"I believe I have the guitar case from the smashed Sluggo Mustang. In Oct 1989 Nirvana was on the Bleach European tour with TAD. Tad had no case for his Fender Musicmaster and Kurt gave him a Fender Mustang case. Kurt played Tad's Musicmaster on occasion as stated in the letter of provenounce from Tad. I bought it from Tad Doyle several years ago."
From Mark Spiders of Willard,
Thank you Mark!
Mark's band, Willard, was very much a part of the Seattle music scene. And we all know TAD's close association with Nirvana. Mark says he has letters from Tad Doyle and Sub Pop regarding authenticity.
This may or may not be the neck from Kurt's Epiphone ET-270.
It has popped up on eBay for a ridiculous price.
The seller has pulled most of the photos (including the ticket/flyer) from nirvanaguide.com and is not including any form of authentic certification so there is no telling if it's the real deal or not. The only evidence that shows it may be Kurt's are the replacement tuners, but this is pretty easy to replicate by anyone with internet access.
I received email from readers saying they've communicated with the eBay seller. The seller does not have any actual back story on the neck. They are selling for somebody else under consignment. If you're going to make an offer I would advise you proceed with caution and healthy skepticism.
One of the comments below brought up a great point. The auction listing states this guitar was used on the recording of Bleach which in actuality was not. This guitar was purchased well after Bleach had been recorded.
According to trusted sources "the real neck is documented and accounted for. Currently in a NW collection". I know this was left as a comment below but additionally I've received email with this information.
Another reader has brought up an excellent observation. Kurt's Epiphone ET270 was outfitted with Gotoh tuners from the late 1980s/early 1990's. The tuners in the photographs of this neck appear to be Schaller tuners found on Mexican made Fender Stratocasters from the early 2000's. This information cannot be verified and the information is intended for entertainment purposes only.
Disclaimer: This guide is not claiming that this neck is a fake, nor is it claiming that it's real. This guide is only reporting opinions based on observations, not facts. This guide is intended for entertainment purposes only and has no business affiliation with collectors, buyers, or sellers. It was never intended to be any source of such information or a "buyer's guide" for Kurt's guitars. The guide's primary intention is to obtain close up photographs of Kurt Cobain's guitars and speculate as to where they may currently be.
More photographs from the auction:
70's Fender Mustang
Kurt used this guitar on Nirvana's 1989 US tour. At some point in the northeast part of the tour Kurt had smashed the guitar to the point where it was rendered unplayable. He took it into Mouradian Guitar in MA to fix the broken neck but either did not have the time or the money to go through with the repair.
While in New Jersey Kurt traded his broken Mustang with Sluggo (of the band Grannies and Huballaloo) for a Gibson SG that Kurt ended up painting light blue.
At one point the guitar was on display at the Seattle EMP on loan from Sluggo himself. It was taken off display to be auctioned off. In December of 2008 the smashed guitar made news headlines when it sold for $100,000. It is rumored to be returning there on loan from it's current (private undisclosed) owner for the Nirvana 2010 exhibit at the EMP.
If anyone has more photos of this guitar please send!
Pictures of the trade @ Sluggo's house in NJ
The photograph above is from the last show that this guitar was used on (Wilkinsburg, PA 7/9/89). There are no videos of the show but it's assumed that's where the guitar was smashed last. The video below is from a performance on 7/12/89 in Philadelphia, PA. No Mustang, but still a neat insight on this era of the band.
And another great montage of photos from this era.
This was the second sunburst Univox Hi Flier photographed for the Cobain Unseen book. Unlike the first one (see other entry) this one was published in the book. In the photograph we can see a replacement humbucker in the neck position. The rest of the guitar appears to be stock.
The guitar being played by the virtual version of Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5 appears to be a hybrid of a Jagstang and the In Utero era Mustangs. It has the Jagstang body shape and the trimmings (pickguard and pickups) of the In Utero era Mustangs.
Of special note; the headstock shape is that of a Telecaster.
