If you just found out you have an old guitar in an old house, or you simply bought a guitar many years ago, and now you want to sell it but do not know how much it is worth – we got your back! This complete guide will help you determine the value of your used guitar and also give you tips to sell it and make sure you get the highest price possible for it.
You will learn what factors should be considered to value a guitar, what methods you can use to get the most accurate value, and how you can sell it after.
How to value a guitar and sell it
The process of valuing a guitar is simple and straightforward, but it should be followed carefully. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Understand the factors that determine a guitar’s value: Not every guitar is the same, and even if they have the same brand and model, they might not be in the same condition, and therefore their value will vary. For this reason, the first step to value any guitar is to understand the factors that affect its value.
- Comparable sales: Once you have understood the factors that will influence how much your guitar is worth, you need to look at comparable sales or similar models that are currently up for sale. This will allow you to determine the right price you should ask for your instrument and whether it will be an easy or difficult sale.
- Choosing the right place to sell your guitar: Once you understand the ballpark value of your guitar, it is now time to sell it in the right place. Each guitar has a specific target audience, and when you are trying to sell your instrument, you should use the right method.
7 Factors that determine the value of your guitar
When it comes to guitars, the brand is not everything, but it is as important as it is for cars. A well-respected guitar brand such as Fender, Gibson, or Martin will always command a higher price even if the model is not one of the most desired. Start by determining the brand of your guitar, which sometimes can be difficult because there are plenty of unknown brands out there.
Usually, the guitar will have something on its headstock saying what brand it is. On the back of the headstock, you should also find the model or perhaps the serial number, and that will also be helpful.
Determining the year in which your guitar was manufactured is also important because guitars age like fine wine, and sometimes the older they are, the higher their price is. While most guitars will not have any indication of the year they were made, it is usually easy to obtain the year by simply using the serial number. Well-known guitar brands have serial number databases, and all you have to do is to put the serial number there, and it will give you the model of your guitar.
Here you can easily check the serial number of a few iconic guitar brands:
Do guitars lose or gain value over time?
While some vintage guitars are highly sought after and considered investments, most guitars do not appreciate over time. For a guitar to increase in value, it needs to be a well-known brand and model that will always be in demand by musicians and collectors. Most vintage Fender, Gibson, and Martin guitars appreciate in value if they are from before the 1980s. However, newer models from the 90s do not command the same value and are not as desirable.
The model of your guitar also affects its value because some models are more valuable than others. For example, a vintage Fender Stratocaster will be a lot more valuable than a Jazzmaster, simply because of the fact that the Stratocaster is a much more desirable model.
Moreover, different models are manufactured in different countries, which can make it more or less valuable. Preferably US and Japanese guitars are usually the most desirable and valuable used guitars, and they can contribute a lot to the price you might be able to get for your used guitar. This is another factor to consider when trying to determine how much your guitar is worth.
One of the main factors that determine the value of a used guitar is the condition it is in. While there are some guitars that are highly valuable and may still have a roadworn look to them, most guitar collectors and musicians are looking for used guitars in mint condition. This means the finish should be in great condition, and without any repairs, especially in the neck, which is a sensitive area. Additionally, if your guitar has any modifications that can also affect its value.
Let’s start by saying that vintage guitars are usually worth more money the fewer modifications they have. Musicians and guitar collectors want used guitars in the same condition or very similar to what they came from the factory.
However, in some cases, used guitars can appreciate in value if they have been modified, but this typically only applies to newer guitars and usually lower-priced models. For example, if you bought a guitar for around $500 and put in some new pickups and tuners, that can actually increase its value.
6. Demand and supply
Demand and supply is a classic economic term that affects the price of everything, and when it comes to guitars, it is no different. Obviously, the more demand there is for a certain guitar, the higher its price will be. Now what is crucial to understand is that all of these factors play a role in determining the demand and supply of a certain instrument. Vintage guitars, for example, are rare, and some models are rarer than others. Therefore their price usually tends to be higher.
