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.

More Photos




  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I guess Flicker is good for a lot of things.




  2. warpaint7:11 PM

    I can't believe that kid sold the guitar.

  3. ...it's worth noting that sonic blue stangs shown here (i.e. #1 and #2) with black jb's both have the fender 'offset custom body patent' logo on the round part of the headstock where as the #3 sonic blue stang which he was only seen playing live does not, just has the 'fender' logo and nothing else. I doubt he ever played these as no pics. I've got an identical righty (customised exactly) from the exact same batch and would never part with it!...great site!!

  4. Jon DuCiel10:58 PM

    I'm going to update this entry soon.
    So much information has come up (apparently there were 5 of these shipped to Kurt, not 4).

    Since this entry is focused on two of the five stangs I think I'm going to split it up to make it easier on the eyes.

    @Chris Thank you! I've updated the entry
    @Dean Thanks man :)
    @warpaint ugh. I hope it went to a good use. I think he had medical poblems and the family used the money to help pay for it

  5. Guest6:31 AM

    ...hey no problem Jon. I'd like to find out why black JB's all of a sudden? Even at Kurts last gig it was still stag #1 on show with possibly the white Dimarzio Super Distortion...be interesting to know the back story. Also what tune o matic mods actually took place and exact model used...was it the threaded version and/or the screw head top of post adjustment and were the original stud inserts used or removed, holes dowelled and re drilled for matchingnew bridge inserts? Very interested how Earnie installed these. Cheers!! Keep up the great work...looks like I got a trip to Seattle coming up to view Kurts actual guitars!

  6. Guest4:50 PM

    ...meant stag #3 not #1 above, sorry!

  7. Guest8:15 PM

    is it a fact that it was a superdistortion before a jb?

  8. What is the color of this Mustang?

  9. After watching the Live & Loud footage it appears that the Mustang used at that show is neither of the 2 detailed above (Sky Stang III and the Cobain Unseen Mustang) as the yellow spot on the pickguard is in a slightly different position. It's not far from the position of the yellow spot on Sky Stang III but it is different.
    Would be really interested to know which Sky Stang was used at Live and Loud as that is arguably the most 'famous' use of the In Utero Mustangs.
    Great site by the way!

  10. I've uploaded a screen grab from Live and Loud where you can see clearly that the yellow mark on the Live and Loud Mustang's pickguard is between the pick-ups (unlike the Cobain Unseen Mustang) but higher up than Sky Stang III's yellow mark. It is also kind of a V-shape which again makes it different to either of the Sky Stangs accounted for.
    Check it out:

  11. Also, it appears he is using the Live and Loud Mustang during the last Nirvana show at Terminal Einze: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtFoWegCYuE
    and it still has the white humbucker so I guess Earnie never switched it to the JB on that particular guitar.
    Seems the most widely used In Utero Sky Stang is still out there somewhere and it still has it's white humbucker in, which would make it really easy to identify.

    1. Anonymous6:02 PM

      http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2012/Dec/GALLERY_Experience_Music_Project_Guitar_Collection.aspx?Page=13& check that out :) i just came across this..T:Harw3y

  12. Anonymous3:29 PM

    What I would give to own this guitar...

  13. Anonymous4:29 AM

    u all suck that skytang 3 was stolen from my bf bobby and hes gonna get it back jeff gold watch ur ass. he never signed anything. he is upset about that guitar everyday pissed too. he was just a kid 16 n his parents were loosing the house n put a guilt trip on him he said hell no! and we awoke to wheres dad and his mom responded he went to LA i tried to stop him so yeah and it was played always. its so messed up! AMBER

  14. Anonymous4:31 AM

    google skytang 3 my my space is electrocute pics on there AMBER

  15. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Kurt played a sonic blue Mustang fitted with the JB during the Inglewood show in 1993!

  16. Anonymous2:08 PM


  17. Anonymous1:20 AM

    What the Heck I thought the mustang used in Live and Loud was white?!?!

  18. Anonymous7:22 PM

    suck my kiss !

  19. Anonymous5:52 PM

    SKYSTANG NUMBER 3 FOUND :) seems to even have the super distortion pickup in it.always wondered did it get changed after last gig they played in munich...T:Harw3y

  20. Anonymous5:53 PM

    http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2012/Dec/GALLERY_Experience_Music_Project_Guitar_Collection.aspx?Page=13& forgot this :)

  21. Anonymous5:22 PM

    SKYSTANG III NEVER HAD A SUPER DISTORTION, IT WAS A WHITE JB. Ok, Ive been doing a lot of research here about this humbucker haha and realized its not a Dimarzio, its a Duncan JB SH-4. Here's a pic of a JB http://fr.euroguitar.com/images/products/137/143621-sh4-jb-big.jpg Notice how the JB has 2 extra dots to the left of the humbucker, the red things. Now heres a picture of a dimarzio super distortion https://www.google.ie/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1024&bih=653&q=white+dimarzio+super+distortiob&oq=white+dimarzio+super+distortiob&gs_l=img.3...283.6993.0.7162. which doesnt have the extra dots. Now heres a pic of Kurt playing Sky Stang III and you can see the 2 extra dots if you look closely http://cache1.asset-cache.net/xc/111170221-kurt-cobain-of-nirvana-during-mtv-live-and-filmmagic.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF87892140FEB0FF7845C57DC250B70DE5C0242CDEB0EC4569B8A99CBBE7CD0FB68CE4E5E30A760B0D811297 Also go to the Sonic Blue Fender Mustang left handed section and even Earnie Bailey, Kurt's guitar tech tells you its a white Duncan JB.

  22. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Here are some pics of sky stang III with the white duncan JB http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/hentainobaka/5626171466/

  23. Anonymous3:43 AM

    Could any of the guitars mentioned be at the museum gallery in Seattle?

  24. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Do you know where/when the picture of Sky Stang III's case was taken? The case to right of SSIII's case says Jaguar.. Hmm.

  25. Anonymous8:21 PM

    In the photobucket album linked*

  26. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Hey sympathetic dudes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't #2 the very guitar that he's playing on Nirvana's last TV appearance in Rome '94? Look closely (the black Duncan pickup, and placement on the yellow marking on the scratch-plate) from 2:35: