Mandolin Brothers, Ltd. - Appraisals

By: Mandolin Brothers  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandolin

Mandolin Brothers, Ltd. is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on American vintage fretted instruments. We are recommended by major manufacturers, including Gibson, Martin, Fender, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Guild, Ovation, National, Dobro, D’Angelico, D’Aquisto, and dozens more as a premiere source of accurate valuations. We have appraised numerous collections, including those of the C F Martin Company Museum, the estates of the late CF Martin III and Merle Travis, the collection of George Fullerton, and many more.

  2. Showroom appraisals of instruments such as acoustic guitars or mandolins.  Such pieces cannot generally be "taken apart" (as an electric guitar can) and so less time is involved in “vetting” them. . .  $100 per item.  
  3. Showroom appraisals of instruments that must be examined inside and out, and fully annotated, including vintage Fender and Gibson electrics, prewar flathead Gibson Mastertone banjos, and other instruments that could conceivably have suffered substitution or alteration of parts, components, wiring, routing, refinishing or overspray.  These require the full forensic analysis that only our repair shop can provide, involving copious notes and a lengthy written description . . .  $150 per item.

*Because they need to be fully examined in person we cannot do email appraisals of ‘50s and ‘60s Fender or Gibson electrics, or prewar Mastertone flathead banjos, or original 5-string prewar Gibson banjos, or certain prewar Martin guitars.   There are probably some other instruments we cannot appraise by email.   Even early 1970s electrics by Gibson and Fender are becoming more valuable and we would prefer to do a “full forensic analysis” of those as well.

tom, one showing the full back, tip to bottom, one showing front of headstock, one showing a close-up of a detail you think we should see and one showing the carrying case.    Try to keep the size of each photo file down to around 150 to 200 Kbs or less. Or, if it's easier, take regular snapshot photos of your guitar, banjo or mandolin and regular mail them to us.   Some people have sent us color print-outs of their digital shots (by regular mail) and that seems okay too. In your message provide us your full home address, so that we can send you a letterhead copy of the appraisal by regular mail, and all your various telephone numbers so we can phone you if we have questions. You can either phone or FAX in your credit card number or (if sending photos by mail), or enclose a personal check, bank check or money order for $50 US per item to be appraised by email. 

10 0 for a flattop, archtop or regular electric guitar or bass, ukulele, and most banjos or mandolins.  For a type of appraisal called a "complete forensic analysis” the typical fee is $150 - this would apply to the likes of a prewar flathead Mastertone, a vintage Fe nder or a Gibson electric where every square inch of the instrument, inside and out, needs to be intensely examined by both our sales staff and our repair staff in order to determine originality.   This type of appraisal takes longer, (2 to 3 ho urs) so leave yourself a block of time while we gather around the piece like physicians bearing leaches did in the D ark A ges. There are half a dozen great restaurants within 2 blocks on either side of our showroom.

I would need to know the brand, model & serial number, and information about the cosmetic condition, including notations of any sign of use or wear. I would need to know about the structural condition including the instrument's repair history and about any repairs or adjustments now needed, whether any sort of set-up is required; whether a "neck reset" is required. A neck reset is required whenever the action is uncomfortably high and there is no way to lower it by means of truss rod, bridge saddle.  Any aco ustic guitar whose bridge has been shaved or that has a very low saddle, almost to the quick, needs a neck reset.     Does it have any cracks or seam separations?  I would need to know about its playability (the action - when tuned to pitch with a fresh set of new strings of appropriate gauge -- how is the string height off the fretboard at 10th fret, is it difficult to press the strings down when it's tuned to pitch with a fresh set of light gauge strings? Is the bridge saddle set in the "middle" of its range, or is it set at the lowest position, or the highest? Does the neck show any waviness when you sight the fretboard from the headstock end?  Is the neck dead straight, forward bowed (warped) or back-bowed?  Is there a “rise at the end of the fingerboard over the body” is there any “up-and-down” convexity and concavity on the neck or the fretboard?     If it does show playing wear - where does it show wear and how deep is that wear - does it penetrate through the finish and down to the wood?  Does the truss rod - if it has one - work as it should in both directions? Has any body checked?   Is there room left on the bridge saddle to lower the action further if required?  How about its originality  -- are there any replaced or missing finish or components, is there plating wear on the plated metal parts?  And the type of carrying case -- what color outside, what color inside, is it original or newer, is it chipboard, hard shell, hard shell case with zipper case cover, canvas carry-bag, zipper gigbag, no case?  Last Question: "What's the 'worst' thing you can say about your instrument?"

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Electric Guitar, Guitar, Mandolin, Money Order

Other products and services from Mandolin Brothers


Mandolin Brothers, Ltd. - Workshop

Laid end to end, our workshop personnnel measure 23.17 feet in length and have a combined age of 122 years, which is roughly the equivalent of two very tall, ripened repairmen, working towards their retirement at a well-known guitar manufacturing plant.


Mandolin Brothers, Ltd. - Order Information

If you ultimately pick the instrument up at our showroom you must add New YorkState and City Sales tax but if we ship it to another state we will collect no sales tax. You can get a 3 percent discount off this price if payment is made in cash at our showroom, or via mail order by bank check, money order or by Wire Transfer of Funds. Our prices: when two prices are listed after the description the first price shown is our Discount Price.


Mandolin Brothers, Ltd. - Credentials and References

Mandolin Brothers is listed on The New York Music Trail -- a map of the famous "Sites of Sound" established by the City of New York and The Host Committee for the Grammy Awards. George Harrison was their customer and Paul McCartney chose this shop to repair his original Beatle Bass and later thanked them in an interview in Bass Player Magazine.