An Exclusive Look at Kurt Cobain’s Fender Guitars

Twenty years after its release, third and final Nirvana studio album In Utero still casts a long shadow over the rock ‘n’ roll landscape. The 1993 recording is often pegged as a symbol of stripped-down simplicity, dark artistic vision and frontman Kurt Cobain’s noted disenchantment with commercial success.

During the 1993-1994 In Utero tour, Cobain favored a quiver of modified Mustang® guitars as his main instruments. Fender surveyed these historically significant guitars in the late 2000s, meticulously noting specifications for authentic artist-model recreations including 2012’s Kurt Cobain Mustang guitar. Doing so meant uncovering a music history time capsule that had been out of the public eye for nearly two decades.

“When we undertake a signature model we try to get as much detail as possible, and the original guitars are the best source,” said Fender’s Justin Norvell, who, along with Fender master builder Alex Perez, was given access to Cobain’s guitars.

The Kurt Cobain Mustang guitar reflects much of this diligent research, from its trimmed switch tips to its Adjusto-Matic™ bridge. Norvell and Perez were also granted the rare opportunity to lightly dismantle the original guitars and ascertain wiring schemes and pickup configurations, including the Mustang’s angled neck pickup and Seymour Duncan® JB humbucking bridge pickup mounted directly into the body of the guitar—just as Cobain had left them.


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