Now, since last week’s instalment I can only hope at least one of you went out into the garage or basement and wiped off the dust of an old family member’s turntable. Perhaps you conducted a science experiment or two or . . . maybe not. But if so, I’ve accumulated a must top-six list for anyone new to the world of vinyl.
And, if you happen to be a seasoned vinyl veteran, this will just be a quick visit back to your days in vinyl elementary school.
Know thy local record store
In my humble opinion, Into the Music is the store to shop vinyl. Located in the heart of The Exchange on McDermot Avenue, the staff at Into the Music are both friendly and knowledgeable. The store offers a great selection of used vinyl, but unless you intend on meticulously thumbing through the bargain bin, expect to pay the full price value of what the record is worth. Get to know the clerks too; don’t be shy. Ask them to share their knowledge. We all have to start somewhere, right?
Also, in the back of Music Trader there is a fantastic selection of new vinyl. All at pretty fair prices too. You should also look for incentives. A lot of new bands bundle mp3 downloads of the album with the purchase of the vinyl copy these days. That way you get the best of both worlds!
Don’t rule out places like Value Village, Salvation Army, garage sales or even Kijiji — there are some great finds out there. Legend has it a man once found a copy of Bob Dylan’s 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which included four additional tracks that were deleted from subsequent pressings. He found it in the bargain bin at a thrift store. Rumour has it the record company had ordered all these copies to be destroyed. Well, apparently not. Long story short, the record is one of the rarest out there and can sell for up to US$35,000 in excellent condition.
Protect your purchases
When storing vinyl records you should keep them upright; never ever lay a record flat or stack them one on top of the other. Over time it will wear out the grooves, let alone the cover, and your record probably won’t play properly. You might as well use it as an oversized beer coaster. If you don’t have a shelf with the proper height, old milk crates work well too. Just be sure to keep them away from dusty areas, direct sunlight and rooms with fluctuating changes in temperature.
When it comes to preservation, keep your vinyl in poly sleeves. They can be a little slippery, but they will preserve your records best. For the inside, use acid-free paper. Acid-free paper ensures that over time, unlike other papers, the acidity won’t eat into the vinyl, thus damaging the record. Inner poly sleeves are also available but do cost more in price. Practise these precautions and they will give you the longest life out of your vinyl.
Next time: Six tips for the vinyl collector: Part 2.