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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.
The source and notes on this submission are correct.
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