Kurt Cobain’s Ibanez Les Paul Copy

Kurt owned an Ibanez copy of a Gibson Les Paul guitar, likely acquiring it sometime towards 1993. He was never seen using it, but based on a couple of somewhat reliable sources, he did indeed own it.

The Sources

The first source is the old Kurt Cobain fan website on GeoCities (it’s the place where most of the info from kurtsequipment.com seems to have originated from). This website (now down), reads the following:

Ibanez Les Paul custom copy, cherry sunburst, Dimarzio X2N pickups, 2 coil tap mini switches (installed when bought), lefty, set neck, flame in top, black pickguard and pickup rings, pickguard may have been removed. Black or gold speed knobs. This was a great lefty guitar but Kurt wouldn’t play it live because he said it looked too much like Jimmy Page! Earnie may have sent this for the “In Utero” recording.


The second source, while valid, is at this point a bit of a mystery. A visitor of ours, sent a photo via email that shows the said guitar, allegedly sitting in a secret vault that contains a number of Kurt’s private possessions.

Most likely, this is the guitar that is described on the GeoCities website. We see the DiMarzio X2N pickup in the bridge, cherry sunburst finish, flame top, and a custom switch. The only inconsistency is the white pickup rings and the single-coil in the neck, but these could’ve easily been swapped at some point.

We also can see that this was most likely a late 1970s (or later) guitar. Up until the mid-70s, Ibanez used the exact same headstock shape and inlay as did Gibson on their guitars. This resulted in a lawsuit, and both the shape and the inlays were changed on Ibanez guitars starting from late 1976. Kurt’s guitar sports this redesign.

Kurt’s Ibanez Les Paul (middle). Photo source: Unknown

The only problem with the photo above is that the source of it is unknown. If you by any chance happen to know anything about it, where it was taken, and for what purpose, please leave a comment below.

In any case, the photo proves that Kurt did own the guitar and that it’s still around. This is important to point out because there’s misinformation out there claiming that Kurt destroyed the guitar on September 22, 1990, at Motor Sports. He did in fact destroy a guitar that night, but it was the 1980s Aria Pro II CS-350.


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.

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)

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rych Corporhate
Rych Corporhate
6 months ago

I believe that the Ibanez Les Paul Kurt owned was a 1970s Made In Japan Ibanez PF-200 Cherry Sunburst, which had a White Fender Stratocaster Single-Coil Pickup (Installed In the Neck), and a White DiMarzio X2N Humbucker (Installed In the Bridge).

And the picture of Kurt’s Broken Kay 6868 Acoustic, Ibanez Les Paul (middle) and Univox Hi-Flier Phase II (with a Phase 3 Humbucker Installed in the Bridge). Photo source: Unknown (that Photo is Actually from the Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck DVD “Photo Gallery”) which also has a picture of Kurt’s Left-Handed Rickenbacker 4001 Bass (which was used on those March 1994 Demos Kurt recorded in his Basement before his Death on April 5, 1994).

Rhoads Brady
Rhoads Brady
3 years ago

there is one known picture of him playing this, but incorrectly reporting that he smashed it.

2 years ago
Reply to  Rhoads Brady

This is not Kurt in the picture. It’s not his hands, and it’s not his hair either. Also, the guitar in the picture has a white toggle switch washe rand a small red burst finish. Kurts Ibanez didn´t had a washer and had a large red burst finish.