Compact discs put the vinyl industry out of business in the 1990s. However, just like any other trend, the world is witnessing a blast from the past. CDs are out, and vinyl is back in as collectors scramble to find the artists they love in their original format. If you’re looking to start your Muddy Waters or Jimi Hendrix collection, then check out these tips to boost your blues rock collection cred.
What or who to collect
What you collect ultimately depends on the purpose of your collection. If you want to collect for the joy of the music, then you should buy what makes you happy. However, if you’re looking to create a high-value collection, there are certain things you should consider. First, look at pressings from the country of origin of the artist. These are usually limited and are ultimately rare. Earlier pressings will also be more valuable because they sound and feel better. You will eventually learn how to find earlier pressings but these usually have thicker vinyl and sleeves, a street address, a nicely dated record label, and albums from the same time period. Vintage pressings before the 70s will also never have a barcode on the jacket. Some great blues rock artists for beginners to collect include Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Elmore James, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King.
Where to buy blues rock vinyl
You can purchase blues rock records at many different locations. However, you should start your search at brick and mortar shops. Although you might have to pay more and do some research, you’ll be able to physically inspect the records for damages. Try going to your local record store, thrift stores, and garage sales to scout some good deals. Then, you can also scour online resources such as eBay, Amazon, GEMM, InSound, and Discogs. You can usually find records cheaper online as collectors will have to compete on price. However, you do lose the ability to physically look at the collection before you buy.
Determining the condition of a record
Buying vinyl is like buying a house – the condition is extremely important. A rare record can be worth anywhere from $1 to $10,000 depending on how well it is kept up. Therefore, you need to check the condition of the vinyl as well as the record’s jacket. While most vintage vinyl will have scratch marks, you need to check for deep scratches or extreme dirt that can hurt the noise of the record. Also, look at the jacket to make sure there is no wear around the vinyl. Sometimes records can be kept in basements for years and therefore can have anything from general wear and tear to water damage and mold. Remember that buying a record is like an investment or a loan. Therefore, the better the sleeve, the more you can sell it for later. If you’re buying online, you may want to stick to records that are graded. Most sellers follow the Goldmine grading scale and you should probably only purchase records that are graded at VG+ or higher.
How much should you spend?
For beginners, it can be hard to determine what you should spend on your collection. However, a great rule of thumb is to determine how much the record is worth on the market as well as how much it is worth to you. You should consider the scarcity of the record, its demand, the pressing, and its condition when you’re making your decision. Generally, beginners should pay around $10-20 for low-demand artists, and around $50-100 for anything that is in high-demand, scare, or that is an original pressing and in good condition.
With vinyl making a comeback, you can start a collection that can be worth something in the future. Therefore, be sure to do your research and invest in the music that you love.