"It brings back so many memories" – Nirvana tech Earnie Bailey and Kurt Cobain's brother discuss and demo his Sky-Stang I guitar

Earnie Bailey holding Kurt Cobain's Sky-Stang I Fender Mustang
(Image credit: Julien's Auctions / YouTube)

The 'Sky-Stang I' Japanese HS Fender Mustang Kurt Cobain used extensively on Nirvana's final tour is going up for bidding in November at Julien's Auctions in Nashville, and its current owner – Kurt's half-brother Chad Cobain – sat down with Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Bailey to talk about the guitar in the clip below. Earnie even uses it for a quick play of Serve The Servants.

Cobain used three 1993 Sky-Stangs that were made at Fender's FujiGen factory but the Sky-Stang I was the most extensively used, identified by the white bobbins on its humbucker, while the other two's Seymour Duncan JBs were black. The red tort pickguard also has a distinct yellow V-shape in its pattern.

"I remember when I first saw that, thinking, how did that get past quality control?" notes Earnie as he's reunited with the guitar again in his hands. "Now it's my favourite thing about it."

Kurt Cobain Mustang

(Image credit: Experience Music Project)
More Mustangs

Kurt Cobain onstage in Seattle, 1993

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

The story of Kurt Cobain's Fender Mustang guitars in Nirvana

Earnie also noted how he'd bolt the Mustang tremolo bar down as Cobain didn't use it. Something he was kind enough to illustrate in more detail for us in our in-depth feature on the story of Kurt Cobain's Mustangs

The Sky-Stang I was used by Cobain for 53 of the 63 shows Nirvana played on the In Utero tour. It will go up for auction alongside another famous guitar, Eric Clapton's Fool SG, and has an estimate of $1,000,000 – $2,000,000.

Cobain's Competition Stripe Mustang he used in Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video set a world record for guitar value earlier in 2023 when it sold for $3,975,000.

You can also find out about Nirvana fan Eric of YouTube channel NirvanaGuitars and his incredible experience with the Sky-Stang I in the video above.

The bidding for the guitars takes place at Julien's Auctions in Nashville between 16-18 November at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square New York between  6-11 November and Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville 13-17 November. 

More info at Julien's Auctions

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.