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How to sell a vintage guitar online:
Finding out what your guitar is worth

A guide to selling quickly at the best possible price

Finding out what your guitar is worth

Step 1: How to sell a vintage guitar online
Step 2: Finding out what your guitar is worth
Step 3: Advertising your guitar for sale

Step 2: Finding out what your guitar is worth

Before you ask, there is no such thing as an absolute guitar value for vintage instruments. Sorry. Online guitar prices go up and down over the years, and even within a year, with prices falling off in January, and again in Summer. But you can make a few generalisations:

  • Typically, guitars of the 1950s and early 1960s are worth more than those of the mid to late 1960s, and these are worth more than guitars from the 1970s
  • American guitars are generally worth more than European guitars, which in turn are worth more than most Asian guitars
  • Guitars by collectable manufacturers (e.g. Gibson, Guild, Gretsch, Fender) are typically worth more than brands you've never heard of
  • Guitars associated with popular performers are worth more than guitars that few entertainers seem to have used
  • Guitars produced in very small numbers are often worth more than better selling models, but not always
  • But possibly most importantly, guitars regarded as exceptionally well built (the most playable) will always be worth more than budget, or entry-level instruments
  • Autographed guitars tend not to have any extra value over a non-autographed one

Following this logic a 1960 Epiphone Casino (early period, US-made by the craftsmen at Gibsons Kalamazoo factory, associated with the Beatles and the Stones) is worth massively more than a 1970 Epiphone Casino (70s, Japanese-made, average quality, aimed at students). Probably ten times as much.

Whats more, values vary from country to country, from city to city and from year to year. And then there is condition. A vintage guitar that was bought and stored unused ever since is a very rare thing. Mint guitars like this can sell for very high prices. A beaten up guitar with replaced parts, a new finish and structural repairs might be worth very little, especially if it is not the kind of thing people chose to play.

Early Fender Stratocaster guitars on display in an upmarket US vintage guitar store Early Fender guitars on display in an upmarket US vintage guitar store. Dealers are often able to add huge premiums to the prices of their guitars, but some may sit unsold for many years

So although there is no such thing as an absolute value, guitars do tend to sell for something approaching a consistent price. A number of people follow the market and put their research into various guitar value books. These do give ballpark figures, though far from absolute, but they are a guide to whether a guitar is desirable or not - see vintage guitar price guides for some more information about these books.

And you can do this research yourself. One easy way is by searching completed listings on Ebay; prices of sold items are listed in green, unsold in black or red; each is relevant as you can get an idea of what sells, how quickly, and what doesn't sell at all.

Vintage guitar stores sell guitars typically at 30%-50% more than a private sale from a classifieds advertisement or a website like Ebay. Perhaps more still in a large city with a super-rich clientele. Many online stores offer guitars for sale at a considerably higher price than they expect to sell for; they might just get lucky, plus they have room to negotiate with a potential buyer. But many have guitars sitting in their sales rooms for years. But this method can also work for the private seller who does not know the value of their guitar; as long as they are also in no desperate hurry to sell. Ebay allows sellers to offer an item for sale at a fixed price, and accept offers. This will ultimately give an idea of value, probably a shade under what it is actually attainable.

When you sell online you have a vast reach - someone, somewhere wants your guitar. It is just a matter of making sure they see it and are willing to pay for it. You can't control how many people want your guitar, or how much it is worth, but you can do a lot to make sure they see it, and it is presented in it's best light; see part three Advertising your guitar for sale.


Vintage guitars for sale

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1957 Gibson Les Paul GOLDTOP with original PAF pickups

1957 Gibson Les Paul GOLDTOP with original PAF pickups

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$174900


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1957 Gibson Les Paul in its original Goldtop finish. The back of the body shows a bit of figured / flamed mahogany on the lower bass side. It has a good playing neck with some worn, but good frets. It's all original with the exception of the jackplate, a couple of jackplate screws and most of the screws for the tuning keys. There was another set of tuning keys installed at one time that required the tuning peg ... more
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1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom w / 3 original PAF pickups + Fretless Wonder HANG TAG!

1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom w / 3 original PAF pickups + Fretless Wonder HANG TAG!

