Kurt Cobain’s Guitars and Gear
Kurt started first started playing on a Univox Hi-Flier guitar – which is a cheap replica of the more expensive Mosrite Gospel model. He played a few of these Hi-Fliers in his early days, including a sunburst model decorated with stickers, and a white one, given to him by his girlfriend at the time, Tracy. The Bleach-era was also filled with various half-working guitars, such as the blue Gibson SG, pieced together by Kurt himself, and a Greco Mustang, which went through at least two different reincarnations.
By the time Nevermind was out, Kurt was mostly playing Stratocasters, the most notable of which was a black model, decorated with a sticker reading “Vandalism”. For the album tour, he played a 1965 Fender Jaguar – which is the guitar that most people associate Kurt with. Around that same time, he also acquired a 1969 Fender Competition Mustang, which he used most famously during the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video.
In Utero era was mostly marked by four different Fender Mustangs, three of which were blue, and one of which was red. All of these Mustangs were customized to Kurt’s own liking. The body on each was routed out to fit a full-sized humbucker in the bridge position – more precisely a Seymour Duncan JB, and the stock bridge piece was replaced with a Gotoh Tune-O-Matic.
As far as acoustic guitars, Kurt’s best-known guitar is a 1950s Martin D-18E which he played during the Unplugged on MTV concert. Also, worth mentioning is the Harmony Stella 12-string, which Kurt played on “Something in the Way”, and a 1961 Epiphone Texan that styled a “Nixon Now” sticker on the top of the body.
Regarding effects, Kurt used a Boss DS-1 and DS-2 distortion pedals, the latter of which replaced the former around the time of Nevermind release. He also used an EHX Small Clone Chorus pedal on a number of Nirvana’s hits, including “Come as You Are”, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. In the latter years, he switched to an EHX PolyChorus/EchoFlanger.