Players who wish to self-appraise their own instruments have a number of options for finding a guitar blue book online. A number of websites that perform the same function as Kelley Blue Book for cars exist for guitars. You may just be interested in knowing how much your prized ax is worth, or you may be looking to buy. Either way, the internet can help you determine the fair-market value of nearly any guitar.
Find a Guitar Blue Book Online
When appraising your guitar, the first place to begin is the average market value of the guitar. From here, you can make additions or subtractions to the value based on damages, imperfections, and after-market additions to the instrument. The following websites act as a guitar blue book online.
- Orion Blue Book Online (at UsedPrice.com): The Orion Blue Book Online will help you determine how much nearly anything that you own is worth, including guitars. This includes electric and acoustic guitars, as well as bass guitars, amplifiers, and other guitar peripherals. The company behind Used Price works in conjunction with Orion Bluebook, which makes this the largest website dedicated to pricing used musical instruments. The website is browsable by the first letter of your instrument's manufacturer or make. It has every major guitar manufacturer and most obscure ones.
- Blue Book Publications: Blue Book Publications publishes a number of print guides for musical instruments, and it also maintains a subscription-based website. The website is divided into electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and guitar amplifiers in addition to other instruments. Unlike Used Price, you will have to register for a paid membership with this site to get the information you need to self-appraise your guitar. You can access the prices online or purchase print editions to be mailed to you.
- Reverb's Free Online Price Guide: This specialty vintage guitar site is one of the largest, most carefully maintained used vintage guitar and bass shops on the internet. It sells hundreds of used guitars and basses of all makes and models. It offers a free online Price Guide where you simply type in the model of instrument you have, and Reverb will analyze its vast database of transactions and give you a large result filled with prices. This gives you a real-time look at the market and where your particular kind of instrument fits in. It is a living, breathing blue book, and (the best part) it is free.
- Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide: This print guide, published by Vintage Guitar and Bass, is an annual guide that is re-published with updated information each year. The webpage above is handy because it shows links for all guides that have been published in one place and will continue adding links for future years. The link shown for each guide will take you to a store online where you can purchase the guide. It is known for being extremely thorough, and its latest edition, the 2017 guide, has appraisals for 2,000 brands of guitars, basses, amps, effects, mandolins, steels, lap steels, ukuleles and banjos.
- May Music Studio's Guide: The May Music Studio isn't a true "blue book." Rather, it is the website of a guitar studio that provides a quick tip guide to help you determine the fair market value of your guitar. The studio has years of appraisal experience and though they no longer offer appraisal services, their wisdom is distilled in the evaluation tips that they describe on their site.
- Gruhn Guitars: If you're looking for a convenient appraisal that can be done online--something along the lines of what May Music Studio used to do--Gruhn Guitars offers an appraisal service. You must first send information and pictures of your guitar according to their guidelines. You must also include a payment for the appraisal fee, which varies depending on the instrument.
Tips for Using Price Guides
Price guides can be used by both sellers and buyers. Sellers can generally use websites to get a ballpark figure on the value of their model of guitar or bass. They can then deduct for dings, scratches, and other injuries the guitar may have sustained in its lifetime. After-market modifications, such as new pickups or repair work, can increase the value of the guitar.
Conversely, buyers can use these websites to find out what the real value of a guitar is. This can be useful whether you're buying from a private seller or the guitar store down the street. Don't be afraid to haggle if the seller wants more than the guitar is actually worth according to book value. While the seller may eventually find another buyer, there's no reason for you to over pay.
Today's Guitarists Have It Good
In bygone years, guitarists would have had limited options to find the kind of information that a guitar blue book online has today. In the digital age, however, musicians have so many thorough, quality options online for guitar appraisal that it would take hours to exhaust all of the available information.