Is a Martin Guitar a Good Investment? (Detailed Answer)

Martin Guitars is one of the premier guitars brands in the world today, and many of their guitars would make a great investment. However, if you are wondering whether a martin guitar is going to increase in value, there are many influencing factors, and we explain them in this article.

Can Guitars Increase in Value?

Yes, there are multiple examples of guitars that were regular off-the-shelf models that have skyrocketed in price. The 1956 Les Paul Gold Top, 50’s Telecasters, early 60’s Stratocasters, and pre-war Martins, are some examples of guitar models that have become extremely valuable 50 and 60 years after their original release.

The Difference Between Inflation and Appreciation of a Guitar’s Value

When we talk about value increases of guitars, it is important to make a distinction between increases in price that have their roots in the general inflation of all goods, and the ‘real’ appreciation of a guitar where the price increase has outpaced the general increase in the cost of things.

Under current monetary policy trends in developed western countries, inflation of 3% in a year is considered good. But the actual rate of increase of often much higher. While this doesn’t sound like a lot, when that 3% is compounded over a decade or two, it is quite significant. So make sure you have that in mind.

For example, a guitar that cost $500 in 1950, assuming 3% inflation per year, would be the equivalent of a guitar that costs $4200 today. In reality, inflation has been MUCH more than 3% in some years, but I used 3% as a very conservative estimate.

Martin Guitars That Hold Their Value Vs Increase In Value

When people are considering whether a Martin guitar is a good investment, they usually fall into two camps. Some are wondering whether the Martin guitar they are thinking of buying will hold its value, so they could potentially resell for a similar price in the future. While other are wondering whether the Martin guitar they are thinking of buying could increase dramatically in value. These are two very different mindsets and we’ll explore the different influences in the following sections.

Factors That Could Make a Martin Guitar Increase In Value


Someone famous for playing or endorsing a guitar can have a big influence on how popular it becomes. Certain famous musicians adopting a certain instrument as their favorite guitar has led to many obscure makes and models skyrocketing to popularity and making their guitars much more valuable.

Supply and Demand

If a certain guitar model was made in short numbers, whether it was a limited edition, or just abandoned by the manufacturer, this too can make something more valuable. If something rare becomes desirable, then basic market forces of supply and demand dictate that as more people chase a low number of items, the price will go up.

Materials The Guitar Is Made From

There are some guitars that used to be used in making acoustic guitars that have either been deleted, or are no longer allowed to be used in making guitars. Certain timbers make a certain sound people are very fond of, so they are willing to pay big dollars to get a guitar made from that wood. This is likely to be true of many of the woods being used today, and make continue to the point where most guitars are made from synthetic materials, and any ‘real wood’ guitar might have some value.

Production Methods Used To Make The Guitar

Like materials, certain production processes change over time, and if certain guitars were made with a process, that has a certain impact on the guitar that you can no longer access, this can also influence the value of the guitar.

Factors That Could Result In A Martin Guitar Losing Its Value

Walking Out Of The Guitar Shop

I say that cheekily, but the reality is, that as soon as you buy a brand new guitar and walk out of the shop, it typically drops in value by about 25-30%, you can ask anyone that works in a guitar shop.

Selling a Guitar

Many premium acoustic guitars come with a lifetime warranty for the original owner. This is really valuable for the owner, but a smart move by the manufacturers because they know that most guitars are sold secondhand at some point, thus the warranty expires. So this with a warranty is very valuable to the original owner but becomes instantly worthless if and when they sell the guitar.

Playing The Guitar

The more you use and play your guitar, and the further it moves away from ‘new condition’ the more it decreases in value.

Number Of Guitars Made

Converse to the above point about limited editions, and short runs of a certain model potentially becoming valuable. It is also true that if there are tens of thousands of a certain model, then there is less chance that they will increase in value significantly.

If a certain model experiences significant demand at some point in the future, then it could defy the above factors and still become very valuable, but in general, these principles will hold.

Do Martin Guitars Hold Their Value?

There will be a select few Martin models that increase in price due to the above factors, but many Martin guitar models will drop in price as soon as they are bought and then hold that price quite consistently. So for you to get the best value for money you may want to buy a very good quality second-hand martin This way, you skip the massive depreciation experienced by all-new guitar buyers. The only downside of buying secondhand is that you will miss out on that valuable lifetime warranty, and have to pay for any repairs yourself, should they be required.

Should I Expect My Martin Guitar To Increase In Value?

Personally, I would not buy a Martin guitar and expect it to increase in value. Most people that strategically try and do this, fail. Some models will become very valuable in the future, but it is often very hard, at the moment, to know which ones those will be.

There is a general sense that current guitars will be quite valuable in the future as guitar wood is harder and harder to get. But this will apply to all guitars, not just Martins.

The best advice I have seen given about buying a Martin guitar is:

The safest fiscal approach I could recommend when it comes to buying a Martin is to buy the best one you can afford at the best price possible, and then squeeze as much pleasure out of it as you can through playing it. At the end of your custodial period, you may find you can sell your Martin for a reasonable amount and perhaps realize a profit, but that won’t matter if you’ve enjoyed the playing.

Further Reading