Kurt Cobain’s 1970s Gibson SG

Kurt played this guitar only for a few gigs in early 1990, starting with January 6th, before he ended up smashing it beyond repair in Tijuana, Mexico on February 17, 1990. However, at that point, he already had the guitar with him for almost half a year.

Origin Story

This Gibson SG originally belonged to Sluggo Cawley, the guitarist of the band The Grannie. Sometime around July 8th, Kurt gave him his 1975 Fender Mustang in exchange for this Gibson SG, which at the time was hanging on Sluggo’s wall

Kurt asked me if he could have the smashed Gibson SG I had hanging on my wall. (..) So I said, “Sure, but now I won’t have one for my wall.” Kurt replied, “I’ll be right back.” He went out to their van and presented me a 1975* Fender Mustang that he deemed beyond repair. He had smashed it at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey the night before the Green Street show with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth watching. In sort of mock guitar hero worship, I asked him to sign it for me.

FEATURE: Kurt Cobain: Still Taking Care of His Friends

Kurt likely painted and repaired the SG upon returning from Europe in late 1989/early 1990, and fitted it with a humbucker in the bridge from one of his old Univox guitars. It also appears that there was some sort of a pickup in the neck pickup slot, but it’s hard to tell what it was due to a lack of good-quality photos.


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Sluggo Cawley
Sluggo Cawley
8 months ago

You can see great footage of Kurt smashing this 70s SG I gave him in Montage of Heck. Cheers, sluggo
PS, I was in The Grannies (Wondertaker, Saustex, Dead Teenager) from 1999 to present, BUT I was in Hullabaloo (C/Z Records, Toxic Shock Records) 1986-1990 when I traded guitars with Kurt.

7 months ago
Reply to  Sluggo Cawley

What was the neck pickup of the mustang he traded you for your SG?

Last edited 7 months ago by Jay
1 year ago

Great article, thanks

1 year ago

Think it was a greco mustang, The block inlays are square on Kurts guitar.