Appraisal Process

I have been in the scenario that many may have faced when selling an instrument. Walking into a shop “I’d like to sell my instrument please”, for them to respond with “well it needs a service. It needs new strings. There is a slight mark on the rear of the guitar. On the inside foam of the case one strand has begun to discolour and that will hurt resale.” In these COVID times, people are turning to online sellers and once they have the guitar in their hands, it’s much easier for them to deduct, with similar reasoning.

As a company we promise that we won’t pick your guitar to bits. Last year we paid out in full over 99.5% of the time. If your guitar gets damaged or lost in the post we will protect you with our risk free postage promise.

I have written this gude to talk through the steps I take when checking a guitar, and what you can do to make sure that you are not in the small minority of cases where we do have to deduct.

Step One - Check the Aesthetics

The first thing that I do is look at the aesthetic condition on the guitar. Unless the guitar has been sold to us in pristine condition, some imperfections like light scratches here and there are to be expected. If there is an indent/ding/chip in the paintwork of the guitar, it could affect value, it is best to make sure you have sent us a picture of these before accepting our quote and described the condition. .

I am also checking for signs that the guitar has been repaired. Even a very skilled Luthier will struggle to completely hide a repair to the neck or headstock. Similarly while there are some excellent refinishes, they aren’t exactly the same as the original. Repairs on that level will affect the value of the guitar. We will absolutely still buy a guitar that has been repaired however we will need to reflect this in our offer. Similarly if you have modified the way your guitar looks in a way that can’t be changed back (I.e drilled a hole in it), please let us know. It may not affect the value at all but it can do.

Step Two - Check it Works

The obvious check is by plugging the guitar into an amp and making sure a sound comes out! However it is also making sure that all of the components work as well. If it isn’t working please let us know in the quote and any details of why this may be. If it is a case of a loose wire I am very unlikely to deduct. Should the instrument need components to be replacing as they do not work and have not been detailed in the information for the quote, deductions may occur.

Step Three - Check it is All There

When you send pictures in your quote you should only include in the picture accessories you are sending with the guitar. If we give you a value based on the hard case being included and it isn’t there, I most likely will have to deduct. If the guitar came with a trem-arm we will assume it is present unless you tell us otherwise. We deduct more for a missing trem arm if you send the guitar in without one (because the guitar has to wait with us until a replacement has arrived). If we know the trem arm is missing we can line a replacement up to arrive when your guitar does, if we are told in advance we sometimes won’t even deduct at all. A list of what is included when selling the guitar is hugely helpful.

We will also assume that the guitar you are selling comes with the original pick-ups and electrics. If you know any of the internal workings of the guitar has been replaced or had work done to them it is best to tell us. If you have upgraded or changed anything please let us know. In most cases it won’t reduce our offer. However if the workings have been replaced by much cheaper parts this will affect the value.

If your guitar is missing its original pickguard, bridge pins, saddles or the knobs on the guitars it is worth telling us this before you send the guitar in.


I will never deduct because a guitar needs a set up. In fact when I do deduct I have to give one of six reasons.

  • There is significant damage to the guitar (ie. a ding or a chip) not shown on pictures or described.

  • The guitar is counterfeit

  • The guitar is a different make/model

  • The guitar has had irreversible repairs or modifications

  • The guitar has a component fault

  • The guitar is missing a part (this includes any original cases & trem arms).

If you still have any questions about the appraisal or deductions please feel free to ask. I am always on hand to answer your questions.

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