Home     Articles    Search    Vinyl Price Guides    Checkout

What is the Inside Blank Area of a Vinyl Record Called?

May 4th | Music Articles

What is the inside area of a vinyl record called?

Terms for the blank inner area on a vinyl record:

Trail Wax
Dead Wax
Inner Groove
Run-Out Groove

The part of the record where the stylus will reach the center area of the record is commonly called the Trail Wax. This section of the record will not be available to the stylus when playing records. If your record player does not automatically return the arm back to the ready position then the record will keep spinning and the arm of the record player will stay in one place, near the label.

trail wax etching

Vagrants – Lookout Records 7″
Vagrants trail wax:

The area just after this ‘catch’ for the stylus is the Trail Wax. Most records will have something stamped or with an etched look, in this area to match the vinyl record numbers. Some records can also have written words usually by request of the band, or from the record producers.

colored vinyl trail wax etching

4 Coyotes 7″ on Scat Records:
Side A etching in trail wax – WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Side B etching in trail wax – INFORMATION…. INFORMATION.
side note: this record, Scat 13, is also numbered edition of 1500. This 7″ record is on colored vinyl

etching on vinyl record

The writing, usually no more than 5 or six words, will either be insightful, humorous, or poetic. You will have to hold the record up to catch the light so you can read the words. You could also photograph this area under good lighting so you can zoom and read the words. Usually all pressing issues will have the same etchings/words. The words are not etched by hand on each record.

Here we describe each term for the blank area of the vinyl records:

Trail Wax: Trail wax is a term used to describe the area between the end of the music grooves and the outer edge of the vinyl record, the area outside of the record label, and after the end of the last track. This area is sometimes referred to by record collectors as the trail-off or run-out groove. Trail wax is called this because it is where the stylus “trails off” at the end of the vinyl record. The length of the trail wax can vary depending on the length of the track, and some records may have longer or shorter trail wax than others. 12″ records will usually have a very large area of trail wax.

Trail wax etchings from the double 7″ compilation called Sasquatch, featuring NoMeansNo


trail wax etching

Trail wax etching on Sasquatch Double 7″ vinyl: ROCY, COOKIE AND TWINKLE TOES.

Dead Wax: Dead wax is another term used to describe the same area of the vinyl record, but it specifically refers to the space between the last groove and the label. This area is sometimes called the matrix, and it is where the matrix number or vinyl catalog number is usually etched or stamped. The matrix number usually identifies the specific pressing plant, the stamper number, and the side of the record – for example Kiss – Alive has NBLP – 7020-BX 4CP for Side 2 of the double LP.

dead wax etching

Etching from Son of Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh! Slap A Ham – 12 – A grey marble vinyl 7″ 52 bands
Featuring: Capitalist Casualties, Rottrevore, Sockeye, Melvins track called ‘Nothing’

7 inch vinyl etching message

Etching from Slap a Ham #12 Vinyl 7″SHOVE OFF!

The dead wax is often used by collectors to identify the pressing of a particular record, as different pressings may have different matrix numbers or markings in this area. Independent record manufactures will not always have information about the record, the issue number, etc. Sometimes this area of the record can be blank.

Outer Groove: The outer groove is another term used to describe the trail wax or dead wax. This area is also located at the outer edge of the record and is where the stylus plays silence (or crackles, depending on the condition of your record) at the end of the record. Some vinyl records can actually have audio in what sounds like an endless loop, instead of silence on typical records. This is done on purpose and usually relates back to the style of music on the record. Psychedelic and noise rock are just a few of the musical styles that will do this on purpose. The outer groove can sometimes contain not-so-hidden messages or etchings, which are sometimes added by the pressing plant, the mastering engineer or the band members.

Just to note:
The start of a vinyl record also has a name, but nothing special beyond that.
Inner Groove: The inner groove is the opposite of the trail wax or dead wax and refers to the area at the start of the vinyl record. This area could also be called the lead-in groove or the intro groove. The inner groove is where the stylus begins to play the music on the record, and it usually contains silent space typically 3 or 4 seconds before the music starts.

blank trail wax area

Terms for the Blank Area of a Vinyl Record
Vinyl Record Terms

Trail wax
Dead wax
Outer groove
Run-out groove
All terms used to describe the end areas on the vinyl record.

Additional Terms:
The inner groove is where the stylus begins to play the music on the record.

Collectors often use the trail wax to identify the pressing of a particular record, in addition to the record label, as different pressings may have different matrix numbers or markings in the trail wax.

dead wax area

The outer groove can sometimes contain hidden messages or etchings, which are sometimes added by the pressing plant by request from the band or band manager. This isn’t typically stated anywhere on the record sleeve.


We Accept PayPal! U.S. SHIPPING:

45's US-Media-$3.58(1-2 Records)/$0.30 Cents each Additional Record) 1st Class-$4.25($0.50 cents each Additional Record) LP's & 78's Media $4.50(1-2 Records)$.50 Cents each Additional Record) BOX SETS-$5.00/$1.00 each Additional Record Priority-$10.00-1st.LP($1.00 each Additional LP) BOX SETS-$9.00 & $0.75 each Additional Record CDs $4.00 (1s-2) CD ($1.00 each Additional CD) Magazines&Memorabilia will be calculated by weight Insurance is extra $1.65-to $200.00/$2.85 over $201.00-$250.00 +$1.00 for ea Add.100.00 OVERSEAS 45's&CDs $14.00 & $1.00 each Additional Record/CD LP's&78's $20.00 & $7.00 each additional Record BOX SETS-$20.00 & $.0.75 each Additional Record CANADA: 45's/CD's $10.00 each record&$1.00 each additional record LP's&78's $14.00 each record&$6.00 each additional record
See our vinyl record Terms & Abbreviations
Record Search

The RARE Beatles Record

Rare Pink Floyd Vinyl

Looking for photos of some rare vinyl records? We have a few rare records on our page about rare vinyl records:
Rare vinyl records page