How Much Is My Guitar Worth?
While Fret Not does not offer written appraisals I do have some pointers for those who are trying to find out what their instrument is worth. A little directed research on the internet may help to yield a good picture of an instruments value. If you need a written appraisal for insurance or replacement purposes I highly recommend contacting a reputable instrument dealer for an appraisal. My first recommendation would be to go straight to the source, George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars. He is the author of several vintage guitar guides and is a vintage instrument dealer in Nashville TN.
Instrument value will be based not only on the model and year of an instrument but also it's condition. Have there been modifications? Are the parts original? Is there any damage?
All of these factors affect the bottom line, there is a vast difference in value between a player and a collectors item.
A lot of us turn to Blue Book / Price Guides for instrument valuation. I believe this is a good resource for arriving at an estimate of an instruments current value. One should bare in mind that Blue Books can't predict changing economic times and regardless of an estimated value, it's only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, as they say. That being said I use the Vintage Guitar pricing guide.
Obviously the internet is a tremendous resource but some still find it difficult to locate information. Gbase® Gear Mall is a large collection of dealers who have placed their inventory online, into a common database. Here you can perform a search for a particular instrument and, when available, be shown pictures and prices of those being offered for sale. If you can find an instrument similar to your own you are likely to get a good idea of the current price range.
For those who have been a bit unfruitful searching the world wide web I would recommend using the Google search engine and enclosing the instruments date, manufacturer and model in quotations.
An instance is, "1948 Martin D-18". The use of quotations instructs the search engine to find the term exactly as it is typed. Exclude them and the search engine will yield results containing those words but not necessarily in that particular order.
There are quite a few brands that very little is written about. When information is scarce, pricing and value is often impossible to find. When a brand is not mentioned in Blue Books or on the internet there's little more that I can offer. This indeed follows the theory that it is worth "what someone is willing to pay for it." If the instrument appears well made with high quality tonewoods and appointments you may still wish to consult an appraiser to verify it's origin if possible.