Kurt Cobain’s Unknown Mustang (“In Bloom”, Surf Green/Sonic Blue)

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This Mustang was put together by Kurt sometime in early 1990 to serve as a disposable guitar/something he could destroy at the end of a show. It could also be that this is the same guitar that Kurt used in February that year – a pink Mustang that aside from the finish, looked identical to this guitar, but based on an interview that Nirvana did in 1993, they were likely all different guitars.

(Kurt:) We even built a bunch of Mustangs at one time. We bought some necks, and took pieces of wood and cut out the bodies and put necks on – and they were completely out of tune. But we did a pretty good job.

(Krist:) We had this little assembly line in the garage, where we -incomprehensible- painted them.

(Kurt:) Those were all destroyed in one tour. That was about like four years ago, probably. At least.

Kurt Cobain – Nirvana Interview Seattle, August 10, 1993, by Edgar Klüsener

It’s obviously not 100% that Kurt and Krist are talking about these exact Mustangs, but given the time frame and the fact that these looked very hand-made, it’s probably somewhere around 99%. Kurt remember that being four years ago, so going from the fact that the interview was filmed on August 10, 1993, February 1990 – which is when these guitar were used, sounds about right.

Usage

The blue Mustang was first used sometime in late April 1990, likely on the night of 27th during the Amnesty International Benefit concert. It was last seen just three nights later on April 30, 1990.

Most famously, the guitar was featured on the alternative version of the In Bloom music video [Nirvana – In Bloom; YouTube]

The next few gigs, played between 1st and the 5th of May all lack any photographic material, so it is unknown whether this guitar was trashed at one of these shows. Based on what happened to nearly all of Kurt’s old guitars, this is very likely.

Based on the photos, the guitar was fitted with a Shaller non-tremolo bridge, and a what appears to be a Maxon pickup in the bridge position – likely taking origin from one of Kurt’s old Univox guitars. However, the bobbins on the pickup are black, which doesn’t seem to fit the description of any of his older guitars, so it is more likely that the parts were acquired separately, or that Kurt used a different pickup, and somehow added the metal shielding on top of it (if this is even possible to do).

The color on the guitar looks different depending on the footage. For example, based purely on the In Bloom music video, one would assume it’s finished in Surf Green. But, if you Google some of the photos from, let’s say, Nirvana’s gig on April 30, 1990, the guitar looks closer to Sonic Blue (which also opens up the possibility of there’s being two guitars).

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Elvis
Elvis
1 year ago

Was that last mustang the one destroyed at Bogarts, Long Beach in 1990. I think there’s video of that show.

Rych
Rych
9 months ago
Reply to  Elvis

Kurt Had 3 of these Home-made Mustangs … He had a Sonic Blue one with a Black Pickguard (which was smashed on 02/14/90 at Kennel Club), he had a Light Shell Pink Mustang ( which looked exactly like this one) that was smashed on 02/16/90 at Bogart’s and the third and final mustang this Surf Green Mustang was smashed either on 04/30/90 or 05/01/90.