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

access_time First seen circa 1994

This is one of the four Fender Mustang that Kurt allegedly acquired sometime prior to the ‘In Utero’ tour, and had them all routed out so they could fit a full sized humbucker pickup in the bridge position. Compared to the other three guitars, this one seems to have been either used very rarely or not at all.

The guitar was set-up in the exact same way as the others – with a black Seymour Duncan JB pickup instead of the stock single-coil, plus a Gotoh Tune-o-Matic bridge.

Was the Guitar ever used Live?

It is very hard to determine whether this guitar was ever used live, due to the fact that it looks nearly identical to the ‘Sky-Stang II’. The only visual difference between the two seems to be the pattern on the Tortoiseshell pickguard – this guitar had a small orange blotch between the pickups, while the ‘Sky-Stang II’ had a similar looking blotch below the bridge pickup.

And, while the ‘Sky-Stang II’ can be spotted on the photographs taken during the ‘In Utero’ tour, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this guitar. If you by any chance happen to come across a photo with Kurt playing this guitar (keep an eye for the orange spot to the left of the bridge pickup), be sure to either contact me or leave a comment below.

‘Sky-Stang III’ after Kurt’s Death

Right after Kurt died, Courtney gave the guitar to a kid named Bobby Costello. Apparently, Bobby had written a letter to Courtney, saying how much he liked Kurt’s music, and how much it made an impact on him, on which Courtney replied and sent out what she referred to as “one of Kurt’s favorite guitars” to him. According to a post-Bobby made on Facebook some years ago, the guitar was sold at some point without his permission.

This was one out of 8 guitars given out after Kurt Cobain died and I got one right after Kurt passed away, from Courtney Love Cobain, after my mom and I sent her a letter saying how sad it was to lose Kurt and my Grandpa. So I got the custom Fender Mustang that he played on the In Utero tour and recordings. I have doucumented proof that I am the owner and it was taken without my permission and sold without my consent. Now I have been finding this all out. And its really hard. I have been in touch with Kurts old bandmates good friends authors just about every one but Courtney Love whom I have been trying to contact again. I lost touch with her a few years back and she knows the guitar is stolen and she is also upset that its at Rock n Rolls hall of fame in Cleveland, Ohio. [Kurt Cobain’s/my guitar SKY TANG 3 – Facebook]

It seems that the next owner of the guitar was Jeff Gold of Recordmecca, who often seemed to have lent it Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Museum, where many have photographed it. It seems, however, that the guitar was sold once again, as Reccordmacca has the item marked as ‘sold’ on their website [Kurt Cobain – Owned & stage played custom made Fender guitar].

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access_time 1991

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