As speculated by forum members of Offsetguitars.com this could be due to possible copyright infringements; "Guitar Hero is sponsored by Gibson and Rockband by Fender".
Because the Cobain estate was involved in the creation of this character it is also a possibility that the headstock design was influenced by Kurt's favoring of Telecasters in 94 and/or later sketches by Kurt of the Jagstang which showed a smaller headstock.
Read Rolling Stone article on Cobain's cameo on the game here.
Actual game play video here.
Update: Krist and Dave have made a comment on the Kurt Cobain Guitar Hero Avatar.
Read statement here.
I found this photo on my hard drive.
It came from an article published a few years ago regarding a raffle for this guitar.
Sadly I didn't save the article and after searching on Google profusely I've come up empty handed.
From my recollection the article claimed that this guitar was part of a collection of guitars used by the school and that this specific guitar was signed out to Kurt Cobain for music classes. The article also had a photo of the raffle winner being presented the guitar. I was a little skeptical when I read the article because Kurt played drums for the school band. Regardless it was newsworthy and apparently the guitar came with a letter from Kurt's music teacher for authenticity.
If anyone finds a link to the article PLEASE let me know so I can update this entry with the proper information rather than my mere recollection.
1970's Ibanez Black Eagle Bass
This was one of Krist's workhorse basses from the late 80's and early 90's. The bass was seen on display at Seattle's EMP in 2005. I'm working on confirming if the display is permanent or temporary.
The bass is on display alongside Kurt's sunburst Stratocaster.
This guitar was photographed for Cobain Unseen by Geoff Moore.
The photograph was not published in the book but it is on his website.
I recommend checking out his website.
He has a dedicated Cobain collection (which includes Kurt's drum set, journals, demo tapes, etc...) as well as other works of his which are worth checking out.
Geoff did most (if not all) the still photography for Cobain Unseen.
According to an eBay auction for one of his limited prints; there will be a future (traveling?) exhibit of his work.
Here is a photo of the guitar in Courtney Love's room in LA that she had once shared with Kurt Cobain.
This guitar was mentioned in kurtsequipment.com and the author of that site said it was "hear-say". Now we've confirmed it does indeed exist.
70's Fender Telecaster Thinline
This guitar actually belongs to Lee Renaldo from Sonic Youth.
Kurt had borrowed it in 1992 to join Mudhoney on stage for The Money Will Roll Right In.
This guitar was stolen from Sonic Youth in 1999 and returned (refinished) in 2005.
4. Only good photo I could find (only shows headstock)
Vandalism Fender Stratocaster
The most famous use of this guitar was at the 1991 Reading Festival.
The second famous use of this guitar was at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle 10/31/91.
This guitar is being lent to the Experience Music Project for a dedicated Nirvana exhibit. After Kurt's death the guitar was still in pieces. It was put back together by Earnie Bailey, Nirvana's guitar tech. It is currently on display at Seattle's Experience Music Project.
The sticker came from an Arizona band called The Feederz.
The guitar had at least one neck replacement, possibly more.
The necks ranged from Fender Japan, Kramer, and at one point a Fernandez Strat neck.
The gentleman in the photo holding the guitar is famed guitar builder Kevin Burkett of Electrical Guitar Company.
The complete photos can be seen by clicking on the links below.
This guitar was also used on one of Kurt Cobain's favorite moments on stage, playing Molly's Lips with Eugene Kelly. See video here. Kurt was quoted saying; "that was one of the greatest moments in my life".
9. Video of Vandalism Strat getting smashed #1 (removed by YouTube. bah humbug)
10. Video of Vandalism Strat getting smashed #2 (@1:04)
Rob and Earnie
1965 Fender Jaguar
The most common belief is that Courtney Love gave Kurt's Jaguar to Eric Erlandson (former Geffen employee and guitar player for Hole). It was last seen in Hole's Doll Parts video and Courtney was known to have given away a few of Kurt's guitars after his death (Jagstang, Musicmaster, Mustang). Eric was also one of Kurt's good friends and both were known to occasionally jam together.
