First seen circa 1992

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 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 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 a random person from the audience. Based on this, this was the end of this guitar, and Kurt, for obvious reasons, didn’t get to use it again.

However, there’s a problem with this, because there’s another guitar that for some reason 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 allegedly used during Reading and was later destroyed on November 26, 1993, at Morocco Shrine Auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida Morocco Shrine Auditorium.

So either the person from the audience who got the guitar returned it to Kurt (obviously highly unlikely), or there’s something fishy with this second sunburst Strat that was seen at the EMP/MoPoP. Most likely, the actual Reading Strat is not the same as this second guitar.

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