1960's Mosrite Gospel

Kurt bought this guitar from Chris Cobb of Real Guitars in San Francisco, CA. It is one of only two known 1960's Mark IV Gospels. The other is owned by Mosrite founder's daughter Michelle Moseley. A small number of these were reissued in Japan and usually sell on ebay for around $1000.

This is perhaps the most auctioned off Cobain guitar to date. The initial auction estimate was $75,000. It was initially auctioned on April 27, 2004 at the Dallas Guitar Show by Odyssey/Heritage Auctions. At the 2004 auction the closing price was $117,500. The second auction ended on April 14, 2006. The closing price was $131,450.

From the Press Release

"This instrument is unusual in a couple of ways. It is the only known example of a Mark IV style Mosrite Gospel model. While Kurt owned and smashed many cheap (usually Univox) copies of Mosrite guitars during his career, this was one of only two actual Mosrites he owned. (The other was damaged and given away.) It was also one of his favorite guitars, which saved it from the usual fate of the instruments he used for live performances. Kurt purchased the guitar in San Francisco in 1990. "According to Earnie [Bailey], 'Kurt had only one Gospel, and this is a beyond rare guitar. At the time Kurt died, I was secretly working with Loretta Mosley to build Kurt a lefty Gospel... in some cool color.' Unfortunately, Kurt passed away as Earnie was gathering photos to send to Mosrite of Kurt's original. 'Loretta sent me a nice letter after it ended, as she had recently lost Semie (husband, founder of Mosrite) and was now running Mosrite on her own... she had sent me some sales literature of another Gospel, but could find no history of ever having made one based on the Mark IV guitar.'" (Quote reprinted from www.kurtsequipment.com.) Kurt had painted the very small Mosrite dot markers with white-out to make them more visible in a live setting. Although the current owner removed this simple modification, residue is still visible on the instrument. This is a factory right handed instrument, so it was modified for Kurt with a strap button added to the treble side horn, and the original metal string guide has been flipped to allow it to be strung left handed. The original case bears the words 'NIRVANA' and 'Fuck Elvis' in white paint which, while painted over with the same white paint, are still visible on inspection. Est. 250,000-up."

Video of Kurt rehearsing with the Gospel.

Download high-resolution photographs here.


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM


    Elliot Easton - 3 or more mosrites (from Ventures influence)

    Nirvana covers Cars songs...sonic/ramones maybe too

    There are some connections between what famous lefty players in the past played and what he chose to play.

    ps - he probably got that gospel for cheap because it didn't have ventures or mosrite splashed on the headstock, just the bridge I guess...maybe a lot of people overlooked it at first

  2. it is American or Japanese gospel?

  3. On The Steel Guitar Forum a guy named Fred Bova back in 2006 told this story:

    "Yep, well,... I've had a few good finds in pawn shops,I can't complain, but this is the story I tell the most.
    In a very small pawn shop in LA I bought a six string Mosrite Gospel with case. The case was stenciled NERVANA and under some black tape it said "F**K ELVIS". It was a right handed guitar that was strung up left handed, the Bigsby spring had been removed and replaced with a wood screw, and there were white globs of paint on the fretboard to act as fret markers. I paid $ 125.00 for it. Well, I knew who NERVANA were, they were just starting to get a buzz. I was not surprized to find it in a Pawn Shop as I had heard he was a junky. Anyway, I got parts from Mosely, set it up and played it a bit, nice but not my favorite style Mosrite. Then a good friend of mine asked if I would sell it to him as he wanted to give it to a good friend of his as a gift. I sold it for $ 150.., what I had into it. He GAVE it away, to his friend. His friend passed away a little while ago and the family asked for info documenting where I bought it, condition I found it in, etc. Turns out this was the guitar that Kurt Cobain used on all his early stuff. Again, I knew it was his, but who knew he would be the John Lennon of his generation and would commit suicide with a shotgun in his peak. Oh, and the guitar was a rare Mosrite, maybe the only Gospel model made with a type 4 body. They sent me a check for $ 500.00 for my help after it sold in an Auction. It sold for the minimum asking price, to the only bidder. for $ 117,000.00

    Oh well, you can't keep everything, and I did make a profit on it, just a wee bit smaller then if I had kept it.

    Fred "


  4. Anonymous6:52 AM

    'let me just wipe off those pesky dots that KURT COBAIN painted on this guitar"... Idiotic.

    1. Anonymous7:36 AM

      Semie Jr.
      Always know the difference between dad's original and ALL knock - off's.
      First, just check the transition from the neck to the body. All original Mosrites' necks -to-body are seemless. Secondly, take a VERY good look at the back of the head.... you will find some sort of dad's beautiful mark. If still having trouble look for serial #. Usually back of bottom of neck stock: however on certain axe's he would put # in between neckstock and body therefore u will need to very carefully undo the neck from the body. All true serial #'s will contain the letters c a .... they stand for California. Mosrite of California

      Any questions feel free to e-mail me @ tnusbuf1@yahoo.com
      Best Regards and let us never forget why dad built those bitchi'n guitars.

  5. Mosrite Guitars were originally a Sears Guitar