There are plenty of Valley Arts guitars listed on various sites like ebay and reverb. etc.  Some are up front about their origin (Samick or Gibson) but some are not so up front, and try to pass them off as the Boutique guitars made during the Golden years at Valley Arts, as they are Collectors Items and obviously worth more, seemingly increasing in value as time goes on.  A lot of listings, expensive ones at that, purposely leave out the date of manufacture, seemingly hoping they will pass off as originals.   (I know this, it happened to me.)  There were only around 3000 guitars made by the original Valley Arts crew.  (Some estimates say Fender can produce 500-1000 guitars per day, just for perspective)

This site is intended to be a resource to help you in your decision and doing your due diligence in determining its origin.

In short, I personally bought one and learned this, any serial numbers after 2400 are suspect.  Mine is VA027XX – “transition ery” great guitar but lacks the collectability and value of Pre-Samick  (See the other blog post about Serial Numbers)

So, remember: Don’t buy a vintage Valley Arts Guitar without making absolutely sure it’s really from the correct era. There are many out there that were made during the Samick years and it’s easy to be confused about them.  Email us to make sure …our emails are on the Contact Us page, and we will try to get you an answer as soon as it is convenient.

Martin is the expert on identification, so please send those questions to him at

18 Thoughts on “Please – don’t buy a vintage Valley Arts Guitar without checking its authenticity!”

  • Hello there,
    I would really appreciate some help checking that valley arts custom pro T with serial number VA03154 was a genuine item.

    Many thanks

  • Hy I Have bene offered a White , strato shape California pro with 24 fret maple neck and tube o Marco bridge . Serial number va 02526 . Is it the real Valley Arts guitar ?

  • I have a brown sunburst #0097 with a regular styled strat peg head. Outfitted with Dimarizo pickups, hard tail piece. The neck is Birdseye maple and mahogany body. I have been playing this guitar since 1998. It has not let me down in any way. Does this fit there time line and craftsmanship? Priceless
    Inside the guitar cavity it has a gold sticker with the “Valley Arts” logo.

    • I’ve seen an early one that has a strat styled headstock, I believe made by Warmouth (the neck).
      But there is another one in the registry with an 0097 Serial number, so I don’t know. Send some pictures of the guitar to Martin and he can tell you more than me.

  • I was looking into buying one but – I don’t know. How does the number 0038 on a 1990 Standard Pro add up? The math seems a little fuzzy to me. It’s a good price if it is real. However, that is the million dollar question.

    • Does it not have VA before the serial? Somehow it does make sense, I have one, 0202 with no VA and was told by someone who knew more than me that it was probably a 91.
      If you have pictures or a listing I’d ask Martin as he can identify way better then I can with my limited experience. His email is on the contact page.

  • I have a friends Black Strat in my possesion with a Valley Arts chrome neck plate, a California complany made in USA serial # 26. That’s VA0026. Now this guitar, if it is this early, begs the question of why would anyone let go of this pre 0100 neck plate. Now the glaring conflict begins in that the neck has been replaced with another quality all maple neck where I can read faintly the words Sammick and see where the Valley Arts logo was and the headstock shape is the one inbetween what most Sammicks have anf the original Valley Arts guitars. The problem is the logo positioning is different from others the K very close to the VA logo and the font looks different. the string tree location different. Scalloped in the heal, with a pickguard unique to this guitar, in that generic Strat pick guards do not fit. Quality wiring 5 way switch, quality small pots, with at least the bridge pick up looking to have been changed. Very solid and quality feel about the whole package. All black with chrome, 3 ply P.G., basic generic vintage tremolo, no big block, body painted black in all the p.g. and tremolo cavities. To me it’s not unthinkable for this guitar, one with such a low serial number to be set up pretty straight forward. One not having all the figured woods, or elaborate hardware indicative of what would come later, maybe 50 or 100’s of guitars later. Someone either kept the original neck, and maybe also had access to one of these necks. It strikes me as an employee’s guitar or perhaps an artist who was getting some sort of assistance with instruments from the V.A. partners. Because if none of this were real the neck plate alone may fetch more money than the entire interests of the guitar. An artist wouldn’t care to the degree that a fraudster would. Like if it wasn’t what it was, anyone would have kept the plate and unloaded it with anything else. Anyway it is what it is, I just wanted to let you know where this 0026 neck plate is. I think an employee would have played this more, it doesn’t look new, but looks used very minimally, like an artist, or its simply a newer 2000’s guitar. I think there’s a possibility this was kicking around the shop awhile right during the purchase in 92, 93 and was a prototype for upcoming Sammick guitars made by VA to submit to Sammick. Then someone acquired it not long after perhaps because they removed the logo. Just theories. Anyway, have a good day. Greg. P.S. I thought this was a submission, not just a comment.

  • I bought a Valley Arts Custom Pro Tele last year, and have been wondering about it’s origins. I can’t seem to dial it in with the serial number (VA 01345) – Maybe you can help.I love this guitar, and would LOVE to know more about it.

  • Hi
    I have a VA 02077 with Steve Lukather’s signature behind the headstock. I gather is a Custom Pro pre Samick and pre-Gibson?
    Anyone can advise? Thank you.

    • I see one very close to that in the registry, VA 02079 and VA02082m, so that would make sense.
      Why don’t you submit it to us and we’ll add it to the registry? Send several photos with it, including the back of the headstock, and all the stuff you’ll see at the top of the registry page, and we’ll add it!
      You can email them to

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