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I'd like to learn more about the vinyl I have as well as what I'm collecting. Is there a source for learning about different pressings of the same album? Does anybody cover what the writing in the dead wax means? Does anybody teach how to tell the difference between a 1st pressing and a 5th pressing?
First, an aspect of Lp collecting that isn't always said straight out ----
If there's a specialist niche for a composition, conductor, artist or singer, there will be some info on matrix numbers and pressings, as per your question...
Thus, Parker, Holliday, Beatles, Wagner, Callas, and other 'collector-fiend' pursuits will have made numbers / pressings and other data available .... seemingly just by force of their fan bases....
Wanna really good copy of, say Roxy Music "Avalon" ?....... hmmm, not so easy to come across the numerical data. How about Neville Marriner conducting, or the Kinks, or Nat King Cole ? Again the number data isn't exactly right out there.
If you want #'s on Blue Note or RCA Living Stereo, they're out there.... but maybe you're not in the financial bracket to be affording those pressings.... And maybe you weren't interested in every last 'Jazz Moods With Congas' or 'Old Viennese Waltz' release by those labels anyway.
So it's tricky, incomplete and not at all organized. There are great sites having info on, for examp, Island Records Label, but that doesn't help you if you're after Renaissance music on Original Instruments.
The second big point is that there was never a recognized way used by different labels to denote and date pressings. Every label did it differently, and sometimes abandoned one method at some point and began again with a different method.
What it all adds up to is that you can do really well if you are just looking into Bing Crosby on Decca records. That info is there, you only have to learn it once, and it only applies to Decca.
If you like lots of differing kinds of music, from artists all over the world, from different periods of history, that's the worst case scenario.
Thus, I've just made up my mind to narrow all the way down to Milli Vanilli Picture-discs... sealed for display.
Think I can pretty well corner this market .............
Oh, Third and probably most effective, those who are in the business of collecting and profitting by it, whether in music or in dollars, are by no means looking to put out a "All-Vinyl Matrix Guide For Dummies" that would simplify this. Collectors are guardedly willing to help another enthusiast on a single issue here or there, but not to give away the shop.
It does have a lot of good info in it, and is readily available from Amazon.com for $16.
On particularly good recordings, there is much known about the pressings, particularly from this forum. The RCA Living Stereo "shaded dog" LPs from the '50s and early '60s are very well documented. I believe that there are books on the subject. For most LPs, however, there is little that is published. The best answer is to search this forum and/or post a specific question.
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