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The Jagstang had Kurt’s direct input; his Competition Mustang featured in the Smells Like Teen Spirit video; and the Vandalism black Strat was the most punk. But as far as desirability goes, Kurt Cobain’s ’65 Jaguar comes top of the heap.
The story goes that around the time of the 1991 Nevermind sessions, Cobain bought his Jag from a classified ad in the LA Recycler. The identity of the seller is unknown, but the guitar came in a roadworthy Anvil tour case, with a plethora of mods carried out by the previous owner.
The curiosities start with the ‘Spaghetti’ Fender logo (out of use by 1965), Strat-sized headstock and small Jaguar lettering, which, according to Fender, are freak original features, maybe due to a shortage in left-handed necks, rather than modifications.
Next up are the DiMarzio Humbuckers: a PAF in the neck and Super Distortion in the bridge. The Jaguar slide-switches were swapped for a three-position toggle (mounted to the horn), and the bridge was replaced by a black chrome Gotoh model.
Fender’s replica includes all of this, but the beauty of the guitar is brought out by the finish. Cobain’s Jag had undergone its share of abuse over the years – it had a melon smashed into it, was slammed into the ground, and was even used as a weapon against security at the Trees Club in Texas.
The age of the guitar and the punishment it underwent meant that the red colour of the Three-Tone Burst finish had faded. Fender has matched the tone of the paintwork, and authentically relic’d the guitar with dings and a patina that could fool even the most well-trained eyes.
With a full-whack price tag of around £1,300, it’s a stretch to call this a budget model, but with street prices just tipping a grand, and given the fact that a real 65 Jag would cost you a lot more than this, we’re allowing it into our list.