Contemplating vinyl, How hard is it to get LPs?

This may sound lame, but I've been "digital only" now
for 10 years. I was thinking about getting a Rega
Planar 3 and going back. So as stupid as it may
sound, I wanted to get a feeling for how hard it
would be to start an LP collection of 70s/80s

Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Journey, Don Henley,
Aerosmith, Boston.. These are the bands I would
be looking for. Are LPs readily Mail Orderable
and or is it a scavenger hunt kind of process?

How much do LPs cost these days? Are they pressing
new music on LP?

Many mail order houses for vinyl these days, also you can buy albums by the groups you list in good condition used from time to time on this site, also check eBay. Some new music is also issued on vinyl, but not by the groups you listed (obviously). Websites for good new heavy (180 gram) vinyl were recently posted in a thread in this forum, so check the search function for those posts. Music Direct at has many labels and good prices. Better Records out of Chicago does too (also a mail order outfit). And you can always start combing through the old used record stores, full of dust and gems. You can find one or two in most cities you happen to visit, it's fun to go looking for both the stores and the LPs.
Good luck and happy hunting!
I have no trouble finding LP's and prefer shopping for them over cd's. Used record stores are everywhere, and there are also mail order companies. "Audiophile" quality new pressings and collector stuff is expensive, but older albums are $5-$15 for good condition. There are more and more progressive (regressive?) bands recording new music to vinyl. You will want a vaccuum cleaner or VPI or Nitty Gritty. P3 is a good table, but the VPI Jr. can be upgraded for better sound if you get hooked on vinyl (many people do). Paul
I suppose it depends on where you live, but I live in Chicago and they're plentiful and usually cheap. Those bands you mention are all very common and standard pressings could probably be found for a few dollars in great shape. Collectors' pressings will cost more, of course.

Many places sell used LPs via mail or the web, but I've found the results to be mixed. You never know what you're going to get unless you find a place you can trust. Peoples' ratings vary greatly.
Hey Eastside_guy. If you happen to be on the East Coast, drive to the Princeton Record Exchange. You can get just about all the records from the band you mention for $3-5. Heck, many of these records can be found in their extensive 99 cents bin. It's definitely worth the trip.
The bands you are looking for are easy to get at any used record store and typically cost between .50 -$2.00.
Thanks for all the info.. I guess its not as bad as
I thought. But how can I tell whether a used record
is any good? Can you tell by looking at an LP whether
or not it has been worn down on a junk rack system?
I am assuming you loose detail in an LP when it's
grooves are carved out by some old heavy tonearm.
What do I look for in a good used LP ??

Even though the garage sale-thrift store sources are kind of starting to dry up a bit, you can still shop around if you live in any kind of reasonably populated area and find 70-80's rock quite easily. I run out to a thrift store once a week or so, and I always find stuff like that. be prepared to find 1/7 interesting classic rock, and 6/7 Melachrino Strings, Inspirational, Perry Como, Neil Diamond, et alia.

If you live in a semi-urban area, at least a few local record stores will have tons of old used records still lying around.

Then there is the new vinyl and reissue vinyl. I just recently picked up a couple of the new Led Zep re-issues. Excellent sound, packaging. Plus, tons and tons of new artists put out there stuff on high-quality vinyl. If you are into any kind of music that would be used for techno-rave-club music, that stuff HAS to be out on vinyl, and no joke, there is a store downtown from where I live that is almost nothing BUT vinyl, row after row of indie electronica and drum and bass, etc.

In a word: one of the most fun things I've done in recent years is get back into the vinyl. The used stuff is still out there in decent abundance, and the reissue and new stuff just keeps coming and coming.

Ps: if you play used records, make sure you get a cartridge that has a fine stylus. I just changed from a medium-sized stylus cartridge (Grado Red) to a fine-sized one (AT 440ml) and the difference in surface-noise elimination is astounding.

