Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang ‘Sky-Stang I’ (Sonic Blue)
This guitar was one of the four Fender Mustangs that Kurt acquired sometime prior to the ‘In Utero’ tour. It was first seen in the photographs taken on October 23, 1993, in Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, and based on the frequency of use, this was likely Kurt’s favorite among the four. The rest of the guitars included a red Mustang nicknamed ‘Oranj-Stang’, and two more blue Mustangs nearly identical to this one (more on this later).
On the earliest photos of the guitar, the Mustang seemed to already have been modified, with a white full-sized humbucker pickup sitting in the bridge pocket instead of the original single-coil, and what looked like a Gotoh Tune-o-Matic bridge.
It is unknown what this pickup exactly was, but the most likely possibility is the Seymour Duncan JB Model, which Kurt used in both his red Mustang and his Univox Custom. The only issue is that the pickup was white, and there doesn’t seem to be any info online on whether Seymour Duncan sold these pickups in that color in the 90s as they do nowadays (if you happen to know, be sure to leave a comment).
From the time it was first seen, this guitar was used in nearly all of Nirvana’s performances all the way until their last gig on March 1, 1994, in Munich, Germany.
The Second and the Third Blue Mustang
As noted in the opening paragraph, just before the ‘In Utero’ tour, Kurt allegedly sent out four different Fender Mustangs to be routed so they could fit a humbucker pickup in the bridge pocket. This piece of info seemed to have originated from an article published by Guitar World magazine in either March 1994 or 1995. However, since there doesn’t seem to be anything related to this published online, if you happen to own the issue in question, and wouldn’t mind quoting a few paragraphs, be sure to shoot me a message (see info below for email).
Apparently, the first of these four guitars was a red one nicknamed ‘Oranj-Stang’, while the rest were all blue ‘Sky-Stangs’ with numbers 1-3 attached to the name in order to differentiate them. One of these three blue Mustangs (the one that is the subject of this page) had a white humbucker in the bridge position, while the other two had black ones – which is obviously the easiest way to differentiate this guitar from the other two.
The second of the three ‘Sky-Stangs’ was also seen occasionally during the latter part of the ‘In Utero’ tour and is now owned by the Kurt Cobain estate, while the third one, although now accounted for, is still a sort of a mystery as far as the stage use (more on this here – Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang ‘Sky-Stang III’).
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The pickguard on the guitar shown on this page is the one in use at the Live And Loud concert, identifiable by the unique orange blotch between pickups. Presumably, it’s the same guitar as the bridge pickups are also white. However, the guitar shown here has a black knob control cover plate where it is shiny metal in the video.
My bad Tom, I chose an unfortunate photo. But the control plate on Kurt’s guitar is metal, even though it looks flat black here.
He actually got pissed at it twice. Once during in Milk It, than the other was him just being old Kurt. Didn’t expect him to smash one of his Sky Stangs