SLTS Fender Competition Mustang

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!

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Brief mentioning of a neck repair for Mustang

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.

Kurt's Guitars News for 2010

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
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 :)

Fender Mustang - In Utero Tour

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.

5/12/09 Update
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.

10/7/09 Update
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.

Knob Incident on blue Mustang #1

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.

A more recent photo shows the guitar with new replacement knobs.

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.

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