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VG+: (about 50% of Near Mint value). Record shows some signs it was played, for instance some slight scuffs, very light scratches, slight warping that
doesn't affect one's listening experience. May be some slight ring wear or slight discoloration on the label. The center hole will not be misshaped. Inner sleeves will have some slight ring wear, lightly
turned-up corners, or a slight seam split. An LP jacket may have slight signs of wear and may have a cut-out hole, indentation or corner indicating it was
taken out of print and sold at a discount. Another word for VG+ is "Excellent."
VG:(about 25% of Near Mint value). More pronounced VG+ defects. The record could have surface noise but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as will light
scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached.
The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However, it
will not have all of these problems at the same time, only two or three of them.
G: Generally worth 10-15 percent of the Near Mint value. Lots of pops/noises, but still plays through without skipping. Lots of surface noise, scratches and visible groove wear
(on a styrene record, the groove will be starting to turn white). A jacket or sleeve will have seam splits,
especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear or other defects will start to overwhelm the object.
Additional criteria I use when audibly grading records for people:
NM(4) = absolute nothing wrong at all (very rarely happens--I've even opened sealed records and they don't play Near Mint)
3.5-3.9 = very, very light surface noise
3.1-3.4 = very light surface noise, very light pops
VG+(3) = up to light pops and light surface noise (below this, one's enjoyment is affected, very subjective)
VG(2) = up to medium pops and moderate surface noise
G(1) = up to heavy pops and heavy surface noise