When one of the contributors to this guide asked Earnie Bailey the whereabouts of the Jaguar he was unsure though he speculated that there may be a chance Eric has it.
Sidenote; in a photograph from the late 90's of Eric and his guitar collection the Jaguar is nowhere to be found. See photo here.
Eric Erlandson also brought the Jaguar with him on the 1995 Lollapalooza tour although it was rarely (if at all) seen on stage. The photograph above was taken by Jennifer Finch (photographer and member of L7).
According to Courtney Love, Frances Bean is set to inherit the lyrics to Teen Spirit, a sweater and one of Kurt's guitars. Since this is perhaps the most important and notable instrument in Nirvana's history it is a possibility that this is the guitar that Frances Bean is set to inherit.
If you are reading this and you have this guitar please send photos! You can remain anonymous. I get emails about this everyday from loyal Nirvana fans who love this guitar. The goal of this guide is to provide close up photographs of Kurt's guitars. Thanks for your consideration. Thousands of Nirvana fans will be grateful :)
For a detailed description of the Jaguar please visit kurtsequipment.com
Cool videos featuring the Jag
1. Molly's Lips (MTV 1992) - My personal favorite
2. Drain You (1991) - Jag closeups around 1:30
Please post links to your speculations, cool photos and videos of Kurt and his Jag in the comments section.
Fender is getting ready to release a replica of this guitar and there is a good chance they have photographed and inspected the original. See both posts here and here.
1969 Fender Competition Mustang
Famously used on the Smells Like Teen Spirit video. This guitar was also (alongside a Strat and a Jaguar) used for the recording of Nevermind. Kurt's Competition Mustang is currently on display at Seattle's Experience Music Project. After Kurt's death Courtney gave the guitar to a close friend. That friend has lent the guitar indefinitely to Seattle's EMP.
"I recently worked on the real one and its present owner allowed me to photograph it in detail. Courtney gave it to him a month after Kurt's death, and it is exactly as I remember it, every nick, ding, and solder joint." - Earnie Bailey
If anyone is in Seattle please take a ton of photos of this guitar @ EMP and send it to us so we can post 'em!
Hard Rock Cafe sells a tiny version of this Mustang.
A thousand thank you's to Rob and Earnie for the close up photographs above!
3. Kurt smashing Comp Mustang (@ 5:55)
4. Live SLTS with Comp Mustang (@ 4:50)
Rob and Earnie
Click here to see whole article.
Below is the part of the article that mentions Kurt's guitar;
"When Nirvana was playing one of their first Boston gigs, Kurt Cobain came to me with a broken neck of a Fender Mustang, which was thought of as a smaller, student guitar. But he got a great sound out of it, and because he played it, lots of people had to have one because they wanted to sound like him."
Interestingly enough, the 7/15/89 Nirvana gig in Jamaica Plain, MA (Green State Station) near Boston Kurt did not play guitar because his was smashed and not operable. I'm assuming that the guitar mentioned in the article is the guitar that was eventually traded and recently sold.
Notice that the gentleman doesn't actually say he fixed the broken neck. Chances are Kurt couldn't afford and/or didn't have time to fix the neck.
Thanks to Rob from livenirvana.com for sharing this.
I'm happy to announce the following information that I've gathered from MULTIPLE reliable sources.
Here it goes.
In 2010 the Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA is going to open up a RE DESIGNED DEDICATED NIRVANA EXHIBIT.
On display will be MULTIPLE instruments as well other related items (i.e. clothing, original artwork, etc...) Most of these items are already behind the scenes of the EMP. An official announcement will be made by the EMP later on in 2009.