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$98000


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom in its original Black finish. It's all original and 100% complete along with its original hardshell case and original HANG TAG stamped "LES PAUL CUSTOM FRETLESS WONDER " . There's also a copy of the original sales ledger where the original owner made multiple payments of $13 a month for over a year. It has a good playing neck, but the small original frets are very worn as this would ... more
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1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom with all 3 original PAF pickups RARE IMPORT MODEL

1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom with all 3 original PAF pickups RARE IMPORT MODEL

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$95000


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom in its original Black finish. This is a rare import guitar with the faint original factory "MADE IN THE USA" stamped above the serial number. It has a great playing neck with good frets. It's all original and 100% complete along with its original hardshell case and an old English made Bulgin guitar cable. There are nicks + dings (a couple have been touched-up), finish checking, belt ... more
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all original 1951 Fender ESQUIRE Blonde with orig. hardshell case

all original 1951 Fender ESQUIRE Blonde with orig. hardshell case

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$89000


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1951 Fender Esquire in its original Blonde finish. It has a great playing neck with good frets. It's all original and includes the original hardshell case, "ashtray" bridge cover and original strap. This Esquire looks great with a lot of natural play wear including many nicks + dings, finish checking and other cosmetic wear. Some of the finish on the top treble of the body was sanded / buffed down to the wood. It... more
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1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty w / OHSC

1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty w / OHSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$64995

1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
Some Cosmetic Playwear As Shown
Finish Checking Throughout
Professionally Refretted By Glaser Instruments Of Nashville, TN
Ilitch Hum Elimination System Removed And Put Back To Original (See Photos)
Previously Owned By John Shanks
Used On Bon Jovi's ' This House Is Not For Sale' Album
Neck Depth At 1st Fret: 0 88"
Neck Depth At 12th Fret: 0 99"
... more
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original 1957 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst w / orig. tweed case

original 1957 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst w / orig. tweed case

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$54900


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this early 1957 Fender Stratocaster in its original Sunburst finish. It has a great playing neck with a "V" profile and good frets. All parts are original to this Strat and it is 100% complete along with its original tremolo arm, bridge cover and tweed hardshell case. The neck dates to February 1957, pots dating to January 1957 and the body date of December 1956. The pickup covers and knobs are the earlier "bakelite" ... more
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1965 Fender Stratocaster Vintage Cady Apple Red Custom color Original 65

1965 Fender Stratocaster Vintage Cady Apple Red Custom color Original 65

Ladera Ranch, California, 926**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$48000

1965 Fender Stratocaster early custom color Candy Apple red 100 % Original, nothing touched, all the solder Joints are untouched. Gray bottom pickups have the original winds, Green pick guard early 65' pot dates. No routes, extra holes, touchups or repairs. The original Large frets are in great shape. A true collector grade instrument. Comes with the original no logo black case. This is an Extremely rare Vintage guitar. Buyer is responsible for all shipping.... more
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1955 Fender Stratocaster

1955 Fender Stratocaster

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$41900


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1955 Fender Stratocaster in its original Sunburst finish. It had formerly been owned by Ned Liben of the band Riff Raff and demo artist for the Arp Avatar guitar synthesizer. This Stratocaster had been modified to house the pickup and controls for the Avatar. The modifications have been reversed to return the guitar back to its original specs. There was a side jack installed that had been removed before the hole ... more
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1962 Fender Stratocaster Rare Left Handed Vintage Electric Guitar

1962 Fender Stratocaster Rare Left Handed Vintage Electric Guitar

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$41900

1962 Fender Stratocaster Rare Lefty! Brazilian Slab board, 1-62 Neckdate, Sunburst finish, Clay dots, Spaghetti logo, Green guard, Amazing andwonderful original Black back pickups, Bridge cover, Single line Kluson tuners, Vintage Black leather strap and Grey cable, Excellent condition with Rare cleanoriginal Brown left handed hard case... more
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original 1958 Fender Telecaster Blonde

original 1958 Fender Telecaster Blonde

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$37900


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1957 Fender Telecaster in its original Blonde finish. It has a great playing neck with great frets. It's all original with the exception of the nut. It even has its original tweed hardshell case and original "ashtray" cover for the bridge. This Tele looks great with nicks + dings, finish checking and other cosmetic wear including a very small area where the finish is worn off from the corner of the headstock on ... more
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1963 Fiesta Red Fender Precision Bass

1963 Fiesta Red Fender Precision Bass

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$37600

1963 Fender Precision Bass, Very Rare! Fiesta Red finish, Greenpickguard, Nice Dark Brazilian Rosewood Fingerboard, Clay dots, Spaghetti logo, Both covers, Fantastic instrument, Absolutely gorgeous, EC, Original White hardcase
... more
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1961 Fender Stack Knob Jazz Bass

1961 Fender Stack Knob Jazz Bass

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$37500

1961 Fender Jazz Bass, Rare Stack Knob, Brazilian RosewoodSlab Board with clay dot inlays, Lovely Sunburst finish, Tortoise Pickguard, Two Pickups, Both covers, One of the finest basses ever made, VG++, OriginalBrown hard case.
... more
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1990 Brian Monty made 58 Korina Flying V Rare Super Accurate Vintage

1990 Brian Monty made 58 Korina Flying V Rare Super Accurate Vintage

Ladera Ranch, California, 926**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$36500

