Skip to main content

Kurt Cobain's custom-built Fender Mustang is up for auction

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

Kurt Cobain's Fender Mustang is being sold at auction by Julien's Auctions. The custom-built electric guitar was played by Cobain during Nirvana's In Utero tour, and after his death in April 1994 it was given to a fan by Courtney Love.

Cobain's Mustang is being auctioned as part of Julien's Icons and Idols: Rock 'N' Roll collection, which also sees lots such as a 1988 Guild GF-60NT formerly owned by Eric Clapton and the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell's 1993 Gretsch Duo Jet. And hygiene be damned; there are even a couple of Bob Dylan's old harmonicas on there too.

The Mustang was built by Scott Zimmerman of Japanese guitar manufacturer FujiGen, who held the Fender Japan contract from circa 1981 to 1997. Fender reached out to Zimmerman in 1993 because the Fender Custom Shop was not equipped to build left-handed Mustangs.

Image 1 of 4

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)
Image 2 of 4

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)
Image 3 of 4

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)
Image 4 of 4

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

The Mustang was among 10 ordered by Fender, with six in Fiesta Red and "Sky Blue" finishes being sent to Cobain before his death. It was shipped along with another Mustang on 22 October 1993, and those are the only two to have the "Offset Contour Body Patented" decal on the headstock. This Mustang was later modified by Cobain's guitar tech, who affixed a Gotoh tune-o-matic bridge and installed a Seymour Duncan JB-1 humbucker in the bridge position.

The label on the case indicates the guitar was called the Skystang III, and the guitar comes with the case and a letter from Courtney Love to a fan, plus FedEx receipts and other ephemera as proof of authenticity.

Bidding is presently at $75,000, with one bid accepted. Julien's Auctions expect it to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 when the auction closes on 25 October. 

See Julien's Auctions for more details on the guitar and to view the other items in the catalogue.

Stay up to date with the latest gear and tuition.
Subscribe and save today!