Looking At Bootleg Vinyl: The Carstairs, Yum Yums and Imperial Wonders

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at 3 original rare vinyl records against their bootleg copies. It’s important when buying rare vinyl records that you do your research to ensure you’re buying an original vinyl record. To help with this, you can use the Manship’s Collectors Guides full of original rare soul vinyl to help you depict the originals from the bootleg vinyl.

Carstairs – It Really Hurts Me Girl

When testing the difference in sound on a counterfeit you’ll usually be able to see that the original has better sound quality. With this particular counterfeit, you get a sound quality of around 24-12 dBFS. The original has a sound quality that exceeds the value 12 dBFS, particularly when the artist is singing.

There are many differences between the records, though most are evident by the stamps made in the dead wax. On the original, you see sterling stamped in the dead wax and although this isn’t all super clear, the “STE” in the original is very visible. The below image shows the original records markings.

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman

On the bootleg, you can see that “sterling” is horribly written and isn’t within the dead wax. Some collectors have started a very wrong rumour that “sterling” scratched in, is an original though this certainly isn’t the original. This is the counterfeit copy and is being mis-sold yet, thankfully, most people recognise this scratchy writing to be the bootleg. The below image shows the bootleg markings.

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman

Yum Yums – Gonna Be A Big Thing

The recording of the Yum Yums counterfeit is just at level 12 dBFS whereas the first press is continuously exceeding 12 dBFS. Although this difference is only marginal, it’s important to note that you do get a reduced sound quality and of course, you can tell which is the bootleg version in the matrix details.

The Yum Yums original has a 8.90mm wide deadwax. The runout grooves are totally smooth and clean at 28.00mm long. The matrix reads ABC 12661 with the 6’s resembling the look of lower case b’s and the 2 being slightly smaller than the number 6. See below.

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman

On the counterfeit, it has a 9.70mm wide deadwax. On this record, the runout grooves are lightly pitted at 19.80mm long. The matrix reads ABC 12661 with the 6’s having very tight small circles. See below.

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman

Another of the bigger differences in the bootleg and original Yum Yums record, is the pitting. The pitting on the far side glares slightly.

Imperial Wonders – You Only Live Once

You can best see which record is the original and which is the bootleg by holding the two next to one another. It is extremely hard to lay brown on top of green and hence this isn’t done very well on the counterfeit. They haven’t used the master plate which is quite expensive to do so and hence this shows in the poor colour quality.

With regards to the sound quality, the bootleg is just under the level 12 dBFS and the original is solid on level 12 dBFS and reaching above. Again, this is only a partial difference, however, the original record proves to have better sound quality as hoped.

If you are colour blind or hard of seeing, you can run your finger over the original LBM 101 matrix and you can actually feel that it’s quite rough on your fingertips. In fact, it snags your nail as you go along. On the counterfeit, they have copied the number the same and very finely done. However, when running your finger over the LBM, in this case, the LBM doesn’t feel rough at all. You can’t really feel anything.

Below shows the matrix on the original.

Bootlegs Vs Original Rare Vinyl Records | Rare Soulman


Of course, this post is dedicated to helping you spot key differences in the original and bootleg version of 3 rare vinyl records. So, although there are some vital points you need to take on board to ensure your collection is filled with rare vinyl rather than a bunch of copies, you’ll want to load up on tips from our ultimate guide: how to spot fake vinyl records.

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