Whether you're just getting into record collecting or you've been collecting for years, this list has tips for everyone no matter the point in your journey of record collecting. Every collector has their own way of collecting, and there is no wrong way to collect records, so don't get discouraged if you're not sure where to start. We've got you covered!
1. Buy a Record Player
Buying a record player may seem intimidating, but we’re here to help you out with that! There are plenty of budget friendly record players that sound great and will preserve the quality of your vinyl. Here’s a list of record players we suggest starting off with that won't break the bank:
If you're not interested in buying one of these record players, keep in mind that any record player will do. But we recommend getting a record player that has a platter that supports the entire vinyl. A platter that supports your records will decrease the amount of warping that will happen to your records over time.
2. Time To Go Shopping!
Now comes the fun part! There are a couple of different avenues you can take when purchasing records. First, you can buy your records online. Some good online stores to purchase from are Amazon, Discogs, Ebay, Turntable Lab, and yours truly, Waxwork Records!
Second, you can search record stores, thrift shops, and estate sales for new and used records. This option is a great opportunity to meet other locals with similar interests! For those of you on the west coast, check out Amoeba Records, Northwest Grooves, and Light in the Attic! Our friends in the south can visit Wax Records, Inc., The Groove, and Alchemy Records. If you're on the east coast, pop into The Archive, Orbits Record Shop, and The Vinyl Destination! For those of you in the midwest, check out Wax Pax Records & Toys, Bric-a-Brac Records, and Graywhale Entertainment! Either avenue that you choose to take is a great way to purchase records. If you want to go the used route, that leads us to our next suggestion.
3. What to Look For When Buying Used Records
When purchasing used records, you’ll want to look out for a few different things to make sure you’re buying a record that plays decently. More importantly, a damaged record can cause harm to your record player.
First, you’ll want to take the record out of the jacket to inspect it for scratches or a large amount of dirt. If the record is covered in a lot of debris, chances are that the record itself will come with a lot of scratches. In some cases, a store will also have a record player set up where you can listen to your records in person before purchasing. This is a great option, especially if your records are marked G for good. The quality listings rank:
- G - Good
- VG - Very Good
- NM - Near Mint
- M - Mint
4. Set Up a Listening Space
A listening space is a great way to feel connected to your new hobby. Storage is also an important facet of vinyl collecting. This is because the way you store your records has the potential to damage your records. Stacking them puts weight on them, causing them to warp. Always stack your records upright. Some good shelving that we recommend are these shelves from Ikea or Walmart.
5. Invest in Record Cleaning Products
This is something you’ll want to do to increase the lifespan of your vinyl. All records come with even the lightest amount of debris that can scratch your records. Scratched records, as mentioned above, can also damage your stylus. Cleaning your records doesn’t have to be an expensive or time consuming habit, all it takes is a little dust removal beforehand with compressed air, or a record brush. If you’re curious about cleaning, we talked about it in another blog you can see here.