Kurt Cobain’s Fender Telecaster “<3 Courtney"

This guitar first appeared at the Hordern Pavilion gig in Sydney, Australia on January 25, 1992. It originally styled a 3-tone sunburst finish, but Kurt sprayed the whole body with blue latex paint and carved out a heart and Courtney’s name on it. It also originally featured two single coils pickups – but the bridge pickup was replaced with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails – something Kurt would often do on his guitars from this point on.

Kurt played this Telecaster regularly during the Oceania tour in January/February 1992, after which it for some reason disappeared. It appears that he didn’t mush at all until the infamous gig in Rio on January 16th, 1993 (considered by some to be one of band’s worst), when he broke the guitar’s neck and threw it into the audience. Allegedly one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers crew members picked up the neck, while the body is probably in the hands of a collector somewhere.

Kurt’s Telecaster seen in Californication TV Series

What appears to be Kurt’s original Telecaster, with all the body paint still present, appeared in Episode 7, Season 2 (‘In A Lonely Place’) of the TV show Californication.

Kurt Cobain Telecaster in Californication
Kurt Cobain’s alleged Telecaster was featured in Episode 7, Season 2 (‘In A Lonely Place’) of the TV show Californication.

An interesting piece of detail, Lew Ashby – character in the series who gave the guitar to Hank Moody, lives in a house that is in real life owned by Rick Rubin (an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records). The house, which many simply refer to as “The Mansion”, is also a recording studio and has been home to a number of artists, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Audioslave, and many others.

It is, therefore, possible to come up with a theory that Rick is the actual owner of the guitar, and that he kept it in the studio. TV producers saw it and simply decided to fit it into the story of one of the episodes.

However, as pointed out by Rych in the comments below, the original guitar had no blue finish on the back, while the guitar used in the Californication episode did. It is then more likely that this was just a prop.

Kurt Cobain smashing the original Telecaster (left). The Telecaster used in the Californication TV series (right).
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kurt lover
kurt lover
7 months ago

where is the guitar now? the neck is on ebay

kurt lover
kurt lover
7 months ago

Sure of i found It again

kurt lover
kurt lover
7 months ago
kurt lover
kurt lover
7 months ago

https://youtu.be/qqeIjFC7pGU and i found out that he had an acoustic fender

Rych
Rych
20 days ago

I’m pretty sure this is a “Prop” of Kurt’s “Courtney” Telecaster…. Because the guitar was originally Sunburst, but Kurt Painted the front and sides of the Tele with Latex Blue House Paint, while Scratching a “Heart” & “Courtney” on the front, while leaving the back of the Tele’ completely Sunburst (the original color) if you watch the destruction from the 01/16/93 São Paulo Brazil show, while Kurt is sticking the neck into a Marshall Cabinet (Puncturing the Speakers one of Kurt’s Favorite thing to do) you see the front of the Tele’ is Blue then when he flipped it over… Read more »

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