YouTuber modifies a $140 version of the $4.5 million Kurt Cobain Mustang – here’s how it sounds

Maybe the label on the headstock isn’t quite so important…

YouTuber David Hilowitz modified Squier Bullet inspired by Kurt Cobain

Image: DavidHilowitzMusic/YouTube

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A guitarist has modified a Squier version of the world’s priciest guitar and taught us an interesting lesson about gear snobbery in the process.

The footage, shared on YouTube last week (18 February), shows guitarist David Hilowitz enhancing his $140 guitar, making it sound closer to the extortionately-priced model that it was based.

The model in question is a Sq uier Bullet version of the Kurt Cobain-owned Fender Mustang – the Competition Stripe model most famously seen in Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit music video.

Just last year, the Cobain model was given the title of the world’s most expensive guitar after selling for the record-breaking price of $4.5 million at auction.

In the video – which comes in at just over ten minutes long – Hilowitz shows how he makes the Squier both feel and sound closer to the original model with a series of pretty straightforward adjustments. Even better, the timelapse shows us how we can make these enhancements to our own similar instruments.

First, the guitarist removes the strings and neck from the model and adds additional layers of varnish using a True Oil finish.

From there, Hilowitz unscrews the pickguard and carefully lifts the electronics out of the body. This, he explains, is so he can not only replace the pre-installed pickguards, but also line the inside of the guitar cavity with copper foil – overcoming the issue of unwanted electrical interference.

With a minimal amount of soldering, two Seymour Duncan pickups replace the pre-existing models. For this, the YouTuber opts for a JB model in the bridge position and a Quarter Pounder in the neck pickup. Here, he explains that he chose the latter due to its ability to capture great clean tones and provide a high output that works well with distortion.

All in all, the end product does sound noticeably different compared to before – which isn’t bad to say it took Hilowitz less than five hours to complete and cost a fraction of a Fender alternative.

“In the process, I’ve hopefully learned not to be such a gear snob,” the YouTuber says at the end of the video. “It plays well, it sounds great, it looks really nice – and it says Squier on the headstock!”

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