Kurt Cobain’s Fender Stratocaster (Sunburst, Reading Festival)
This guitar was first used Reading Festival in Reading, England, UK, on August 30, 1992. Kurt started off the set with his 1965 Fender Jaguar but switched to this Stratocaster at around the 30-minute mark, and played it for most of the gig, aside from a few songs on which he used another black colored Strat.
The guitar was most likely brand new since it was the first sunburst Strat that Kurt ever used, and the only modification that he had done to it seems to be the added Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickup in the bridge position.
Kurt’s Reading Strat at EMP/MoPoP
At the end of the Reading Festival set, one can clearly see Kurt walking out to the crowd and giving this sunburst Stratocaster to the audience in the front row. Based on this, one would assume that this was the end of this guitar, and Kurt, for obvious reasons, didn’t get to use it again.
However, this seems to not be the case, because there’s another guitar that many refer to as the Reading Strat. This guitar, which was, by the way, a part of the famous Nirvana exhibit hosted at the EMP/MoPoP museum in Seattle (see video below), was according to MoPoP used during Reading and was later destroyed on November 26, 1993, in Morocco Shrine Auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida Morocco Shrine Auditorium.
So based on this, the Reading Strat was indeed recovered from the audience (also confirmed by one of our readers, see comments below) and given back to Kurt. The only slightly problematic part is the fact that the Morocco Shrine gig was more than a year after Reading, so according to this theory, the guitar was kept safe somewhere during all those months. Furthermore, there are no photos of Kurt using the guitar at that concert, so it seems that all this information came from people’s statements.
Also worth pointing out is that by the time Kurt used the guitar at the Morocco Shrine Auditorium, the white Seymour Duncan Hot Rails was replaced with a black one.
GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.
If you notice a piece of gear missing, and you wanna add it yourself, you can do so on this page Add Gear to GroundGuitar.
In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)