We're compiling the best Holiday 2016 music gear deals. See them here.
This image shows Kurt Cobain playing a modified Fender Mustang electric guit... more
This image shows Kurt Cobain playing a modified Fender Mustang electric guitar. It appears to have no pickguard, and a humbucker (or P90) in the bridge position.
Fender's Kurt Cobain signature is based off the modified Mustangs he used on ... more
Fender's Kurt Cobain signature is based off the modified Mustangs he used on the In Utero tour.
Guitar used for the video for Heart-Shaped Box. more
Guitar used for the video for Heart-Shaped Box.
Framos Jaguar copy which was used as a prop in an "Alternative Guitar" magazi... more
Framos Jaguar copy which was used as a prop in an "Alternative Guitar" magazine cover. Probably from 1992 and also probably just a prop guitar (41). Another picture.
Kurt used a left-handed Jaguar he acquired in 1991, which is the basis of his... more
Kurt used a left-handed Jaguar he acquired in 1991, which is the basis of his signature road-worn artist model with Fender.
When Kurt Cobain hit the stage, it was very often with a Mustang guitar—an en... more
When Kurt Cobain hit the stage, it was very often with a Mustang guitar—an enigmatic anti-hero figure with an esoteric anti-hero instrument. It's with great pride then that Fender introduces the Kurt Cobain Mustang guitar, which evokes the man, the band, the sound and the times, and gives an authentically crafted nod to one of the most unlikely guitars to ever find itself at the center of a musical maelstrom.
Kurt Cobain liked Mustang guitars a lot. For one, he preferred offbeat guitars that didn't cost zillions of dollars, and the Mustang certainly fit those two criteria. Also, being somewhat physically diminutive himself, he liked to perform live with slightly more diminutive guitars, like the Mustang and Jaguar® guitar, which better fit his hands and his reach.
Inspired by his arsenal of modded guitars, the Kurt Cobain Mustang guitar takes you back there, with highly distinctive features including an angled single-coil Mustang neck pickup and ferocious Seymour Duncan JB humbucking bridge pickup mounted directly to the body, dual on-off/phase in-out switches for each pickup, a polyester-finished alder body and an Adjusto-Matic bridge with dynamic vibrato tailpiece.
Cobain used a C.F. Martin & Company D-18E acoustic guitar, as see in this pho... more
Cobain used a C.F. Martin & Company D-18E acoustic guitar, as see in this photo of Kurt performing live. This information is originally sourced from the official Martin website's "Famous Martin Owners" section.
Cobain useded this guitar for several songs, including "Smells Like Teen Spi... more
Cobain useded this guitar for several songs, including "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
In this picture, you can see Kurt Cobain using a left-handed white Fender Str... more
In this picture, you can see Kurt Cobain using a left-handed white Fender Stratocaster with a rosewood fretboard and a modified bridge pickup.
As seen throughout in the now legendary music video for "Smells Like Teen Spi... more
As seen throughout in the now legendary music video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Kurt Cobain brandishes his left-handed Fender Mustang Dark Lake Placid Blue with Stripe.
In an interview with GuitarWorld, when asked why he favors low-end models of guitars, Cobain replied: "I don’t favor them — I can afford them. [laughs] I’m left-handed, and it’s not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars. But out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite. I’ve only owned two of them."
He added, "They’re cheap and totally inefficient, and they sound like crap and are very small. They also don’t stay in tune, and when you want to raise the string action on the fretboard, you have to loosen all the strings and completely remove the bridge. You have to turn these little screws with your fingers and hope that you’ve estimated it right. If you screw up, you have to repeat the process over and over until you get it right. Whoever invented that guitar was a dork."
Here is a still image of Cobain holding the Fender Mustang.
In 2012 Fender announced a selection of Kurt Cobain Signature Mustang guitars.
This guitar was acquired by Kurt in either the late '80s or early '90s. He go... more
This guitar was acquired by Kurt in either the late '80s or early '90s. He got the sticker from another band called The Feederz. He performed on-stage with this guitar many times and it was smashed at the end of Nirvana's 1991 concert at the Paramount.
Kurt used his Epiphone early on with Nirvana, during the “Bleach” era. He sma... more
Kurt used his Epiphone early on with Nirvana, during the “Bleach” era. He smashed his ET-270 at the Pyramid Club in New York. More details can be seen here.
This is a guitar would sometimes be used by Kurt Cobain. more
This is a guitar would sometimes be used by Kurt Cobain.
Kurt mostly used these before Nevermind, but continued to use these, because ... more
Kurt mostly used these before Nevermind, but continued to use these, because they were cheap.
This Telecaster was wielded by Kurt during the Nevermind tour. It was actuall... more
This Telecaster was wielded by Kurt during the Nevermind tour. It was actually a 3-tone sunburst guitar, but it was painted blue with latex house paint. Kurt scraped hearts and "Courtney" into the blue paint. This guitar was unmodified. It was smashed at the Hollywood Rock Festival in Rio De Janeiro on January 16th, 1993. The neck found its way into the hands of Recordmecca, after being picked up by Louie Mattieu of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were co-headlining the event.
This acoustic guitar was used for the recording of the song "Polly" on Neverm... more
This acoustic guitar was used for the recording of the song "Polly" on Nevermind. When told in a Guitar World interview that the acoustic guitar he played in the song sounded a little flat, Cobain replied "That’s a 20-dollar junk shop Stella — I didn’t bother changing the strings. [laughs] It barely stays in tune. In fact I have to use duct tape to hold the tuning keys in place." It has also been rumored that the Stella only had 5 strings on it at the time of the recording. It is believed that this guitar was also used on the recording of "Something in the Way".
