Kurt Cobain’s smashed 1973 Fender Mustang from first Nirvana tour sells for nearly $500,000 

It sold for more than double than the original estimate.

Kurt Cobain’s 1973 Fender Mustang that he smashed on stage during the first Nirvana tour has sold for close to $500,000 at auction.

Cobain played the Mustang at two shows during Nirvana’s US tour in 1989: At Club Dreamerz in Chicago on 8 July and a 9 July show at Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania.

He broke the sunburst offset at the end of the latter gig and its remains were swapped for a Gibson SG. It went on auction at New York City’s Hard Rock Cafe on Friday (11 November), and sold for $486,400 (£413,926) more than double the original estimate of $200,000.

The guitar is taped together and signed by the frontman himself. As Consequence reports, Cobain spotted Sluggo Cawley’s (of Hullabaloo) similarly smashed Gibson SG after crashing with the band after the gig. Thinking that he could repair the SG enough to smash it again, Cobain proposed a trade for his Mustang, an offer Sluggo accepted.

As a result of this, the Mustang is now sprawled in Sharpie which reads, “Yo Sluggo, Thank for the Trade! IF its illegal to Rock and Roll, throw my ASS in JAiL … NIRVANA.”

A 1980’s Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal inscribed by Cobain has also been sold via the same auctioneer’s:

Guitarists such as John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Herman Li of Dragonforce have both regarded Kurt Cobain of one the guitar greats for his hap-hazardly artistic way of playing.

Li said earlier this year, “A lot of people ask me all the time, who do I think is the best guitar player in the world. And I come up with different answers all the time. I say, ‘Well, Kurt Cobain is one of the best guitar players in the world’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, my god, what are you talking about? I thought you knew something, Herman!’ – He inspired millions of people to play the guitar.”

Related Artists

Related Brands


The destination for all things guitar.

© 2023 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.