Kurt Cobain’s 1990s Fender Telecaster Custom MIJ

Kurt allegedly received this guitar from Fender in 1994 as a replacement for his light blue Telecaster. He never used the guitar live and received it fully customized by Earnie Bailey only two weeks before his death. According to some quotes attributed to Bailey, Kurt liked the guitar and considered it his favorite at that point of time.


As far as the mods done by Bailey, the original tuners were replaced with Gotoh’s, and the bridge was replaced with a Stew-Mac with individual saddles. Both of the stock pickups were also replaced. Earnie installed a Gibson PAF in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge.

The pickups, bridge, and tuners were changed at one point, as this was a common practice with Kurt’s guitars. This was done by Earnie Bailey, Kurt’s guitar tech. This comes with a letter from Earnie detailing the complete modifications done to this guitar.

RockStarGuitars.com (now deleted)

As far as what happened to it, sometime after Kurt’s death, the guitar was sold to a private buyer. At some point, it was owned by RockStarGuitar.com but it was since sold once again. The current whereabouts are unknown.


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4 days ago

Actually Kurt received this 1990s Fender MIJ Custom Telecaster in 1993, as Kurt had an Endorsement with Fender, Kurt brought this 1990s Fender MIJ Custom Telecaster on the American In Utero Tour, as seen in pictures taken backstage at the 11/10/93 Springfield Civic Center, Springfield, MA. It was Stock, and Kurt never used it live but played around with it backstage and on the Tour Bus, It was sent to Kurt as a replacement for his old 1980s MIJ Fender Telecaster that Kurt painted the front Blue with Latex House Paint, and Scratch a Heart into the Paint (In which you can see the original Sunburst finish) and Courtney across the bottom of the body, and had random stickers of Cherubs and babies, and had a Black Seymour Duncan Hotrail pickup in the Bridge Position. It was first seen on January 16, 1992 at Wattles Park, Los Angeles, CA during the video shoot for Come As You Are Music Video, you can see the Telecaster during the solo from the screen projecting on the Wall, so It was All Stock and Sunburst on January 16, 1992 at Wattles Park, Los Angeles , CA and then on January 24, 1992 on Nirvana’s Pacific Rim Tour Kurt’s Fender Telecaster had the Front Painted Blue with a “Heart” and “Courtney” scratched into the Paint, random Cherubs and babies Stickers, and Black Seymour Duncan Hotrail pickup in the Bridge, while the back of the guitar was Completely Original Sunburst,

Kurt first used a Left-Handed Fender Mustang which was basically sanded down and only had the Neck, Body and Dynamic Tremolo Plate, Hardtail, and Bridge and Kurt used parts from his Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3 Sunburst guitar he smashed on 10/30/88 and that Mustang was used 11/23/88 to 04/14/89 (then was used on 02/09/90 where it was smashed beyond Repair), then Kurt had the 1975 Fender Sunburst Mustang, Right-Handed and was Flipped, Strung Lefty, and had the Neck and Bridge Pickups removed and Slider Switches, and covered the empty Neck Cavity with a piece of Masking Tape and Installed a Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3 Humbucker in the Bridge it was use live on July 8th & 9th 1989 and was smashed on July 9, 1989 and a week later was traded to Sluggo for a 70’s Gibson SG. Then from October 1990-1993 Kurt used Countless Fender MIJ Stratocasters, the 1969 Fender Lake Placid Blue Competition Mustang with Matching Headstock, Fender 65′ Jaguar, 1980s MIJ Fender “Courtney” Telecaster, 1965 Fender Daphne Blue Mustang, Surf Green Fender Musicmaster, 1966 Fender XII, then the 1993 MIJ Fender Sonic Blue Mustangs, and 1993 MIJ Fender Fiesta Red Mustang, used on the ‘In Utero’ Tour (there was originally 10 ordered, 5 Sonic Blue and 5 Fiesta Red Mustangs) Kurt only got 3 of the Sonic Blue Mustang “Sky-Stang I – III” and the Fiesta Red Mustang ‘Oranj-Stang” Since Kurt passed before the rest were sent to him, they were sold in different Music Shops around Japan), the Custom made Sonic Blue Jag-Stang, so after Kurt OD and ended up in a Coma in Rome in March 1994, Earnie Bailey then did the Mods to the 1990 MIJ Fender Custom Telecaster by adding Gotoh Tuners (Kurt’s Favorite), the Nickel Covered Gibson PAF Humbucker in the Neck and a Black Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Humbucker in the Bridge and a Wilkinson Bridge Plate with 6-Saddles, and this was “Kurt’s New Favorite guitar” apparently It was Used on the Demos Kurt Recorded with Pat Smear and Eric Erlandson in the Basement at the Cobain’s Residence, In late March 1994, a few weeks before Kurt died.

Batara Kado
Batara Kado
2 years ago

jb in the bridge and gibson pickup in the neck so many jumbled details

Last edited 2 years ago by Batara Kado