word from the wise: how to score the best vinyl records

by Jasmine Wallis

Chancing on a gem of a record after a hard day of rummaging is a truly spesh feeling. If you’re keen to start hunting for and spinning your own vinyls, you’re in luck. We had a chat with Ari Roze from Plug Seven Records to glean his tips and tricks on how to source the best records and give your dad’s dusty collection a run for its money.

Body 1

When did your love for vinyl begin?
When I was 19. Up until then, CDs and cassettes were where it was at. I traded my stepfather for his copy of Fela Kuti’s Zombie, the deal being if I bought him the CD, I could have the record. Good deal.

How is a record made?
With a lot of care! It’s easy to mess up making a record from the recording to the final pressing stage. But if we are just talking about the actual process of making the physical record, that involves transferring the recording to a lacquer, making a metal stamp from that and then using a record press to stamp copies onto some melted plastic (vinyl) which then becomes your favourite record.

Why the increase in vinyl lovers recently?
Records are great. They make you slow down and listen to music; make you really appreciate it.

What do you think listeners get from vinyl that they can’t get from music in digital form?
Better sound, more overall appreciation of the music, great artwork, a lighter wallet and something to show off to their other record-collecting buddies.

Where would you suggest a beginner start when wanting to build up a record collection?
A decent record player, amp and speakers! Don’t buy junk – you will regret it and not get the most out of your records’ grooves. Then get Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love and take it from there. Or you could buy some of the plethora of amazing compilations of music out there at the moment: Zambian psychedelic funk, dreary English progressive rock. Who knows? Whatever you want, it’s coming out on record.

How much would you expect to buy a record player for?
$750–$1500 will get you a decent to very good turntable.

Body 2

What are the pros and cons of searching for records in a store versus a flea market or op shop?
The pros are that you are probably dealing with the professionals and will find some pretty serious stuff in their shop; the cons are that you will pay for it. At flea markets you may spend a lot of time and find nothing, but if you do find something, hopefully you won’t pay much for it.

Do you have any recommendations for places to search for records?
Everywhere! Shops are great if they specialise and can offer you some stuff you may otherwise take years to source on your own. Garage sales and flea markets are good for possible cheapies, but I must admit, it takes some serious dedication. I’ve definitely heard stories of people doing that though, so that makes me envious.

What’s the most important thing to remember when sourcing vinyl records?
Make sure it’s in good condition and go for it! If you don't like it you can often trade or sell it later for some more records, or dentistry work.

Is bartering acceptable?
Sure, but don't always expect it to work. Certainly in some countries I go to it’s more acceptable than others.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Music is a wonderful thing and records are a nice way to appreciate music. Records aren’t the be-all and end-all of recorded music, but certainly one of the best formats I know of and a hell of a lot of fun to collect. Get into them if you love music and want to hear it properly.

Head over here to check out Plug Seven's extensive vinyl collection.  

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