7. Body finish
Finally, another factor that can influence the value of a used guitar is the body’s finish. Some common finishes are often less desirable or do not have the same value as long as they’re not exotic colors like pink, purple, or orange. Even then, it depends a lot on the model, the brand, and the type of musician or guitar collector that is after that particular guitar.
In vintage guitars, the rarer the finish on the body, usually the higher the price because there are just a few guitar models with a certain finish.
How to find out how much your guitar is worth
There are a few common ways to check and determine how much your guitar could potentially be worth. Here are some of the ways you can use it:
- eBay: eBay was for years one of the best platforms to buy and sell used guitars, but it has since seen its number of listings decline. However, eBay is still a great place to check guitar prices. All you need to do is to check the completed listings and the sold items. This way, you can check what other people paid for a guitar just like the one you have. This will give you a great idea of how much your guitar is actually worth.
- Reverb: Reverb has slowly become the most important place for musicians to buy used gear, including guitars. They offer some of the most amazing guitars on the market, and they also have tons of data on the value of used guitars. Just search for your guitar model, and you’ll be able to find other guitars currently listed for sale, and you can easily gauge how much you should ask for your guitar.
- Guitar Blue Book: For higher-end guitars and vintage models, one of the simplest ways of determining their value of it is by searching using the Blue Book of Guitar Values, which can be purchased for a very cheap price. There you will find the value ranges for different models, and it will give you a very good estimate as to the value of your instrument.
Where can you sell your used guitar?
There are a few options when it comes to selling your used guitar, and you should choose the best place based on the type of guitar you are trying to sell.
- eBay: For years, eBay was the number one online marketplace for used guitars, but over the years, Reverb has slowly taken a big chunk of its market share. While eBay is still great for selling lower-priced and even some collectible guitars, there are not as many buyers on it as it used to be, but it is still a valid place to list your used instrument.
- Craigslist: Websites such as craigslist are ideal for selling guitars under $1,000, but you should avoid listing valuable and collectible guitars there because there aren’t as many willing buyers.
- Reverb: Reverb has slowly become the main place to sell guitars of all prices and models. It is the ideal destination for both beginner and experienced musicians to get used gear at amazing prices and also be part of a large community of musicians that buy, sell, and resell used musical instruments.
- Facebook Marketplace: Another option is to list your guitar on Facebook’s marketplace, which is a very valid option for lower-priced guitars. Also, if you do not want to deal with the hassle of shipping your guitar across the country, it’s a great option.
- Local music store: Most local music instrument stores are willing to sell used gear, and you can talk with them and display your guitar there until the right buyer comes along. They will take a commission, but it could be a way to sell your instrument without having to do any work.
- Guitar Center: Guitar Center has also started selling used guitars, and they are even willing to buy your guitar! Obviously, it depends on all of those factors we mentioned, and usually, Guitar Center offers a lower price than you would get selling it with any of the other methods, but you get your cash right away.
Do you need a professional appraisal for a guitar?
While it may seem like you need a professional guitar appraisal, the reality is that unless you have a very rare, unique vintage guitar, you can do the appraisal yourself, and all it takes is a few hours of research online. Obviously, professional guitar appraisers are experts in their field, and they know the value of your instrument, as well as the demand and supply for it. Therefore they can give a much better and more accurate number close to what your guitar is worth.
But for most guitars, you can simply research online, and you will plenty of information and similar models that have sold or are for sale.
While it may seem difficult to know how much your guitar is worth, especially if you are not into guitars, all of the methods we presented in this article are fairly easy to follow and quick. You might feel overwhelmed with the amount of information, but if you read carefully and follow all of the information above, you will be able to quickly determine the value of your guitar.
Please avoid putting your guitar up for sale without first checking its value, you want to avoid selling your beloved instrument for less or a lot less than it is actually worth.
I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.