Kurt Cobain’s Marshall JCM800 Amp

Kurt used this amp on a few occasions in June 1991, more precisely on June 17 at Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA, and on June 14 at Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the amp was either a JCM800 or a JCM900 model. 1991 was the last year that the Marshall made JCM 800 amps, and JCM 900 came out in 1990 – so it could’ve been both.

However, based on the fact that the input cable on Kurt’s amp was all the way to the right, JCM800 (Model 2210) is a more likely option (on a JCM900 it would’ve been closer to the middle).


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2 years ago

Kurt never used a Marshall amp except the JMP 50 – for the last studio session on January, 30th, 1994 – which belonged to studio owner Robert Lang. The JCM800 and the ‘cowbox’ seen here is the property of the other special guests of the show: ‘Kai Kln’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM6rs-In0q4
His Mesa/Boogie is clearly visible, seating next to his Hiwatt 4×12….
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…that he used at least since June 10, 1991, Gothic Theatre, Englewood:
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2 years ago

From June 10-20, 1991, Nirvana supported Dinosaur Jr.’s Green Mind West Coast tour.

From the beginning on June 10, 1991 at Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO, till at least June 17, 1991 at Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA, Kurt played his Mesa/Boogie and a slanted Hiwatt 4×12 cabinet.

Nirvana played mostly at first or as second spot before headliner Dinosaur. That is why the Marshall JCM 800 100W is always visible when Nirvana played, as Dinos backline is already on stage.
It is a JCM 800 model because it has 11 knobs and only one black input on the right side. (JCM 900 has 10 knobs and 2 black Inputs jacks – one for the footswitch.) It was also pretty expensive in 1991.

On February 19th, 1991, Dinosaur Jr. released their fourth studio album ‘Green Mind’.
The only single from that album ‘The Wagon’ was already released in 1990 and featured a cow huged by an ape on the cover comment image)

I therefore suspect that the cow(s) at the Marshall JCM 800, the Marshall cabinet and 4×12 flightcase are indicative of Dinosaurs property. Also, if it would be his cabinet, Kurt would have taped the Marshall logo off.

In addition, the operating display in the left corner of the JCM 800 amplifier is switched off all the time when Nirvana played, since there is no red light.