Kurt Cobain: His broken guitar from Nirvana's first tour sold for 0,000


November 18, 2022

Kurt Cobain used the guitar at two concerts on Nirvana's first US tour in 1989.

A 1973 Fender Mustang guitar that Kurt Cobain smashed on stage during Nirvana's first tour in 1989 has sold at auction for nearly $500,000.

The winning bid of $486,400 far surpassed the original estimate of $200,000 at Julien's Auctions' "Icons and Idols: Rock 'N' Roll" auction over the weekend.

The public auction at New York's Hard Rock Cafe saw a wealth of unique memorabilia from the rock scene go under the hammer.

Kurt Cobain's broken guitar stole the show, after the final offer for its purchase reached half a million dollars.

Kurt Cobain used the Mustang for two shows on Nirvana's first US tour in 1989: one on July 8 at Club Dreamerz in Chicago and the next night at the Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, where he smashed the guitar, as he often did at the end of the Nirvana concerts.

After the concert in Wilkinsburg, Nirvana stayed at the apartment of Sluggo Cawley of the band Hullabaloo.

Then Kurt Cobain noticed Sluggo's similarly broken Gibson SG. Believing he could repair the SG enough to break it again, Cobain offered to trade in his Mustang, an offer Sluggo wisely accepted.

Kurt even scribbled on the body of the guitar in pen: “Yo Sluggo, thanks for the trade! IF it's illegal to rock put me in jail…NIRVANA”.

He also painted two flowers along the upper right part of the pickguard before the band moved on to their next gig.

Sluggo Cawley recalled the encounter in a 2020 interview with Innocent Words, describing: “Kurt asked me if he could take the broken Gibson SG I had hanging on my wall. So I told him: "Sure, but now I won't have one for my wall." Kurt replied: "I'll be right back."

“He went to their van and presented me with a 1973 Fender Mustang that he thought was beyond repair. As a parody of guitar hero worship, I asked him to sign it for me," he added.

The Fender Mustang was previously exhibited at the Experience Music Project in Seattle from 2007 to 2008.