(kind of) Confirmed guitars to be at the dedicated Nirvana display;
2. Black Stratocaster (dedicated entry coming soon)
Speculated through hear-say guitars to be displayed
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit Fender Mustang (already @ EMP)
3. Smashed Univox Hi Flier (once display @ EMP, possible return ?)
4. Reading Festival 1992 gear (sunburst strat, bass, drums) (already @ EMP)
To quote MTV News from the early 90's, "you heard it here first"
I've been informed that the Nirvana exhibit has been postponed to late 2010/2011
I promised them I wouldn't tell :)
There were three sonic blue and one red Mustang built by Scott Zimmerman from Fender Japan. Two of the blue Mustangs along with the red Mustang were sent out in the In Utero tour. The other (third) blue one stayed at Kurt's house. The whereabouts of the third blue Mustang and the red Mustang are currently unknown.
According to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame there were 5 of these built for Kurt.
Not four as previously reported. Have any more information please feel free to contact me.
At some point the In Utero Stangs will have their own dedicated entries.
This entry is specific to two sonic blue ones that were used on the In Utero Tour.
Blue Mustang #1 "Sky Stang III"
This guitar was referred to as "Sky Stang III" by Kurt, Earnie Bailey and John Duncan.
There were two other sonic blue Mustangs named Sky Stang I and Sky Stang II.
Blue Mustang #1/ Sky Stang III is owned by Recordmecca and it is on indefinite loan to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHF) in Cleveland. The RRHF curator states that "the guitar is on display indefinitely near the entrance of the museum. At this time there are no plans to move it." It was given to a boy named Bobby Costello in Florida by Courtney Love in response to a letter he had written presumably to Kurt or Courtney. The boy's family sold the guitar to Recordmecca. It is rumored to have been sold to Recordmecca for approximately $17,000. Rolling Stone magazine reports that figure to be closer to the $100,000 mark.
Blue Mustang #2
Blue Mustang #2 is in a secured storage vault in Seattle, as seen in "Cobain Unseen".
All the items in the Seattle storage vault are owned by the Cobain estate (Courtney Love).
When asked by Rolling Stone where the vault was, Cross responded: "It's an undisclosed location. It literally was at an underground bomb-proof bunker that Bill Gates stored his stuff in. When I first went to visit it, it was the first time in my life my retina was ever scanned. It was like James Bond. The week Kurt died Courtney had the sense to tell someone "put all this stuff away" and it had all been boxed up and never opened. I think I was the first person to open these boxes — and I cannot tell you how freaky that was."
Blue Mustang # 2
Both of these Mustangs were modified by Earnie Bailey multiple times during the In Utero tour. The last modification in 1994 was the replacement of the bridge pickup from a DiMarzio humbucker to a Seymour Duncan Jeff Beck humbucker. The identifying factor is the fact the Duncan pickup is black. In most In Utero tour photos these guitars are seen with a white humbucker in the bridge position.
The easiest way to tell apart the two blue Mustangs apart is by the pattern of the tortoise shell on the pickguards. Blue Mustang #1 (Recordmecca/RRHF) has a yellowish spot right above the humbucker, underneath the strings. The other blue Mustang has a similar yellow spot in the tortoise shell guard, except it is to the left of the black humbucker. Also Mustang #2 has a nick on the strap side horn and sharpie marker markings on the selector switches. Mustang #1 does not.
More information on blue Mustang #1
"Kurt Cobain's custom left-handed Fender Mustang guitar, on loan to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. This guitar was custom made by Scott Zimmerman, a custom luthier who does work for Fender in Japan. Cobain played it extensively on Nirvana's "In Utero" tour, and there are many photographs and videos documenting this. Courtney Love sent this guitar to a young Nirvana fan after Kurt's death. Her letter accompanying the guitar, the fedex receipt for it's shipping, and Scott Zimmerman's email detailing the exact history of this guitar (including its serial number) make this one of the best documented artist-owned guitars ever."
Pictured here is the guitar upon arrival in it's original case at The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Above: Blue Mustang #1 at it's original display at The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
After someone stole the volume and tone knobs, the guitar was then moved to a secured display by the entrance.
