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 Guitar valuations  updated 10/8/2013

I am often contacted by people asking "what is my guitar worth?"  Unfortunately I am not an expert on vintage guitar valuation, but there are a number of useful resources that can be used to gain an estimate of instrument value.  Below I have listed a number of resources, starting with free ones, then on-line subscription services, followed by books.  The final method is to take the instrument to an 'expert' for guitar valuation.

 

Free guitar valuation resources

Prepal the worlds largest online listing of used musical instrument prices, updated every day.

Elderly Instruments offer a preliminary valuation for those wanting to sell/trade.

Plucked out - Apparently provides free valuations.

Just Answer seems to offer appraisals for musical instruments including guitars

 

Check the value of your guitar at on-line stores eg.

eBay -  Simply the largest buy and sell location for musical instruments.  Follow your instrument type here over a period and you will get a good indication of value.

Gbase is a US based aggregation service for musical instrument stores. Values are on the high side but provide a useful start.  Here are a bunch of other stores that sell vintage and used guitars.

 

Forums are possibly the best source - especially if the forum has a specific focus on the item of interest to you. eg. Unofficial Martin Forum

Join the Vintage Guitar forum. Note that you do not necessarily need to participate in a forum.  Many forums have buy and sell pages and these contain useful info from enthusiasts.  If people are paying the asking price on these forums you know they are on the market.  Here is a list of musical instrument related forums for different countries.

 

On-line pay services

May Music Studio  asks for a $5 donation

Blue Book Publications 24 hour access to a guide eg. Electric guitars will cost $US9.99.

The Orion Blue Book A single valuation will cost $US3.99

For $US50 Gruhn will provide a quote online

 

Reference books to buy

Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide This guide is published annually and is highly recommended as it covers all types of guitars and a significant range of amps and effects in a single volume.  Not as comprehensive as the Blue Book range below but fantastic value and a book worth having in any event.

Blue Book Publications:

Blue Book of Electric Guitars , Zachary R Fjestad

Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars , Zachary R Fjestad

Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers , Zachary R Fjestad

This series is the bible for music stores and is likely to be the book turned to when you are talking to an employee of a music store.

 

Real people and music stores

If you are being asked to pay a significant amount for a valuation check that the store you go to is not simply referencing one of the above resources. You can probably do that yourself. Do not assume that an employee in a guitar store knows anything about the value of used instruments.  

If the store is in the business of buying and selling used instruments or sells on consignment - then that would move them up the knowledge ladder, however.  Here is an incomplete list of some vintage guitar sellers.

Good luck ;) and watch out for fakes - see Gruhn newsletters # 9