If you’ve been trying to thin your collection of guitars, or perhaps trying to justify to yourself the purchase of a new axe by selling one you already have, then there’s a good chance you’ve been wondering how much to ask for your guitar when you sell, or what it’s really worth in a trade.
Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet, and just like there are for cars, boats, cameras, watches, and any number of other items, there are online price guides, or ‘Blue Books’, specifically for guitars.
In this KillerGuitarRigs guide, we’ll be talking about the best guitar blue books, where to find them, and what to expect when using them for valuations. In this guide you’ll learn:
- Where to Find Guitar Valuations
- How to Use Guitar Valuation Sites
- Are There Any Other Ways To Get Guitar Values?
- And Much More!
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Where to Find Guitar Valuations
The Orion Blue Book is a great place to start if you’re looking to get a value on a guitar you want to sell, or to see what the fair market price is. This site offers valuations on pretty much anything you can imagine, so they are well versed in the practice of product appraisal. On the Orion Blue Book you’ll be able to get a price for your electric guitar, your acoustic guitar, any amps you might have, pedals, and almost any other accessory.
They have a huge database of valuations, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for, even if it’s a more obscure or rare make and model. Not only can you find average prices for current instruments, but they also offer a separate section for vintage guitars and basses.
Unfortunately, Orion Blue Book at usedprice.com is not a free service. You can easily look up the item you’re selling, but unfortunately to get the valuation you’ll need to pay for it. They offer single item pricing, single or multi category pricing, or full blue book access all at varying costs.
The Blue Book of Guitar Values from Blue Book Publications is another paid online service in which you can select your specific make and model, then get the current valuation for that guitar. Like the other big sites, you can enter a specific make and model of electric or acoustic guitar and you’ll be presented with a link to purchase access to the valuation. If you’re wondering “how much is my guitar worth” – this is a great place to start for free.
If you prefer hard copy books, Blue Book Publications can also (again for a fee), send you a hard copy book of guitar values. While it’s nice to have the book, remember that values are constantly changing, and that hard copy is a snapshot in time.
Reverb is one of the biggest marketplaces for used and new gear online, and they’ve used their extensive knowledge of not only what people list guitars for, but what they actually sell for, factoring in condition and age. It has a great interface, and make it very easy to find out exactly what your gear is worth. Like most of the other sites, you can get values for pedals, amps, basses, acoustic guitars, and electric guitars, amongst other music gear.
You’ll be presented with a range of historical prices that the particular instrument you’re researching has sold for, and unlike the major blue book sites, it’s completely free.
The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide is, unlike the other options we’ve presented, a print only publication. At the moment, the guide features valuations for over 2000 brands, and includes acoustic and electric guitars, basses, amps and effects, and it’s updated annually to reflect the changing value and appraisals of guitars. Plus, as more models are being considered as vintage, extra guitars are added with each passing year.
This site isn’t so much a valuation or appraisal service, as it is a set of guidelines to help you self appraise your guitar. In fact, the page does recommend visiting a blue book site, but if you’re not looking to pay for a valuation service, May’s Music Studio does give some great tips on what to look for in your own guitar when comparing it to others on the market for potential valuation.
Gruhn Guitars offers one of the most in depth remote valuation services around. Rather than just estimating your guitar’s value based on a range of prices and your own personal opinion of its condition, Gruhn Guitars will conduct a thorough appraisal of your guitar based on specifics like the serial number, and the pictures that you provide. This is not a cheap service at $75 per appraisal, but if you’re looking for a trusted valuation of a valuable vintage guitar, Gruhn’s is a safe bet.
Are There Any Other Ways to Get Guitar Values?
Besides the Blue Books and the other sites we’ve listed above, there are some other ways to get your guitar valued.
eBay is a good resource, although, you should note, that what people ask for their guitar, and what they actually sell for (if they sell at all) are 2 very different things. If you’re using eBay for a guide to what your guitar is worth, look for a few identical models in similar condition that have sold recently and make an average of those sale prices. There will be some outliers, but as long as you can find a few to get a mean value, you’ll have a ball park figure to work with.
Guitar Center also offer valuations, but note that their prices are always on the low side. When Guitar Center offers you an amount for your guitar, they take the average eBay price as mentioned above, and they’ll offer you 60% of that price. Even if you have no intention of selling it to them, if you take a guitar to GC for appraisal, add 40% to the price they offer for the true value.
Final Thoughts on Online Guitar Blue Books
There are very few guitars being made today that will appreciate in, or even retain their original value, this is why it’s so important to use authoritative sources like blue books to get the true value of your guitar before you sell yours, or to see if the instrument you’re thinking of buying is a good deal or not.