Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E
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This guitar is certainly Kurt’s best-known acoustic since it was used during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged concert.Embed from Getty Images
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.
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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.
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