Looking for the best practices for appraising instruments - especially vintage? I realize there are TONS of factors that go into determining the value.

I ask, mainly, because I've acquired a 1970 Slingerland trap-kit from my father; from before the Slingerland family was bought out. The drums are not in very good condition but, I want to get an honest appraisal, obviously... Comparing against ebay pricing just ain't cutting it. :P

I've found this site: http://www.appraisersassociation.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=741&nodeID=1, and some others. But, appraisers can be hundreds of miles away. Hoping not to pay through the nose for it either... Why is this so hard?

  • I can't believe I've been playing drums, on & off, for more than 40 years & had to Google what a trap-kit was :/ Ref, for anyone else who didn't know - sweetwater.com/insync/trap-kit
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 24 '16 at 19:20
  • 2
    If looking at eBay and reverb.com sales won't suffice I'm curious about why you are looking for an authoritative value on the kit. For insurance, you usually can name a replacement cost, which would be what you'd have to pay to buy it again used like on eBay. For setting a selling price, it's what the market will bear and now you're back to eBay and reverb.com. Some other reason? Dec 24 '16 at 21:54
  • I've removed the request for people or places, as that would be off topic here. If there is a way to answer the best practices question, please focus on that. That said, Todd has a good point...
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Dec 24 '16 at 22:02
  • Honestly, I don't even want to sell it. Just curious as to the actual, stand-alone value... I've wondered about how to appraise basses that I've owned or passed in my travels (I'm a bassist,) but getting this kit has become the catalyst to instigate finding the answer. Dec 26 '16 at 14:08

When it comes to selling something, it's worth what people will pay for it. Unfortunately, people don't make purchasing decisions based solely on the cold hard facts. There isn't a formula that you can use.

So, how can you get a ballpark figure? Unfortunately, I think your best bet is comparison. Remember that your buyer probably doesn't have any sentimental attachment, so it may be worth less to them than you. Ideally, you'd compare it to an identical item, but that will be very difficult to find. So, you need to be looking at other kits. Why would someone buy yours instead of the other ones?

If I were trying to sell the thing, I'd make a spreadsheet of similar instruments, and the prices they sold for. I'd then pick a ballpark price, and if I felt I was happy with getting that, I'd put it on the market. If it doesn't sell, I might reduce the price after a couple of weeks. If no one bites, it's obviously not worth that much. If it goes very quickly, it was probably underpriced, but I'd still be happy with the amount I got. Don't waste time worrying about lost money; it's not going to change anything.

This isn't a precise approach , but it should get you somewhere. I would not use a professional appraiser unless I was pretty sure it was worth a couple of grand at least. Otherwise you'll probably spend more selling the thing than it's worth. And, at the end of the day, you can say it's worth $x, but if no one will actually pay you, is it really worth that much?


I see you are from the US. I know the famous Norm Rare Guitar shop does appraisals mostly for guitars but a quick email could get an answer whether they would be comfortable to do one for drums.


  • Yes, I'm from the US. Hadn't considered inundating any or all appraisers with the old "Hey, what do you think this is worth?" just to see what I get back..... Dec 26 '16 at 14:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.