Kurt Cobain’s Fender Mustang ‘Sky-Stang I’ (Sonic Blue)

access_time First seen circa 1993

This guitar was one of the four Fender Mustangs that Kurt acquired sometime prior to the ‘In Utero’ tour. It was first seen on 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’s 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 on nearly all of Nirvana’s performance 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 shot 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 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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access_time 1991

1965 Fender Jaguar

This guitar is probably one of the most recognizable guitars used by Kurt, probably because it was used extensively during the ‘Nevermind’ tour. Although it’s impossible to say for sure just based on photos, it seems that Kurt didn’t use it live until the start of the European tour, circa mid-August 1991. It is however very likely that he acquired it at least a few weeks prior to this. I own a […]

access_time 1991

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access_time 1988

Greco Mustang

This Mustang first appeared in late 1988, and it directly replaced a Univox Hi-Flier that Kurt smashed on October 30, 1988, in Olympia. It appears to be the first left-handed guitar that Kurt ever owned, and one that he modified pretty extensively. Kurt allegedly bought the Mustang at Guitar Maniacs shop in Tacoma, WA. However, the shop’s owner is only quoted saying that Kurt bought a bunch of Univoxes from him, so […]

access_time 1992

Fender Telecaster "<3 Courtney"

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access_time 1986

1970s Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3

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access_time 1991

1969 Fender Competition Mustang

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access_time 1993

Fender Mustang 'Oranj-Stang'

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access_time 1992

Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst, Reading Festival)

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access_time 1991

Fender Stratocaster (Black, smashed during “Endless, Nameless”)

In early 1991 Kurt started playing a black left-handed Stratocaster with a white pickguard and a full-sized humbucker in the bridge position. The first time the guitar was photographed appears to be March 8, 1991, at Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada. Nevermind Studio Sessions Kurt had this guitar with him when the band entered the studio for the second time to finish up the album, in May 1991, during which they recorded most […]

access_time 1990

1970s Gibson SG

Kurt played this guitar only for one or two gigs in early 1990, 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. This Gibson SG originally belonged to Sluggo Cawley, the guitarist of the band The Grannie. Sometime around July 8th, Kurt gave him his 1973 Fender Mustang in exchange for this […]

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