“Kurt took the guitar and carved the word ‘SICK’ at the bottom of it”: a Teisco signed by Kurt Cobain is going under the hammer

Cobain signed the guitar two years before he joined Nirvana.


Teisco signed by Kurt Cobain. Credit: GWS Auctions

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A Teisco Del Ray EV-2T that was signed by Kurt Cobain two years before he joined Nirvana is going under the hammer.

The guitar is part of GWS Auctions’ forthcoming Artifacts of Hollywood and Music, becoming the latest guitar to have passed through the late Nirvana frontman’s hands to go up for auction. Considering that Cobain didn’t actually own the guitar, it is not expected to sell for as much as, say, his 1966 Fender Jaguar or the blue Mustang he played in the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit.

However, he did carve the word ‘SICK’ into the guitar’s body and signed the rear, and such alterations can net an item a higher going price at auction.

Kurt Cobain Teisco SICK guitar
Credit: GWS Auctions

The guitar was originally owned by Johnny Cooper, who said: “[I] did a lot of jamming with Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana,” he said. “We spent a big part of the younger years on the road up and down the West Coast doing what we loved, playing music. This Teisco Del Ray EV-2T in Lake Placid blue was used and played and signed by Kurt Cobain.

“In 1985 while Kurt stayed at my apartment here in Olympia WA. Kurt took the guitar and carved the word ‘SICK’ at the bottom of it and then after that I had Kurt sign it on the back. There are some nicks on the guitar and one string missing.”

The Teisco Del Ray EV-2T has been reappraised by guitarists in recent years and has become increasingly sought after, despite being produced as a $50 catalog guitar in the late 1960s.

This particular Teisco carries a minimum bid of $10,000.

In 2020, the iconic Martin-D18E that Cobain played during Nirvana’s famed MTV Unplugged session went under the hammer for just over $6 million, making it the most expensive guitar ever sold.

To learn more, head to GWS Auctions.

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