Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Reliable guitar appraisers in Tucson, AZ and San Diego County, CA


I am searching for honest, reliable guitar appraisers in two different geographical areas:

Tucson, AZ


San Diego County, CA

This is for the purpose of a future estate sale of my personal property.

I know that I could waltz into any music store and sell my guitars for a song, but am looking for their legitimate resale value.

Thank you for your suggestions.



I know no appraisers in those areas, so can't answer the question directly. I just have some general thoughts about the process of valuing a guitar collection for estate purposes. (Something many of us with more than a couple guitars have thought about.)

Unless the guitars are very unusual - among those perennially big-buck models like '59 bursts and pre-war Martins - or have unique provenance or rarity, a survey of Ebay and Reverb historical selling prices on the same models in like conditions would be a reliable guide to their values. An appraiser would certainly take that information - along with guitar "blue book" listings - into account in his work.

That's if you're looking for ballpark prices for guidance to value - realizing that proceeds of liquidation may vary considerably, depending on how the instruments are sold. That is, there are estate sales and there are estate sales: if you're talking advertise-locally-and-git-er-done-in-a-day, a local auction may or may not bring near either professionally appraised or amateur ballpark values. And it would have to be a pretty special collection to warrant any kind of national- or international-scope auction.

Someone buying the collection as a whole will naturally hope to pay less than individual appraised/informed-ballpark estimates; selling the guitars individually (probably via online sites) would likely bring closest to their value in the end, but requires at either some expertise in both guitars and tech (or the assistance of someone who has it), plus diligence and logistical commitments over a sustained period of time. (For one point of reference, our former member Gretschman36's widow is still selling through his holdings 15 months after his passing.)

I suppose that, armed with a professional appraisal you've paid for - from an actor with no future financial interest in the collection (ie, he wouldn't be in the market as a dealer) - you would be better equipped to negotiate a package deal with any buyer, individual or dealer.

All of which is to say, if I was looking for real-world reliable estimates of current values, I'd do the Ebay and Reverb research before seeking an appraiser. That's unless the collection includes high-end 30s-60s vintage guitars (some of which require appraisers who specialize in particular models and even ranges of years) - where you'd have the potential to lose tens of thousands of dollars without professional expertise, or stand the chance of never selling because your asking prices were unreasonable. Then I'd have those guitars appraised - while going with recent researched real-world market values for the less exotic holdings.


Contact Gruhn guitars in Nashville. For $50 a guitar they will provide you with a credible appraisal based on photographs you provide them. They are the biggest name in the business, My insurance company accepted their appraisals with no questions asked.


Gruhn has appraised my better ones twice before long distance moves...

I also used the appraisals for "All Peril" Insurance coverage.

Maybe you could give us a few more details about what you have?


You would do well to contact Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, the third largest auction house in the United States after Sotheby's and Christie's. Two or three times a year Heritage sells a vast number of guitars. both individual ones and those of a collection, at auction, both online and at an in-person auction. Heritage auctions allow you to set a secret reserve price (a minimum which you will accept), and many of the guitars they sell are rarities and highly valuable while at the same time they sell more ordinary guitars. And the seller pays NO fees as there is a "Buyer's Premium" which the buyer pays in addition to the auction price. The people at Heritage generally know guitars but I have seen times that they do not understand the specs of the guitar they are auctioning . They do, however, understand pricing and that is the bottom line


Harvey Moltz at Rainbow Guitars might be a help. Rainbow is on North Campbell a block or so North of Grant.


I agree with Proteus, start with Ebay, as world prices flex and change, they are a pretty good indicator of world values at any given time. Go to advanced search and check the "completed" and "sold" boxes and then add the year and brand of your Instrument and hit Search. Almost every Dealer I've encountered in the past decade checks Ebay first. Next as mentioned is "The Bluebook of Guitars", there are two versions, Acoustic and Electric, pick up the most recent versions. Finally would be Gruhn's for name recognition and trust. As for Auction's, I worked for a West Coast big name auto auction in the late 70's, and I believe that they can honestly be a crap shoot, based on who is there that day, the current market etc. I also believe that people go to auctions to "get a good deal", not to find something specific, like a "bucket list" Guitar. Best of luck

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