This is a short guide to help you navigate getting a vintage instrument valued and back to playable condition. We highly recommend bringing your instrument into our store for mechanical appraisal and valuation. Often this can be done whilst you wait and completely free of charge!
Things to avoid and consider:
Attics, basements, garages and sheds are often less than ideal places for instruments to be kept. Extremes of humidity or temperature will damage an instrument over time. Ideally, aim to store any instruments in a warm, temperature-stable room, with low humidity (45-55%).
Please don’t attempt to repair/clean a vintage instrument yourself. The original condition of an ‘old-looking’ (patina, rust, missing finish) instrument may be potentially valuable. Please contact us if you would like any further advice on cleaning/restoration, we can most likely help or point you in the right direction. As a general tip: furniture polish and other household cleaning products are unsuitable for musical instruments and should never be used to clean them.
Moving parts may seize over time if an instrument is unused, for example: the tuning slides or valves on a brass instrument; the machine heads on a guitar; the keys on a woodwind instrument, etc. Often, these parts can be freed up, but forcing parts can cause alignment problems, or worse.
Aged materials (especially wood) can become brittle over time so handle with care.
Original cases can add value, even if they are a little worn. Any tags and other original accessories can also be collectible additions. Also, if you find an instrument without a purpose-made case, we would recommend buying one. We carry hard and soft cases for a very wide variety of instruments and would be happy to help find something suitable for you.
Here’s the difficult one: just because an instrument is old and original does not necessarily mean it is valuable. Value depends on: when the instrument was made; how many exist; desirability; condition; other similar models and their current market value.
Remember, it is always best to bring an instrument to us in person. We cannot offer appraisals by email (even with pictures) or telephone.
If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us:
T: 0161 445 4466