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The less a guitar has been messed with, the better.

An instrument that has a few scratches on it but has all its original parts and finish is usually worth more than a perfectly refinished specimen.

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It is essential to identify exactly what the vintage of a given instrument is.Serial numbers, hardware, finishes, workmanship, electronics, woods and materials will all offer clues.Due to their endangered status and scarcity, certain prized tonewoods such as Brazilian rosewood are no longer used to build guitars.The same is true for tortoiseshell, ivory, and ebony inlays and embellishments.On the other hand, if a little set up work will cure buzzes and tuning issues, the impact on value is negligible.

A guitar tech should be consulted if you’re not comfortable with setting up a guitar.Consulting price guides and checking the prices of similar models will help zero in on a value.Memorabilia/provenance value: Instruments owned by notable players or those having other historic interest will bring in top prices.You can also consult the , which is regularly updated and available at Amazon.If your initial research leads you to believe you’ve unearthed a real treasure, getting an appraisal from a reputable luthier may make sense.The value drops off sharply for guitars rated in “good” or “fair” condition.