Vinyl Babe: How To Start Your Own Record Collection

how to start a record collection

Vinyl has been making a huge come back recently and whereas you used to have to scour vintage markets or specialist stores to find a good record, most major music stores are now happily stocking them again. Many artists are also releasing their albums on vinyl now (as well as digitally) so with the choice of records increasing by the day there’s really never been a better time to start your own collection at home!

I’ve always had a soft spot for records; I love the way they feel and look (without sounding too much like a fetish freak) and I love the ritual of picking an album to suit a specific crowd or occasion. Luckily for me, I married a huge music geek enthusiast with a massive record collection so when it came to writing this post I didn’t have to go very far for advice!

If you’re thinking of building your own record collection but are not really sure about where to start, here are some easy tips to get you on track:

1. Choosing a turntable

Since records have become popular again, most audio visual stores are now back to stocking turntables too. There are many models out there with very different price points but the good news is that you can easily pick up an entry level, plug-and-play turntable for about $100 (or less) nowadays.

Talk to your local dealer to see what kind of turntable would better suit your needs or check out this article for some more technical tips. My personal advice would be to start with something cheap and simple and to then upgrade your gear as your collection grows. For example, Mark started with a basic Sony turntable (about $130) before moving on to a PRO-JECT one (about $400) and then to a professional Technics 1200 model (about $1200).


choosing a turntable

2. Buying your records

As I mentioned, music stores have jumped on the vinyl bandwagon again and most places now have at least have one shelf dedicated to records. However, if your local store’s selection leaves a little to be desired then you definitely have many other shopping avenues available to you.

The first one is the internet of course; websites such as Amazon, Ebay (or Craiglist in the US) have tons of records listed on them and chances are you’ll be able to pick up a vinyl for a cheaper price than at a normal store there. You might even get lucky and score a bundle of great records for a bargain price.

To be honest, Mark and I don’t really shop for records online as we much prefer to go to specialized stores instead. It might cost a little bit more than shopping on ebay but you get one-on-one customer service from passionate staff which is kind of nice (I’ve actually discovered lots of new bands by just chatting with record store staff). If you’re looking for older records (i.e. old jazz, classic or soul records) then you could also go the old school way and head to vintage stores, markets or garage sales.

Finally, look out for record collector’s events. Markets dedicated to records pop up every once in a while and you can often find some great bargains there. Again ask your local music stores for some more info or Google ‘record fairs’ in your area and go from there.

3. Selecting your first records

records to start your collection

This is a tough one as the records you buy will greatly depend on your taste in music and the kind of collection you’re wanting to build. That being said, if you need a little inspiration, I’ve listed a few of my and Mark’s favorite records from a wide range of genres below. I like to think they’d make a great base for any collection but hey, I’m probably biased ;)

Hip Hop
Dj Shadows – ‘Entroducing’
Dr Dre – ‘The Chronic’ or ‘Dre 2001’
Jay Z – ‘The Black album’
The Fugees -‘The Score’ or Lauryn Hill – ‘The miseducation of Lauryn Hill’
The Streets – ‘A grand don’t come for free’

James Brown – ‘Greatest Hits’
Sharon Jones – ‘Naturally’ or ‘I Learned the Hard Way’
Mayer Hawthorne – ‘A Strange Arrangement’.
Amy Winehouse – ‘Back to black’
Miles Davis – ‘Kind of Blue’
Bob Marley – ‘Legend’

MIA – ‘ Kala’
Santigold – ‘Santogold’
Phoenix – ‘Wolfgang Amadeus’
The Strokes – ‘Is this it’
Arctic Monkeys – ‘ Whatever people say that I am, that’s what I’m not’

Electronic/ Dance
Daft Punk -‘Homework’
LCD Sound system -‘Sound of silver’
Basement Jaxx -‘Remedy’
Justice – ‘Cross’
Chemical Brothers – ‘Surrender’

Rock/ Indie Rock/ Folk
Pink Floyd – ‘Dark side of the moon’
Led Zeppelin -‘IV’
The Rolling Stones- ‘Exile on Main Street’
David Bowie – ‘Ziggy Stardust’
Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’
Bob Dylan – ‘Blonde on Blonde’

The Beatles – ‘Abbey Road’
Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’
Adele – ’21’
Blondie – ‘Parallel lines’
Prince – ‘Purple Rain’

Obviously this list reflects Mark and I’s personal taste and is in no way exhaustive (if I had let him do this list you would have been left with a Top 500 minimum). If you already have a record collection, I’d love to hear about your favorite albums in the comments section!

I hope you found these tips helpful. Now go and get yourself a turntable and dive into the wonderful world of records! I promise it will be magical!

xx Pearl


  • This is AWESOME. Literally this could not be a more timely post for me! I’ve been looking for a record player forever and finally got this awesome one at a thrift store (I actually blogged about it today!). I got our first records at the thrift store, they were like $1 each and just random old ones. Excited to go to a store and try your suggestions!

    • I’m so happy that you found this article useful Tania. Have fun shopping at the record store and let me know what you end up buying! :)

    • I’m glad too, I love the sound of vinyls. Also many records come with free digital downloads now so you really get the best of both worlds! Thanks for stopping by Karina :)

  • I’m so glad the vinyl returned. It reminds me of my summers at my grandparents’ home and playing old ukrainian music on their turntable. I really want to get a turntable and begin my own record collection, but it will have to wait until I stop relocating every year or so. Great post though!

    • Records make me feel nostalgic too, my father had a big collection when I was growing up and I used to love listening to them with him. I know what you mean about waiting to settle down though, it cost us a fortune to move some of our records from NZ to Australia!

  • Great list! Just got my first turntable and my first record was Duke Ellington – big fan of old school jazz! Amy Winehouse would be just perfect on record too.

Comments are closed.