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April 14, 2010

A local DJ's guide to buying vinyl records

this person is playing a record on what is commonly known as a  turn table. it's called that because it sits on a table and spins the  records. music ensues.

After last week's column about DJs spinning vinyl, I thought it would be appropriate to get some advice on looking for and buying vinyl records.

Patrick "DJ Action Pat" Griffin, who regularly plays Save Your Soul at Lithuanian Hall, has been collecting vinyl for the past 10 years.

His collection, which numbers about 4,000, is heavy on soul, R&B and rock 'n' roll from the '50s.

Over time, Griffin has developed strategies for where to find the most obscure records, and how much to pay. Here are his tips for aspiring vinyl collectors ...

Where to buy: Go to everything from thrift stores to flea markets to record stores. I go to the Arbutus Record & CD Show every month, and record fairs in Allentown and Austin if I’m on that side of the country. Go to different dealers and collectors’ houses and dig through what they have, and trade with people online. Those are the main places to look ...

What to search for: Look for labels that put out early soul, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll in the ‘50s and ‘60s, especially labels like King or Federal. Those are some of the big ones. Also look for subsidiaries of those labels. Carry a portable record player with you and quickly listen to a snippet of each of the songs. You can tell what you like and don’t like from that.

How much to pay: If you’re buying from an online dealer or eBay, you’re going to pay top dollar, because you’re dealing with people from all over the world who are looking for that same record. If a record is worth $300, you’re probably going to end up paying $300. If you’re digging through antique stores and flea markets, you’re going to find a lot less of what you’re looking for, but when you find it, it’s going to be at dirt cheap prices. Last year when I was in Texas, I found a $1,200 garage record for $20. That doesn’t happen very often though.

(Photo by Josh Sisk)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:37 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music


Good article, but I must differ with the pricing with online dealers. Many offer good value for their vinyl. Some are higher, yes, but with a little research you can still find bargains. The trick is finding those whose Grading is acurate, What is NM to some is not what I would call VG

Larry down at Dimensions in Music on Park by Saratoga has so much vinly- when he asked me to catalog, database, and web base his stock, I had to honestly tell him- you can't afford it. The state asked me to do the same and they couldn't afford it.

When I want some good vinyl I just head down to El Suprimo! on Aliceanna in Fells Point. It's all killer, no filler, and if you need a turntable or an amp he's got you covered.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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