I would bet that every vinyl collector in a 100 mile radius has been to Jerry’s (or at least really wants to go). I’ve made this trek thousands of times, and recently recorded a podcast episode with Jerry. When you first walk in the building and climb the 1 1/2 story stair case you will be greeted by stacks and boxes of fresh acquisitions and castoffs for the next vinyl giveaway (which contains more vinyl than the entire inventory of other records shops I frequent), turn the corner and enter the main room. This is were the fun begins.
It is amazing with amount of pressure and exposure, there are still a ton of great records to find and explore, but it can also be an intimidating place to dig, with towering walls of vinyl, rooms and secret cubbies, rows and rows of bins, and thousands of boxes of 45’s.
Here are my tips for digging at Jerry’s.
- Unless you have an encyclopedic memory, I would make a list of some of the more interesting records your are looking for; think of things most other people aren’t looking for.
- Expand the genres you look for. The popular genres like rock, punk and soul get a lot of action (though you can still find good records), consider looking beyond the high traffic sections and explore some blues, bluegrass, gospel, instrumental and even comedy. You can find some real gems.
- Don’t expect to find the classics. Jerry’s carries all used vinyl at reasonable prices (typically between $5 – $8) with high traffic, so The Beatles, Clash, Marley, Pink Floyd, Dylan, Stones are going out as fast as they are coming in, and more obscure bands like Joy Division rarely last 10 minutes on the shelves. With that said, you can get lucky if your timing is right, always check the new arrival bins first. You never know what you might find, but usually there is something good, especially mid-week during the day.
- Collectables are very limited. Jerry’s does not have a high priced or collectables section, so it is not a place to expect to go and drop $50 to $200 on a rare record. Jerry wants to get music on to turntables, not vinyl into cases. Don’t expect to dig up some rare gem like the Chocolate Watch Band, but the shelves are stocked with odd, interesting and unique records. Spend some time exploring and getting out of your comfort zone.
Hopefully you find this info useful and get a chance to explore the shop sometime. Every time I’m in the area I like to drop in an spend a little time soaking it all in, great people and great atmosphere. It is worth the trip, but I would budget an hour at least and possibly four or five.
- History of Jerry’s on Sound Advise blog
- Interview with Jerry on polishedwriting.com
- April 14th, Jerry Weber Day in Pittsburgh
- Goldmine Magazine – Jerry’s Records
- Interview on Dinner Party Download
- Video on finding a rare Robert Johnson 78
- Commenting on the Brazilian buying massive collections around the world