Kurt Cobain’s Fender Telecaster “<3 Courtney"
This guitar first appeared live at the Hordern Pavilion gig in Sydney, Australia on January 25, 1992, and it was seen during the Come as You Are music video, which was filmed around that same time – January 1992.
The Telecaster 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.
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 the 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 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.
In an interesting piece of detail, Lew Ashby – a 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.
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where is the guitar now? the neck is on ebay
On eBay right now? Can you leave a link?
Sure of i found It again
https://www.guitarworld.com/news/ebay-seller-offering-kurt-cobains-smashed-guitar-neck-35000 can’t find the original link
Alright, thanks! Will try to dig up that eBay auction on web archive or something tomorrow, to see if we can get a good look at that letter
I have no idea what happened to the body, but I guess it now makes sense that it has a replacement no-brank neck on it..
https://youtu.be/qqeIjFC7pGU and i found out that he had an acoustic fender
Oh yeah, I remember seeing that. It’s from Montage of Heck, isn’t it? I think what’s left of the guitar is now kept in that vault with the rest of Kurt’s valuables. No idea on the exact model, but will try to figure it out. Dan.
Dan, It was a 1986 Kramer Ferrington KFT-1 Acoustic-Electric Thin Body. (Since it has a bolt-on neck, Kurt removed the Kramer neck and added a Fender neck (most likely a Japanese Fender Stratocaster neck (by how thin it is) or a regular Ferrington neck… Before it was cut up with a saw and smashed against the floor (As seen in Montage of Heck), and then Kurt used the broken body to write some of the lyrics to “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” (Which I believe there is a picture of in the book “Cobain Unseen”)
Appreciate it Rych. I will add it to the list.
That wasn’t a Fender Acoustic (Stratacoustic) it was a 1986 Kramer Ferrington KFT-1 Acoustic-Electric Thin Body.
Since this is a bolted on neck, Kurt removed the original Kramer Ferrington Neck, and added either a Fender or Ferrington neck to the body before cutting it with a saw and smashing it against the floor. (As seen in Montage of Heck).
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 you see the Sunburst back….
And on this episode of Californiacation the Telecaster is all blue…. So it’s just an Accurate Prop made for the show…..
Thanks Rych. I added some photos to show the difference in the finish on the back. Cheers.
I think hes playing this guitar in the Come As You Are video. Right as the solo starts there is a video projection on the wall of Kurt playing a sunburst telecaster with a dark neck.
Correct. I’m working on getting a photo and will update the page soon.
Well, Kurt had a second telecaster in replacement of that one, Fender give to him in 1994 a brand new one which is actualy the same but Kurt will replace the two single coil by 2 full sized humbucker
Do we have any photos of that Tele with the humbuckers installed?
on the website Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Now
Thanks, I’ll be adding the guitar shortly.
im looking for knock off versions of his gear and guitars…im currently 17 and dont make much to buy all this…lol leave links?? im also looking for band members
Besides the “Pacific Rim Tour” in January/February 1992, Kurt also used this ‘80s MIJ Fender TL-62 Telecaster (which is 3-Tone Sunburst, the front was painted light blue with latex house paint, and inside the Heart you can see the original Sunburst finish and Kurt left the back of the Telecaster all 3-Tone Sunburst…) this Telecaster was also used on some of the shows on Nirvana’s Nevermind Rescheduled European tour in June 1992.
then it was next used on January 16, 1993 at Estádio Cícero Pompeu De Toledo (Hollywood Rock Festival), São Paulo, Brazil where it was smashed beyond repair.