Initially blue Mustang #1 was put into this display knob-less.
Bobby Costello and blue Mustang #1
Below are photographs from kurtsequipment.com of Bobby Costello after receiving the guitar from Courtney. In the case with the guitar is the Greg Sage tribute vinyl box set.
Smashed by Dave Grohl at the 1992 Reading Festival. Currently owned by The Hard Rock Cafe. Over the years this guitar has made it's rounds across different Hard Rock Cafes across the globe. It was also lent to be displayed at the Reading Museum during the 2004 Reading Festival. At one point the frame and placement within the frame were changed. The photo above is it's former frame. I personally like this old frame arrangement better because you can see ghostly remains of the guitar's structure. See links below to see it in it's current frame.
The smashed Fernandes Stratocaster has been on display at the Hard Rock in Orlando, FL, London, UK, and as of 2007 Boston, MA.
3. Video of Dave Grohl smashing guitar (@ 9:36)
Sonic Blue Custom Shop Fender Jagstang
This guitar was designed by Kurt Cobain in collaboration with Fender's Custom Shop. For a wealth of information on the background of the Jagstang visit jag-stang.com. Two prototypes were created and Kurt only had the chance to play the first one (as seen above). To check out the second red prototype click here.
After his death Courtney Love gave the guitar to Michael Stipe of REM. Michael Stipe considers the guitar to belong to REM and not him personally. Mike Mills and Peter Buck of REM used it extensively on tour in 1995 on a song written for Kurt titled "Let Me In".
Kurt's Jagstang related videos
3. Kurt talking about Jagstang to MTV (@7:12) (Link removed by YT. Waiting for replacement)
4. Another interview where Kurt talks about Jagstang (@5:00) - Kurt's face lights up when asked :)
Update: UMG keeps removing the video clips of Kurt talking about the Jagstang. Ergghh!
3 - Rape Me 2/14/94 (updated! Now in HQ)
Found others? Please post them in the comments section.
Click here to visit my Photobucket account for Kurt's different drafts of the Jagstang.
Mike @ livenirvana
Jon @ Prospect
Rough Cut/Road Movie REM video.
Two Lake Placid Blue (LPB) Competition Mustangs
Melbourne, Australia - Hard Rock Cafe
Oslo, Norway - Hard Rock Cafe
These are not the more well-known Smells Like Teen Spirit (SLTS) video Mustang but sure look similar. Furthermore the Oslo HR Mustang is right handed and autographed. Kurt was left handed and did not autograph his own guitars (at least not with his own name).
Perhaps these were fan submitted guitars or another Courtney Love - Hard Rock transaction.
Earnie Bailey, the most qualified expert on Nirvana's gear, has confirmed that neither of these guitars were ever played or owned by Kurt.
Kurt's REAL SLTS Competition Mustang is owned by a private owner and it is currently on loan to the Seattle Experience Music Project. My guess is that it's owned by a friend of the Cobain family (Mark Arm, King Buzzo, someone like that).
"The Australian Hard Rock Cafe claims they have this guitar, but Earnie Bailey says he saw a photo of the guitar they had and it was right-handed. "The photo said that it had come from Courtney. Either she or Eric had a right-handed one exactly like Kurt's, I'm not sure whose it was, but this is mostly likely that guitar." He goes on to say, "The Hard Rock Cafe does not own Kurt's competition blue Mustang. I recently worked on the real one and its present owner allowed me to photograph it in detail. Courtney gave it to him a month after Kurt's death, and it is eaxctly as I remember it, ever nick, ding, and solder joint".
I'd really like to get a copy of the photographs Earnie is talking about!
- UPDATE - GOT EM!!
I'm working on a post regarding Courtney Love's transactions with the Hard Rock. It appears that she sold the Hard Rock curators a boat load of guitars and possessions of both Hole and Nirvana. Some legit and some not. Any leads appreciated. Thanks !
Special thanks to Mike J for the Melbourne HR photo above.