and painless to use Square for payment processing; and I can also accept payments through Paypal!

In time I’ll try to revitalize my old blog, which I lost a while back during a server migration. As time will allow, I hope to keep it updated with brilliant insightful articles explaining what I think I know about records. In the spirit of my old ‘zine from the ’80s & ’90s, I’m hoping to be able to rotate between a variety of topics, including:
• highlighted records
• featured artists
• articles about record shops, venues, etc
• audio geek stuff

That’s the idea, anyway. Let’s see how it goes.

In the meantime, welcome to my little record shop, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, get in touch and I’ll see what we can do about that.

Hi there! My name is  J.Free
…and I stand behind each and every one of my records!

Feel free to dig through my virtual bins – 15,100 listings so far!
Trust me when I say there are a LOT more that I haven’t been able to list yet!

Here is a link to all the records I’ve been able to list in my inventory so far
( 15,100 titles logged in as of June 2024 ):

My Record Collection

If you’re looking for something that you don’t see listed, feel free to get in touch – there are thousands of records that I just haven’t been able to get listed yet!

Record Rehab logo

Record Rehab stamp of approval

Here at the Sonic Archives shop, we employ the specially patented Record Rehab method of resuscitating and rejuvenating vinyl from years gone by, in an effort to bring you the sounds you should be hearing.

Here at Sonic Archives Industries, we felt that our Rescue mission was so vital, it deserved its own elemental symbol.

Rescuing records is a real thing; make no mistake. It’s frightening how many record dealers buy up old vinyl collections, and then *throw away* anything they think isn’t worth the time or effort to clean up a bit – or even give it a spin to see how it plays.

Some records which have lived in smokey environments, or partaken of too many drunken soirees, may need a bit of rehab in order to remove whatever may be clogging up those pores.

Ultimately, making every effort to restore each record back to a condition that has *not* outlived it’s usefulness, to paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre.

No Vinyl Left Behind!

Our stringent if not somewhat tedious process was somewhat modeled on the method used by the Library Of Congress, outlined here:

Everything goes through our hands at least once. It’s a time-consuming process, but rewarding.  Everything that enters our facility is removed from its jacket and sleeve, and lightly dusted with a microfiber cloth. If the inner sleeve is present, it may well be yellowed, and susceptible to mold or mildew, therefore, it must be discarded* ( *unless* it is an official label imprinted sleeve, containing anything from useful tips on maintaining your vinyl collection, to the catalog of LPs available during the same era, or even lyrics or fan club info for the very band whose record was previously inserted in the sleeve!)

A Groovmaster™ label protector is fastened through the spindle hole, and gently tightened, to prepare it for a bath of water-soluble Tergitol™ S-15-9* and reverse-osmosis distilled water. While submerged, the vinyl is gently but thoroughly cleaned with a fine microfiber brush, then rinsed in a second bath of pure reverse-osmosis distilled water.

*Tergitol™ has been effective in removing grease, oil, fingerprints, and dissolving mold from phonograph records; and also in cleaning old acetate, lacquer-covered, aluminum disks. Tergitol™ does *not* contain any alcohol, which makes it an excellent solution for cleaning vinyl records, as alcohol-based solutions can destroy them. And, just for the record (sorry about that!), S-15-9 is water-soluble (dissolves in distilled water); whereas S-15-3 is oil-soluble (dissolves in oil) and will *not* mix with distilled water.

Following the bathing process, the record is carefully placed on a vacuum-driven Record Doctor™ which removes any remaining water from the grooves; the record is then placed in a drying rack to air-dry by a natural process. Once dry, the record is placed in a brand-new polyethylene sleeve for protection, until it can be played and / or digitized.

The jacket is very gently wiped with a dry microfiber cloth; and if further cleaning is required, will be assessed for the method which will be the least destructive to the finish of the jacket. This might include the use of a Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser; Simple Green® or BioKleen All-Purpose Cleaner. Any excessive tape or second-party labels may be removed – if they are determined to not be manufacturer issued – with a carefully targeted application of Bestine Thinner or Adhesive Release. The jacket is placed in a polyethylene outer sleeve, which will also house the cleaned vinyl in its own inner polyethylene sleeve. If there is a factory-issued inner sleeve that accompanies the release, that will also be place in the outer poly sleeve with the inner poly sleeve containing the vinyl itself.

Yes, this sounds like a lot of work, and it is! But we here at Sonic Archives developed this system for a reason, and we think it’s worth it. If, at the end of the day, a record has been determined by our expert staff to be unplayable, it can still enjoy an life as an object of art; such as a clock, a laser-etched wall creation, or any number of other clever works of art that have re-purposed many well-loved vinyl records.

Here at Sonic Archives Industries, we mean it when we say, “No Vinyl Left Behind!”

Oooh, this can be such a touchy subject among vinyl collectors and dealers alike. Can we talk about something else, please?
No? Okay then, I just hope this won’t change the way we think of each other, going forward.

MINT : Not used as a grade. Ever. Period.
Why? Let’s look at what discogs says about Mint:
“Absolutely perfect in every way. Certainly never been played, possibly even still sealed. Should be used sparingly as a grade, if at all.”
In my opinion, *no* record is Mint – not even if it is still sealed. The very use of the grade strikes me as an elitist ploy to drive up the projected monetary value of records among an elitist community of dealers and collectors, who may possibly be more motivated by the dollar value than the record itself. No.

NM [Near Mint] : *Nearly* perfect. This at least, seems a bit more realistic.
No obvious signs of wear, plays perfectly with no imperfections during playback. Only the slightest signs of handling. Jackets: No holes, seam splits, etc.
One more time, let’s see what discogs says about this grade:
“Many dealers won’t give a grade higher than this implying (perhaps correctly) that no record is ever truly perfect.”
Now that we can agree on.

