This detailed, written appraisal report from a professional instrument appraiser, can be used for all legal purposes like insurance, courts, banking, and IRS donation documentation.
Any guitar store or dealer will gladly give you a value on your guitar. But will a person with ulterior motives really provide an accurate value for your guitar? Of course not... nor will much research be involved with the actual pricing of your guitar. ASA Certified Instrument Appraisers are obligated to research and discover all available information on the property being appraised. Our goal is to produce the most accurate information about your guitar and what it's worth. I do not desire to buy, consign or trade your guitar... only to provide you credible information about your guitar and the resources from which it came.
Most dealers simply check EBay to get a value to see what they could sell your guitar for, then price your guitar based on this information. The problem is they do not always understand how to research that specific EBay seller and listing to evaluate WHY that guitar sold for that amount. (See EBay Tips) Nor do they check any other resources and comparable sales like a certified appraiser is required to do. Others may just look up the price of your guitar in a blue book. The problem with this is that blue book information only scratches the surface of the guitar's value and is meant to be used ONLY as a starting point for further research. (See Blue Book Tips) Most of the time blue book values are not very accurate and require further investigation in other price guides and online comp sales.
Then you have all of those 'Free Appraisals' offered by folks who desire to gather information. A certified guitar appraisal requires 1.5 to 4 hours of research, then another hour to write up a certified guitar appraisal. It's obvious that no actual research is being done by folks offering free appraisals. These people are 'number punchers' and are total amateurs at pricing guitars, but could be experts at buying guitars quickly, gathering information or selling an email list. The good news is that you could actually make a better pricing evaluation for your guitar, all by yourself, by reading our Free Tips page.