Jeff Owens writes in an [article](http://www2.fender.com/experience/guitarchi... more
Jeff Owens writes in an article published by Fender, "The Jag-Stang was designed by Kurt Cobain, and the design process was rather simple - he took Polaroids of half of a Jaguar and half of a Mustang, and taped them together. After making a few small drawn modifications and notes, the design was sent to Fender Custom Shop master builder Larry Brooks. The Jag-Stang wasn't used very often while Kurt had it, not only due to some glitches that still needed to be worked out, but also the fact that Kurt got the Sonic Blue one not too long before he died. Fender released the Jag-Stang to the public in both Sonic Blue and Fiesta Red in 1995-1996. It was reissued in 2005-2006."
In this photo Kurt Cobain can be seen playing his custom painted Fender Telec... more
In this photo Kurt Cobain can be seen playing his custom painted Fender Telecaster.
In this image, Kurt Cobain is holding his Blue Gibson SG. more
In this image, Kurt Cobain is holding his Blue Gibson SG.
In this image Kurt can be seen playing a Epiphone FT 79 Texan with a "Nixon N... more
In this image Kurt can be seen playing a Epiphone FT 79 Texan with a "Nixon Now" sticker.
This is one of the first guitar Kurt ever bought. Looking at these photos – w... more
This is one of the first guitar Kurt ever bought. Looking at these photos – which as far as we know don’t have an official dating, we see Kurt playing a Univox guitar. But, since we don’t have a clear date on the pictures were taken, let’s try and figure it out.
On further inspection of those photos we see a couple of concert flyers on the wall behind Kurt; there’s one of the band Dr.Know who played at Downtown Tacoma (around 2 hours drive from Kurt’s place) on September 27th 1986, and another one of Meat Puppets and Black Flag. We also know that the picture was taken at his house in Aberdeen, WA, but not in his actual room but in the hallway connecting the rooms on the top floor (see Tour of Kurt Cobain’s Childhood Home). Kurt lived in that house from 1983 to 1984 when he was kicked out by his mom for dropping out of highschool. He then went on to live with his friends until September 1986 when his mom loaned him money to move into another house with Matt Lukin from the band Melvins.
So it is almost sure that the photo of Kurt holding a Univox Hi-Flier was taken in late September 1986, in a room which was most likely set up as a temporary place for Kurt to sleep before he moved on.
Now to the actual guitar,
Kurt’s Univox was a model called Hi-Flier, and it was most likely manufactured sometime between 1974 and 1977. Main guide in determining these dates are the two humbuckers on the guitar which didn’t appear on this model until 1974, and it’s white pickguard which was replaced with a black one on sunburst models in 1977. It was basically a cheap alternative to the Mosrite Ventures model, a guitar Kurt used later on in his career.
Kurt played this guitar presumably from mid 80s to around 1988 on all of the early Nirvana gigs in 1987. He painted the pickguard pink, and had a ton of stickers on the body. He then ended up smashing it at Washington’s Evergreen State College in October 1988. This is assumed to be the first time he ever destroyed a guitar on stage.
In this photo, Cobain is playing Hagstrom II. more
In this photo, Cobain is playing Hagstrom II.
Kurt Cobain's Martin D-18 is found at the Martin Factory in Nazareth, PA. Th... more
Kurt Cobain's Martin D-18 is found at the Martin Factory in Nazareth, PA. The plaque located under the guitar reads, "This well-worn D-18 was coined "Grandpa" by Cobain himself, and was gifted to the rocker by then girlfriend Mary Lou Lord in 1991. The guitar was was used by Cobain by while on tour for Nirvana's second and most notable album, "Nevermind". Here's a pic of the guitar as well. https://instagram.com/p/6fYMQonc5r/?taken-by=inwaltwetrust
Kurt Cobain in this picture is playing a Fender Black Stratocaster.In 1993, p... more
Kurt Cobain in this picture is playing a Fender Black Stratocaster.In 1993, people say that Kurt had half a dozen black and white Stratocasters to break. He also modified his pickups to Seymour Duncans. In this photo, he is using a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup.
Had a bolt-on neck. Also smashed at the Motor Sports show. It has been also l... more
Had a bolt-on neck. Also smashed at the Motor Sports show. It has been also labeled as a Miscellaneous Guitar.
Had a bolt-on neck. Also smashed at the Motor Sports show more
Had a bolt-on neck. Also smashed at the Motor Sports show
In this image kurt cobain wears a converse one star, as he was a big fan of converse shoes and sneakers that he wore them alot.
This is technically correct, but we're going to try to scale back on submitting non-music stuff to artists on Equipboard.
This guitar was custom built by Danny Ferrington, who met with the band backstage during the SNL gig in January 1992. He kept in touch with Kurt while the band went on tour Australia, and he was sent drawings from Kurt via fax on how he imagined this guitar to look like.
The Ferrington guitar is modeled after a Fender Mustang for the most part, but features few important differences. It holds three pickups compared to Mustang’s two. The bridge pickup is a humbucker, while the neck and middle pickups are single coils, with the middle one being angled. They are supposedly made by a company called Bartolini, and the humbucker had a coil split – giving Kurt more control over the tone. The guitar was also fitted with Gotoh Tune-O-Matic bridge and tuners.
Although it is very hard to actually see the guitar just from the video recording of the show, it appears that Kurt did play the guitar live at least once in Dublin at Point Depot on June 21, 1992. The cable does seem to come out at an angle when compared to Mustang models, and Kurt’s didn’t really have a similarly looking Mustang around that time as far as we know.
But even if that was the case, that was the only show he ever used the Ferrington. He supposedly said that the guitar was going to be his main recording instrument, but he was also allegedly little unhappy with it and didn’t used it much.
GearIQ is a way to recognize people making contributions to Equipboard by commenting, spotting things the pros are using, and adding photos of their gear setups. For ways to gain GearIQ, check out our help page.