You can't always tell playability by visual methods. I purchased a "not for sale" demo LP which, according to seller, "Are usually pressed with much higher quality as they are going to radio stations... blah, blah, blah". This poor platter was the worst sounding thing (although it looked spankin' new). On the plus side, using the web, I've found EVERY "long lost" disk from my distant youth. Most truly are in pristine condition and at less-than-new prices. Now if they would only clean themselves and not wear out...
There is no definitive way to evaluate a used LP other than to clean and play it. I'm sure all of us have several LPs that look bad but play extremely well and other LPs that look pristine and play poorly. Generally speaking, though, ratty covers and scratched, dirty vinyl, worn holes and worn labels around the hole indicate abuse. Remember that light surface scuffs from sliding the record out of the sleeve is typical and doesn't affect the sound. Scratches that catch your fingernail when you slide your nail over it will "pop" when played. Get some sort of guarantee from the seller if possible, or at least get the seller to work with you. A good wet cleaning system can rejuvenate vinyl to a surprising degree and is almost a must.

Phild is correct that ratings are very subjective and inconsistent. Using "Goldmine" magazine standards, I've seen some dealers mark a record as "Mint Minus" when I would have given it a "Good Plus" which is kinda rough.

If you buy alot of used LPs, it's inevitable that some will be worn or otherwise unsatisfactory. Even taking the bad with the good, used LPs are a great value and, with reasonably good play-back equipment, sound better and are more rewarding than a comparable CD. (Even my non-audiophile girlfriend can plainly hear the sonic superiority of an LP over a CD when a high quality recording is played back in both formats.)

Welcome back to analog!

There is still plenty of new vinyl being produced. Ebay has lots of it (but shipping always negates the good prices). Best is to realize that you friends probably mothballed their record collections years ago and many would be happy to "lend" them to you if you intend to play them.

Co-workers are often quite shocked to learn that new turntables are still being sold..... They are a gold mine!
about being able to tell ok used vinyl from ruined used vinyl: I think it is an acquired art. M. Fremer from Stereophile and other audio magazines said once he brings a jeweler's loup and one of the those headbands with a lamp on it (that doctor's use) to scrutinize used records. Of course, that still leaves unanswered as to exactly *what* he is looking for. Dweller above is all too correct: sometimes a record can look fine, but can actually be ruined. All it takes is a few plays with a horridly old ragged needle, I suppose, to do untold microscopic damage.

But my local used-vinyl store dealer tells me he can tell by looking ata record whether it is in ok shape or not. Not sure if he uses a microscope or what. He won't tell me!!!! (He is trying to keep my business, hehe)

BTW, never judge a record completely until it has been thoroughly cleaned. You would not believe the mold and gunk that can lodge deep into a records grooves if that album has been sitting around for 10 or 20 years in some damp garage.

Look in your local Sunday newspaper under classifieds. Just this past weekend I found an ad for some lp's and ended up buying 1200 (about 900 of which are keepers) for $300. You can't do much better than that.

You will need a serious record cleaning machine, though. I use, and recommend, the formidable VPI HW-17F. It's worth every penny. You can get a good deal on new inner and outer sleeves at
OK buddy, If you will come to NYC, there are a bunch of record stores that sell 70/80's as low as $3 per record with excellent+ condition.(That's why I do not sell records that I do not listen anymore in NYC)
If it's tough to get to NYC go to and e-mail your want-vinyl list and get the "bestest" prices on records.
They mostly have "underground" music on CDs but they have a bunch of classic rock/jazz on vinyls
Thanks for all the help. In fact, one person put
me on to a huge LP swap/sale that will be happening
on Oct 28th at the Seattle Center. (In case there
are any Seattle people looking) It will be going on
from 10AM to 5PM. Now anyone know where I can get
a discount on a Rega (2000) P3? If so please Email me.

Thanks again for all the help..
The one item that has been mentioned through this newsgroup that is absolutely indispensible for a vinyl fan is a record cleaning machine. I bought my VPI HW16.5 in 1992 and it has more than paid for itself (you won't believe the number of "used" records that have cleaned up to be in mint condition). As for a Rega P3, many of the Internet outfits (needledoctor, Audio Advisor) will sell them with a decent cartridge for good discounts. I'd try to save up and get a VPI HW Jr. because you could always upgrade to the upper levelo VPI tables as your budget allows.