Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E

This guitar is certainly Kurt’s best-known acoustic since it was used during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert.

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Kurt bought this Martin in late 1993 at Voltage Guitars in Los Angeles – just a few months prior to the Unplugged gig. It is actually a pretty rare guitar produced only for a year in the late 50s, and it was one of the earliest Martins to feature electric pickups. Kurt’s guitar, serial number 155864, was just number 7 out of 302, according to Julien’s.

Regarding mods on Kurt’s guitar, apparently stock DeArmond pickups didn’t sound very good with bronze-wound strings that Kurt was using, so the guitar was fitted with a Bartolini 3AV sound hole pickup – which Kurt already tried out on his Epiphone Texan.

The Guitar Today

After Kurt’s passing, it seems that the guitar ended up with his daughter, Francis Bean – however, it was kept at the secret vault in Seattle, together with the rest of Kurt’s belongings.

According to TMZ, in 2018 the guitar ended up with Isaiah Silva, Francis’ ex-husband, as a part of the divorce settlement agreement. Soon after, it was auctioned through Julien’s, and ended up with RODE Microphones founder, Peter Freedman. The final price was $6 million, which makes this guitar the most expensive guitar ever sold through auction at the time of writing this.

Photo credit: Julien’s

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1 year ago

This Martin is officialy the most expensive guitar ever sold, it was auctioned for $6 million dollars at Julien’s.

fouie lerris
fouie lerris
8 months ago

this guitar was given to his daughter in the will, when she got older she got married and then had a divorce, the only way for the divorce to go through was her having to give him this guitar unfortunately. he then put it up for auction which came to a grand total of 6 million US dollars, i think it was so wrong and should never of happened.