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How do I go about researching the value of my instrument before I put it up for sale? I'd like to feel like I've done a proper amount of due diligence before I put it on the used market so I can both price it fairly for a reasonably fast sale, and not get taken.

Is there a blue book for instruments?

Are eBay prices indicative of value?

How do you take in to account imperfections in the guitar when selling? Are there some imperfections that are more damaging to the resale price than others?

Is there anything I can do, presale, to improve the value of the instrument? Get it set up? Change parts?

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I'm thinking this might be better answered in wiki format with each answer being one thing you can do to asses or prep the instrument? What do you guys think? –  Ian C. Feb 5 '11 at 19:20
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'll borrow what I said in reply to this question.

In my opinion the quickest and easiest way to find a selling value for a guitar is to:

Go to ebay, and search the model. Look at what the 'buy it now' prices are, or what people are bidding. You could also check the small ads in the back of guitar magazines. 'Guitarist' run back page ads, and can be very useful in determining the value of a piece of guitar related gear.

Look at the prices individual sellers are asking for, and see how much attention auctions are getting at different price ranges. Look at completed listings (check the checkbox for 'Show Only - Completed Listings' down the left hand side, but you will need to login).

You can try asking a guitar shop for a valuation, but they are probably going to give you an estimate that is a little low, as they would be hoping for you to sell the guitar to them there, so that they can then sell it on for a profit later.

If I was to be buying a guitar second hand, I would want the electrics and neck in particular to be working perfectly. In a less than perfect situation, I could cope with problems with the body, bridge, nut and tuners, as I could sort them later (in a professional set up probably), but obviously I would prefer no major problems at all.

In order to improve the sale value of the guitar, get it properly set up and put on some gauge 9 or 10 strings. Include all that came with it, including any cases/spares. Get anything that is broken on the guitar mended, and check all the electrics and tuning heads particularly.

Hope this helps.

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Fleabay is actually a terrible way to find out the going rates for a guitar. I tend to hit local communities or do some basic market research first. Fleabay is a decent source to get a general survey, but should never be the law. Sorry friend but I completely disagree with you on that one :D. Everything else here is solid. Especially the tune up paragraph. +1 –  Jduv Feb 4 '11 at 5:31
    
+1 all good but the Ebay advice; Ebay can be very misleading. For instance I recently bought a guitar "ESP Eclipse" for a hundred pounds less in a retail shop; than what was being offered on Ebay –  DRL Feb 4 '11 at 9:42
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I'll answer my own question here and borrow an answer from another thread: check The Gear Page's Buy and Sell section. A ton of used gear shuffles through that board and, while you can't know that the asking price was what the selling price ended up being, you can get a feel for prices that are too high -- where ads are languishing for a long time. It's not a bad place to start, but on its own isn't the most complete reference.

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I would call the gear page the most fair price typically. I've bought a few items from there and never felt I overpaid. –  Anonymous Feb 11 '11 at 4:12
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Go to your local music stores and ask them. They'll tell you what they would sell it for. Check on line such as ebay, craigslist, etc.. Get an average of the prices and then go from there.

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