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Guidelines for Trading Tapes on Rust

by Cheryl Cherry Garcia Bedard (CHERYL.NICHOLS@hq.doe.gov)

(Before starting, you'll probably want to see what Neil has said about taping.)

I've been trading tapes since 1978. It was harder in the old days without email, but we managed. :) Trade protocols were described to me by some more experienced traders, and they've served me well for all these years.

  1. The Golden Rule rules.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  2. Advertise your expectations.

    Create a (form) cover letter that describes how you like to trade. Clearly state that you expect any deviations to be discussed and agreed upon before enacting. Don't forget to establish how long of a turnaround time you expect. Two weeks is more than reasonable for most trades.

  3. Use Type II VIRGIN tapes (or better) only.

    Someone mentioned how poorly some decks erase previous recordings. That is the reason for using virgin tapes. I sometimes tape over tapes for my dad or a non- trading friend, but never for anyone I think will trade the tape.

  4. Specify what brand of tapes you prefer.

    Expect to be flexible with traders outside of the US because Maxell tapes can be hard to get. I've never had a problem with TDK SA tapes, though I prefer Maxell. Randy mentioned that high-end decks are calibrated to the specific bias settings of a particular brand of tape. My decks are calibrated to Maxell XLII-S, and I prefer those tapes, but I don't expect them from non-US traders.

  5. Be aware of inexperienced traders.

    If someone says they haven't traded before, ask about their equipment and explain the process to them. You can avoid problems with a little early education.

  6. Understand that we all have different standards.

    Tape ratings are very subjective. I have lots of tapes I won't keep or trade because they don't sound good enough to make me want to listen to them again. My standard for good tapes was established by the incredible sound board tapes readily available in the Grateful Dead trading community. I was shocked when I got my first Neil tape. It was an audience tape and I thought it sucked. Now I realize it's not bad compared to the Neil tapes generally available on the trading circuit.

  7. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

    I was saddened to read references to 'outing' a trader because it wasn't clear to me if a good-faith attempt had been made to resolve the situation. Try vigorously to resolve the problem, and give the person some time to respond.

  8. Remember that anyone can make an error.

    I have sent out tapes with a side blank. I have delayed a project so long the other two guys quit asking me about it (I'm really going to finish it! SOON!). I have recorded with the levels too low and been asked to respin the tapes (and that was just last year). My point is I count myself as an experienced trader, but not as a flawless one.

  9. Start small.

    One way to guard against getting ripped off or getting poor quality tapes is to trade only one or two tapes the first time. I seldom jump right into a multi-tape trade with a person unless I know they are reputable.

If anyone is still reading, I'd also like to urge people to resist the inclination to turn to Rust as an arbitrator, policer, enforcer or rule-maker. I'm not interested in ostracizing anyone based on one person's version of events, nor am I interested in hearing both sides so I can choose the right vs the wrong party.

If you feel ripped off and you want to publicly censure the person, go ahead. But please remember that when you post to the list "Should I name this bad person?" the responses you get ONLY represent the people who answered. The vocal minority does not speak for the silent majority on Rust. If you get no response, it should be interpreted as "I'm not interested in this," not as tacit approval.

Just my not-so-humble opinion and all that...

. . . .Cherry

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