Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang to go on auction
Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang, from the now legendary Smells Like Teen Spirit video, is all set to go under the hammer. The Nirvana frontman famously played the Lake Placid Blue model with stripes in the video that helped propel the band to superstardom. Julien’s Auctions will now be auctioning off the guitar, with a portion of the proceeds going towards mental health charity Kicking the Stigma.
Update – 23 April, 2022
The guitar sold for a whopping $4.5 million! The new owner is Indianapolis Colts owner and CEO, Jim Irsay, an avid collector who also happens to own several other iconic instruments, including David Gilmour‘s famous Black Strat.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
It’s hard to overstate the impact of the Smells Like Teen Spirit video. Dropping at the start of the ’90s, the single completely changed the musical landscape. The ‘Seattle sound’, or grunge, ripped through the airwaves and the new decade was ushered in. In the now iconic video, that saw constant rotation on MTV, Cobain can be seen playing one of his favourite instruments: a Lake Placid Blue Fender Mustang. It was also often seen on stage during the Nevermind tour.
The instrument is now set to go on auction at Julien’s Auctions during its Music Icons event. The auction house dubs it as ““the electric guitar that changed music and the world”. A portion of the proceeds from the sale, among some other items of Cobain’s, will go towards supporting Kicking the Stigma, a mental health charity.
This isn’t the first instrument of Cobain’s to hit the auction houses. Not even the first of his Mustangs. A 1993 Fender Mustang used during the In Utero tour sold for a very respectable $340,000. But that pales in comparison to his legendary Martin D-18E, as seen on the MTV Unplugged in New York show. That guitar fetched $6,010,000 in 2020, making it the most expensive guitar ever to be sold at auction. However, Julien’s Auctions estimates that the Smells Like Teen Spirit Mustang will sell for about $800,000. Although what the final price will be before the hammer falls, we’ll have to wait and see.
Come as you are
Apart from the Fender Mustang, there is an NFT documenting the significance of the guitar. This comes with a minted narration from Cobain’s longtime tech, Earnie Bailey. Other Cobain-related items for sale include an all-access tour pass from the band’s 1992 Nevermind tour, Cobain’s schedule book from the Australian leg of the same tour, and a 1965 Dodge Dart car that he owned.
For the rest of us, who feel the auction price may be a bit steep, we’ll have to settle for the regular Fender model. Cobain also designed an instrument along with Fender, a sort of mix-up between the Jaguar and Mustang, called the Jag-Stang. Undoubtedly a fraction of what you would have to pay for the late Nirvana frontman’s iconic instrument.
Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang SNB
Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang LH SNB
Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang FR
Fender Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang LH FR
- Kurt Cobain with his Fender Mustang: YouTube
- Kurt Cobain's Fender Mustang: Julien's Auction
I’m glad a percentage of this is going to charity, I can’t think of anything Kurt would’ve wanted less than some blues lawyer putting one of this guitars in a display case to impress their friends at coke parties.
According to Music Radar, calling it Lake Placid Blue is perpetuating a common myth. It’s ‘Competition Burgundy’ 🙂
Read all about it… https://www.musicradar.com/news/kurt-cobain-fender-mustang-guitars-story-nirvana
(Please don’t diss me for using the word ‘burgundy’ if you’ve not read the feature!)