1990's Brian Monty made Korina 58 Flying V. A handful of famous guitar players have owned these legendary Monty V??s. This spectacular example was from the first batch??. Incredibly lightweight. The nitro finish has checked naturally over the years and looks great! Late 50??s original parts include: Kluson deluxe tuners, ABR-1 bridge, PAF covers, catalin switch tip, truss rod nut cover, M69??s, pickup screws and springs, bell knob pointers. Comes with a TKL historic replica case. when I re ... more
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1953 Fender Telecaster Blackguard Butterscotch Blonde w / HSC

1953 Fender Telecaster Blackguard Butterscotch Blonde w / HSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$35995

1953 Fender Telecaster Blackguard
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
All Parts Original Except As Noted Below:
Professional Body Refin In A Light Butterscotch Blonde Nitrocellulose Lacquer Finish With Lacquer Checking

Neck Professionally Refinished With New Decal
We Believe The Neck To Have Been Partially Refretted Up To 5th Fret, Excellent Job
Original Pickups, Bridge Pickup Appears To Have Been Professionally Rewound
A Few Marks On The Front ... more
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1950 Fender Broadcaster Blackguard Butterscotch Blonde w / HSC

1950 Fender Broadcaster Blackguard Butterscotch Blonde w / HSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$34995

1950 Fender Broadcaster In Butterscotch Blonde Finish
This Guitar Is Located At Imperial Vintage Guitars Sherman Oaks
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
MJT Ash Body With Aged Nitrocellulose Lacquer Finish
Neck Refinished With New Decal
Professionally Refretted
Small Repair Near Walnut Skunk Stripe As Shown
Circa 1950 Bigsby B16 Tailpiece Added
Shim In Neck Pocket
50's Telecaster Wiring Without Blend Control
Original Pickups And ... more
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1963 Gibson ES-335 TD

1963 Gibson ES-335 TD

Loveland, Ohio, 451**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$34900

1963 Gibson ES-335 TD, Original Stop tail piece, Sunburst finish, TwoPatent Number humbuckers, Lightly figured Maple top and back, 1 11 / 16 incheswide at the nut, Original single line Kluson tuners back on, All Nickel part, ??MickeyMouse?? ears, Sweet playing and superb sounding, EC, Original hard case... more
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Rolling Stones Hand Signed "Start me Up" Peavey Strat Guitar - All 5

Rolling Stones Hand Signed "Start me Up" Peavey Strat Guitar - All 5

Nashville, Tennessee, 372**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$32500

Beautiful guitar hand signed by five members of The Rolling Stones. "START ME UP" handwritten by Mick Jagger. Purchased at an auction, kept in a numerically controlled environment. Quite rare to have five signatures. COA will be supplied to winning bidder
Guitar is housed in a Fender case, which is not original to the guitar. See photos
Thank you for checking out my auction. Please note I am a private seller. Questions accepted. Offers welcome.... more
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1967 Gretsch White Falcon Mono Prototype Rare No F holes Pinstripe Binding !

1967 Gretsch White Falcon Mono Prototype Rare No F holes Pinstripe Binding !

Ladera Ranch, California, 926**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$32500

1967 Gretsch White Falcon Mono Prototype Unbelievably rare find. Bound pinstripe Sparkle binding. 2 Powertron pickups and NO F Holes! Possibly the only one like this made maybe a custom order. It does not get any cooler than this, has a big neck as well. The guitar is 100% All original no issues, Original Frets in great shape. All the electronics work as they should, come with original case.... more
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1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop w / OHSC

1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop w / OHSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$31995

1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop
This Guitar Is Located At Imperial VIntage Guitars Sherman Oaks
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
Cosmetic Playwear And Finish Checking Throughout As Shown
Light Fret File Markings On Fingerboard
All Original Example
Mojoaxe Compensated Bridge Added (Original Included)
Original Frets In Fully Playable Condition
Original Receipt Of Sale, Hang Tag And Strings
Neck Depth At 1st Fret: 0 90 "
Neck Depth At... more
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1961 Gibson Les Paul / SG Custom original WHITE with Sideways Vibrola

1961 Gibson Les Paul / SG Custom original WHITE with Sideways Vibrola

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$31900


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Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1961 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Custom in its original White finish with gold hardware and a factory sideways Vibrola. It has a great playing neck with very worn frets, but still playable. It's all original with the exception of one volume knob. It's also 100% complete along with its original hardshell case. This original Les Paul Custom looks great with lots of minor nicks + dings (most have been touched-up with white... more
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Ray Bell Comment left 3rd November 2014 17:05:03 reply
Hi I have an old acoustic Guitar, I am trying to find out if it has any value. It is in need of a little attention. The information I have is . The Michigan company, I believe around 1930s Parlour, arch top acoustic guitar. Inside label is B & S.l. SOLE. Made in the USA.

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