It wasn’t long ago that record collecting seemed to be a niche hobby, indulged in by music lovers across the world, but hardly anyone else. Now, however, things have changed. Vinyl has seen a huge comeback – which may be surprising in the streaming age. Thanks to support from high-profile acts and “underground” artists alike, and major events like Record Store Day and Love Record Stores, the vinyl’s popularity has severely increased. So, if you’re a burgeoning vinyl lover wondering how to start a record collection, these six essential tips will get you up and running.
How To Start A Record Collection: 6 Essential Tips For Vinyl Lovers
1: Buy some records!
Easily the best part of starting – and continuing to build – your record collection. Have a look online, or head down to your local record shop – not only are you more likely to find some hidden gems in the racks, but the people who work at record stores are usually a trove of valuable information. Talk to them! Every record is unique and has its own personality, and if the shop assistant likes the records you’re buying, try asking them what other music they’re into. You never know, you might discover your new favourite band.
2: Get yourself a record player
Now you’ve started your record collection, it is time to get something to play them on. The options are endless, and, thanks to the resurgence of vinyl, you can now find turntables in unlikely places – including supermarkets. The sound quality may not be perfect, but this is an ideal route for those on a budget.
If want to experience the amount of sonic detail that vinyl has to offer, a small investment can get you something better. Try and stay away from the “all-in-one” record players which have the speakers and pre-amp built in, as the sound quality is not the best.
3: Store your vinyl in a safe place
There’s no point in starting a record collection and then letting it go to ruin. So, first things first: do not stack your records in a pile. Always store them upright! Stacking records often leads to them warping, which affects playback, and it is also harder to get them out of their sleeves without scratching them. Vinyl storage cases are quite easy to come by: Amazon and high-street retailers sell them for reasonable prices, and you can sometimes find them in charity shops.
Try and store your records away from direct sunlight and heat, too, as this can also lead to warping. And use polythene dust sleeves. They protect those great 12”-sized artworks and prevent excessive wear.
4: Get that collection organised
So, you’ve got (and maybe even built) your storage, so how should you organise your vinyl?
Everybody has different methods: some people enjoy arranging their record collection alphabetically by artists name, which is simple and allows you to easily put records back in the right place. Others prefer to organise by genre. This is great when you have a wide-ranging collection that covers many styles of music, and you don’t know who you want to listen to. Let your eyes dance across the genres and pick whatever tickles your fancy.
If you really geek out over music, why not try to organise by record label? It’s classy and efficient way of making sense of your vinyl – and will let people know you’re serious about your record collection.
5: Learn how to clean your vinyl
Like everything else, records collect dust. This means you’ll have to clean your vinyl in order to keep it sounding at it best. Don’t worry, it’s a simple process.
A great tool for cleaning records is a carbon-fibre brush, which is perfect for getting the dust from between the grooves. It’s important to be really delicate when using it, however, as too much pressure can scratch and damage your vinyl.
Static is the enemy of all records. You can buy anti-static vinyl brushes which work wonderfully, but again: be delicate to ensure you don’t do any damage.
6: Use trusted resources
You’re virtually all ready to go, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed when considering how to start a record collection. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there if you are looking for help or nifty tips and tricks.
Reddit is a great place for finding like-minded people, and is also good for keeping up with interesting releases and relevant news. Consider delving into their subreddits /r/vinyl and /r/turntables when you get a chance.
Discogs is an essential database for vinyl collectors, and it allows you to keep up with your collection, digitally. Users can estimate how much their collection is worth, and you can also find out interesting information on different vinyl pressings. If eBay and Wikipedia were to merge and create their own music database, Discogs would be it.