Nirvana : Kurt Cobain's Left Handed Guitars

Front man of Nirvana Kurt Cobain is one of the greatest guitarist's of all time, not for his Van Halen shredding or Jimi Hendrix melodic mastery but for his irresistible catchy riffs. He was the master of the power chord and gave anyone who was a beginner guitarist the opportunity to sound like a rock god with 3 note power chords. Kurt was a pretty faithful Fender guitar player very rarely ever playing another guitar. Fender do everything you want them to and don't have a distinctive sound, limiting your variety in your overall sound. If you play a riff on a PRS you can instantly hear Santana. Fender's are versatile, Fender's will do anything you ask of them. Kurt's intro in to playing guitar doesn't go like most kids story, like getting one for Christmas or your birthday, Kurt's Mother threw some guns in to a River close to his home, he fished them out and sold them to buy a guitar and amp. With a story like that to tell on how you got your first guitar you're destined to become a grunge legend.

When you knew the destruction was about to start. Kurt's guitars above cost a pretty penny so they were hardly ever thrown in to Dave's drum kit. When it was time for some stage demolition Kurt would play the last couple of songs with a base level Fender Stratocaster and it would get severely battered, Demonstrated below.

In the early days of Nirvana and the Bleach album you would often see Kurt playing a right handed Mosrite guitar upside down. This was a 60's guitar and was rare even then. It was an unusual shape and not your usual guitar to be playing the 80's. However this was one of Kurt's favourite guitars and was saved from being obliterated in to a Marshall stack. We'll come on to what those were a bit later.

When the Nevermind album broke out Kurt could pretty much have any guitar he wanted. He chose a black Fender Startocaster with black scratch plate this made it very distinctive. This was a proper left handed Fender not a turned up right handed model which Hendrix had to play. He also change the bride pick up from a single coil to a humbucker, giving it a dirty raunchy sound. He also wore this with a White Ernie Ball Guitar Strap something I've always wanted to get hold of. What makes this guitar, is the sticker that was put on it, which had to be gaffer taped over many times for tv performance's. The funny thing is that its positioning meant that you couldn't read it. It says "Vandalism is as beautiful as a rock in a cop's face".

If you want the pure lithuim sound then you'll need one of these. The guitar you would often see Kurt playing lithuim live with is a Fender Sunburst Jaguar modified with Seymor Duncan Humbucker's and the pick up switch duck taped up so it couldn't knocked. This is my personal favourite. When you see this guitar you instantly think of Nirvana.

If there was a way to let a guitarsit know that they will be enscribed on the rock n roll hall of fame for eternity it would be having a signature guitar made for them. Kurt Cobain was approached by fender to build his own Fender guitar. He drew himself the fender Jagstang, his on personal creation of the best elements of his guitars he loved most and it was finished in a eye catching Sonic Blue colour. It strongly resembles a Fender Mustang which is what Kurt often played nearer the end of Nirvana.

 When you knew the destruction was about to start. Kurt's guitars above cost a pretty penny so they were hardly ever thrown in to Dave's drum kit. When it was time for some stage demolition Kurt would play the last couple of songs with a base level Fender Stratocaster and it would get severely battered, Demonstrated below.

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Comments 3 comments

manthy profile image

manthy 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

Cool Hub - I agree with you Kurt was def a gr8 guitarist and he never got the credit he deserved for that. I'm a guitarist myself and I can't stand shredding just for showing off, I'll take the catchy melody anytime.

Gr8 Hub


JP993 profile image

JP993 5 years ago from England Author

A 5 note melodic riff is much harder to achieve than a 5000 note shred. Im a guitarist too :) need to buy a new axe.


Brandt Hardin 5 years ago

Kurt Cobain changed my life with his music- I only wished he could have stuck around to make more. I paid homage to him on the anniversary of his death with my portrait of the grunge legend on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-memo...

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