Many of the visitors to my website ask about vintage guitar values. Do you have a guitar about which you would like to have information? Do you have a question about Fender guitar value, Gibson guitar value, or maybe the value of a Martin guitar? Even if you don’t know what kind of guitar you have, a little research will help you to find the value of your guitar.
What makes a guitar valuable?
Several factors figure into the value of a guitar. In general, the guitar must be one which is sought after by collectors and musicians. The demand for a guitar is determined in general by quality, beauty, and playability. This demand must outweigh the available supply.Age is an important factor in the value of a guitar, but a guitar is not necessarily more valuable just because it is older. It must have been made with a high standard of quality in the first place. An old mediocre quality guitar is just that–an old mediocre guitar! The actual year that a guitar was made may not be as important as the PERIOD in which it was made.
For example, electric guitars which are most valuable today include Fender Telecasters made before 1954, Fender Stratocasters made between 1954 and 1959, and Gibson Les Pauls made between 1958 and 1960. Acoustic guitars of the greatest value include Pre-World War II Martins and Gibsons.This is not to say that other guitars are not valuable. Many vintage guitars will bring a good price. The trick is to know approximately how much YOUR guitar is worth.
How Do I Determine the Value of My Guitar?
In order for you or anyone else to determine the value of your guitar, you must have certain information available. Ideally, you would know the brand, model, and serial number. The brand and model, however, can often be determined through the serial number. Then you must determine the condition of your guitar–prices differ greatly according to condition. Here are some guidelines: (these guidelines are from the “Blue Book of Acoustic and Electric Guitars”)
100% – New – New with all factory materials, including warranty card, owner’s manual, case, and other items that were originally included by the manufacturer. On currently manufactured instruments, the 100% price refers to an instrument not previously sold at retail. Even if a new instrument has been played only twice and traded in a week later, it no longer qualifies at 100%.
Excellent – this Excellent condition range is represented by both High Excellent and Low Excellent condition. High Excellent refers to an instrument that is very clean, looks almost new (perhaps a few light scratches/dings only), and has hardly been used. Low Excellent refers to a guitar that has been played/used, and has accumulated some minor wear in the form of light scratches, dings, small chips, etc. The older an instrument, the less likely it will be in High Excellent condition Even Low Excellent is seldom encountered on instruments over 50 years old, since most acoustic instruments were originally purchased to be played
Average – The Average guitar condition factor indicates an acoustic guitar that has been in a player’s hands and has worn due to player use (hopefully, no abuse). High Average condition instruments have normal dents, small chips, and light dings on the body, and/or scratches on the top and back. However, there should be no problems unless indicated separately. Low Average condition instruments may reflect major finish problems, replacement parts, previous repairs (especially on older instruments), alterations, and neck/fret wear is typically visible.
Once you have this information at hand, you can attempt to find the value of the guitar by consulting various sources on the internet or you can have it appraised by an expert. Researching the value of your guitar on the internet may be free. The downside is that this research requires a big expenditure of time and a wide knowledge of guitar pricing resources. If you have your guitar appraised, remember that the appraiser may also be a dealer who is, after all, wanting to make a profit by reselling the guitar. For this reason, the appraisal MAY be biased.
Because so many of my website visitors have inquired about the value of their guitars, I have begun to offer a GENERAL guitar evaluation service. This service is FREE. If you are interested, please visit:
Vintage Guitar Values at the May Music Studio Website.