VG+ [Very Good Plus] : Very few signs of handling – light inaudible marks, perhaps a *slight* bit of surface noise at times; but nothing that really affects the listening experience. Any visual wear should be barely noticeable – showing only some signs that it has been played, by someone who took good care of it. According to the discogs / Goldmine standards, a VG+ record *could* have a jacket seam split, or a cut-out hole or corner cut. Personally, I would disagree with that, and would place those records in a VG or Good category.
For what it’s worth (again, based on projected monetary value): VG+ records are generally considered to be worth 50% of the Near Mint value.

VG [Very Good] : What I consider the average. VG will reflect signs of wear / handling, and could include: some audible surface noise – light pops or clicks – but will not overpower the music; light wear that might include scratches; possibly writing, tape, stickers on labels or jackets.

The way I see it, this describes most vinyl records on the planet, which to my perception, seems to be shared by a lot of vinyl lovers I’ve encountered wherever I’ve traveled. And yet, some of the most recognized platforms for setting grading standards suggest that VG vinyl is pretty much the bottom of the barrel. That would imply that there isn’t even a need for Fair or Poor grades, and you would only settle for Very Good if you were completely desperate.

According to the guidelines shared by Goldmine and discogs, VG vinyl starts to show noticeable groove wear, which I also don’t quite agree with – I would probably rate that somewhere between Good and Fair. Goldmine price guides also have generally listed records rated Very Good as the lowest price – again, equating VG with a Poor grade.

Full disclosure: *Most* of my used vintage vinyl records fall in the VG category. Keep in mind that most of my vinyl sales occur at Record Shows, and the folks who buy records from me can inspect them in person, and have gone on to become some of my most valued repeat customers over the years. And most of those folks are buying decent, playable, affordable records which I would probably grade VG, Good, or Fair (and even a few I would likely grade as Poor!). For any number of reasons, a lot of us are content to have a reasonable decent copy of a record, without having to take out a loan to pay for it. And this is one of the reasons I keep repeating my vinyl mantra: “No Vinyl Left Behind!”

Actually, that’s three questions. But here goes:

As I may have already alluded to, most record dealers, collectors, etc, don’t generally see eye to eye. That’s probably not going to change much in the next century, so the best we can hope for is that we all can respectfully agree to disagree. All I can tell you is that I try to grade the records I sell fairly, and since *all* of them have been play-graded as well as visually graded, I can vouch for how well each record plays. Sure, you might feel like a record I graded “VG” is over-priced at $3, but to someone else, it’s an opportunity to listen to a record they might not get to hear otherwise.

Yes, you can disagree, but no fisticuffs.

A refund is never out of the question, but like any reasonable businessperson, I would probably want to avoid dealing with anyone who tried to make a habit of something like that. Besides, are you sure you can’t find *something* else you might be happy with?

I would prefer it if you did not try to sue me if we have a disagreement. But hey, you seem like a decent sort of person – are you sure you wouldn’t rather just hang out for a bit and we can talk about records over a refreshing beverage?

See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Funny you should ask that. I actually *can* remove scratches in many situations, using nothing but a razor sharpened toothpick, a magnifying glass or a microscope, and the patience of a Jedi. It depends, though – sometimes the moon has to be in a certain orbit, and the stars have to be perfectly aligned, or it just won’t work. At any rate, it’s not a service I offer or charge for, and there are no guarantees with this sort of thing. And I especially would not feel up to the task of attempting more than a couple trouble areas on a single record – if it’s too scratched, perhaps it’s ready to become a piece of wall art?

Oh boy, do we ever!

CDs, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, 78s, Edison Diamond discs…. all in a variety of shapes and sizes: 5″, 7″, 8″, 10″ 12″, for the discerning music listener, regardless of format!

Also books! And Magazines! About music (and musicians!) T-shirts! Posters! Etc!

No. A Thousand Times. No.

The *only* digital downloads I can legally sell anyone, are of my *own* music, and, ummm …I don’t know if you’d really like it or not …it might be a little different than whatever else it is that you probably listen to. Or maybe I’m wrong about that, in which case, maybe we should start a band together?

Because all of the records I sell have lived with me for a while, or at least long enough to spend a bit of time with my ever-rotating music library, I have actually digitized everything that I currently have listed in my Inventory Collection, over at the discogs site. Warts and all, in 24/48 quality, with absolutely no processing. That said, I can generally *offer* you a digital transfer of a record you actually purchase from me, with the caveat that you don’t return the record. Don’t worry – I don’t mis-represent anything I sell, and if you get a record that you think looks a bit rough, you also can have the transfer I made of that very same record, which proves that it is playable. If that doesn’t sound fair to you, then maybe we should talk about this *before* you buy the record, okay?

Yes! Yes I do!!

If you have a collection of vinyl records that you would like to see go to a good home, then we have a common interest, and I’d love to help you with that!

As a longtime avid record collector myself, I really do understand how hard it can be to let go of your vinyl friends, but for one reason or another, it’s something we all eventually end up doing. I’ve done it myself a handful of times in the last 40 years! That said, I will be glad to give your vinyl the best appraisal I can, and offer you what I believe is a fair price, so that they can go to another good home, and not just end up in a dumpster somewhere.

Get in touch if you have some records you need to part with – and that goes the same for cassettes, CDs, 8-track tapes, posters, t-shirts, or any other music memorabilia you may need to let go of. I’m sure we should be able to work something out!

If you’re looking for a little extra flavor in your special event…

The DJ Hypnos Sound System is in full effect!

Spinning an eclectic mix of vintage vinyl and post-modern grooves!