Kurt Cobain’s 1950s Kay P4 Archtop Blonde

This guitar was featured in the music video for the song Come As You Are, released in 1992. The guitar belonged to Kurt, which is based on the fact that it was seen at Kurt’s home – but it was never really used live or in any other public setting. It was most likely just a guitar that Kurt found interesting and unique, and for the most part, just kept at his house.

The guitar was seen in the 2011 documentary ‘Montage of Heck’, around 1:22 hour mark. The footage was most likely from around late 1991 when Kurt lived with Courtney in LA.

The Model

Based on the video footage, the guitar seems to fit the specs of a 50s era Kay archtop. The slim (maple?) neck profile, pickguard position, the bridge setup, and the black stripe following the contour of the body are all present on the models made in this time period. One of these guitars, which seems nearly identical to the one Kurt used, recently appeared on Reverb.com [Kay Archtop 1950’s Blonde]


Based on the photos published in [original source needed], this guitar is currently kept at the secretive Kurt Cobain vault – a place that houses some of Kurt’s belongings, including a few of his old guitars.

Based on the photos, the headstock is no longer attached to the neck on the Kay, which means that Kurt obviously smashed this guitar at some point.

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joseph Uliano
joseph Uliano
1 month ago

can you site where in COBAIN Unseen this photo is located, I can’t find it anywhere.

Joseph Uliano
Joseph Uliano
30 days ago

I spoke with the author. He doesn’t have a photo

Joseph Uliano
Joseph Uliano
29 days ago

Thank you.


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