Kurt Cobain Smashed and Signed Guitar Sells for $486k

I need to find the list of music memorabilia sales by dollar amount. I wonder where this guitar would rank. The sales price of $486,400 makes me curious how many of these Kurt Cobain smashed guitars are out there. For a while he was probably smashing a guitar at every show. Most have probably been lost to history at this point. And a lot of those that remain may have a questionable provenance. 

In a weird way the destruction of the guitar actually preserves the history of it. When Kurt Cobain smashed this guitar he became the last person to ever play it. Sure, it would be really neat to play on one of Kurt Cobain’s guitars. But it’s cooler this way. It’s not a guitar that 200 other people have plucked the strings on over the past 33 years. That makes the history feel more recent, more real.

This particular guitar has a cool backstory that leaves me just wanting to know more. The guitar is a 1973 Fender Mustang that was played twice on Nirvana’s debut US tour. This guitar was played July 8th, 1989 at Club Dreamerz in Chicago. Then again the next day at Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, which is where Cobain smashed the guitar during the shows finale. The guitar was then taped back together.

A few days later, Nirvana was staying at the apartment of Sluggo Cawley of the band Hullabaloo. Cobain noticed a smashed Gibson guitar and the wall. Cobain thought it looked repairable enough to be smashed again and asked Cawley if he could have. Cawley said sure but then I wont have one for my wall. Kurt then went to the van and grabbed this smashed Fender and gave it to Cawley. Cawley then jokingly asked Cobain to sign the guitar. Cobain signed the guitar with “Yo Sluggo / Thank for the trade/ If its illegal to Rock and Roll, then throw my ass in jail/ Nirvana.”

Such a cool story. I wonder how many guitars Cobain smashed and how many were repairable enough to be smashed a second time. And how did a 1973 Fender get to Kurt Cobain in 1989 in the first place.

For more info on this awesome guitar, check out the auction info page at Julien’s Auctions.

That’s it for now.

Stay Rad. 😎