Kurt Cobain’s DOD Grunge Pedal seen on History Channel’s ‘Pawn Stars’

By: GroundGuitar Dan
Posted under: Gear Talk

You would be surprised how often a piece of gear pops up for sale with the seller claiming it used to belong to one of the huge rock stars of the past century. The bigger the star, the bigger the potential cash in pocket.

One of hottest rock stars in this regard is certainly late Kurt Cobain. Belonging to a more recent history, by many considered to be the final breath of rock and roll, Kurt was the symbol of the 90s and the voice of the Generation Y.

We recently wrote about a Teisco Audition guitar, or more precisely – a body of a Tiesco Audition guitar, which was sold on the Discovery Channels show ‘Final Offer’. That guitar was in a relatively grey area, meaning that we haven’t been able to connect it directly to Kurt via any sort of photographic evidence, even though the owner himself was pretty sure of its history.

A close look at the DOD FX69 Grunge pedal allegedly owned by Kurt Cobain. Photo credit: History Channel.

Similar to that story, in a video posted on History’s YouTube channel on December 8, 2015, the pawn shop owner is presented with a guitar pedal allegedly used by Kurt Cobain in 1993. The bloke that’s selling it also slides out a letter he got from Earnie Bailey, Kurt’s guitar tech, who himself seems somewhat reluctant (understandably) to confirm its authenticity, but as far as these things go – this all looks pretty good so far.

The side of the pedal has a white sticker on it, reading “12.29 – 9.44”. According to the letter from Earnie, the former is a date, while the latter being the volts. According to the LiveNirvana website, which we also used on our write-up on Kurt’s equipment, on December 29th Nirvana played at San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, CA.

Fortunately, a video of the whole concert is available on YouTube, and at around the 29-minute mark, Kurt mentions the pedal by name and based on the audience reaction (the camera wasn’t on him) he throws it off the stage.

After finishing the song ‘Dumb’, Kurt steps on a pedal and as it switches on, it produces a highly irritating sound. “Excuse me, that was my Grunge pedal”. He then plugs it out of his chain, and as the camera, unfortunately, pans away, the pedal is allegedly being thrown into the audience.

To summarize the story – the seller ends up asking $5,000 for the pedal, but after consulting Jesse-the-tat-guy, the pawn star dude himself thinks $500 ought to be enough. To everyone’s surprise, seller denies the offer ten times below the asking price and walks out of the shop with the pedal still in his pocket (good job seller guy).

Even though Kurt never really endorsed the pedal, and used it mostly as a joke, even today the Grunge pedal is still being sold. Originally styling a DOD logo, the Grunge distortion is now available under the DigiTech name.

All the TV show nonsense aside though, it’s always fun and interesting to see how a piece of gear from more than 30 years ago is still being taken care off, just because it used to belong to some as significant to the world of music as Kurt. If you happen to come across more stories like this online, or even better – you happen to own something similar yourself, be sure to tell us. We’d love to take a look at it.

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

What was the name of the show? Or the youtube name

1 year ago
Reply to  Toph

Pawn stars, series 15 episode 1. Its on history channel right now.
The nirvana show is https://youtu.be/udisQiJ2UxU

JR Torres
JR Torres
9 months ago

I actually went onto their store site to see how much they were selling it for but then I watched the entire clip and saw they didn’t buy it off the guy.

Jesse is knowledgable but he obviously knows nothing about the Grunge stuff and its a good thing the guy didn’t sell since we all know, he could have gotten way more for it if indeed it was Kurt’s old DOD pedal.

So where’s the pedal today? I’m pretty sure he sold it eventually?

5 months ago

Actually my brother now owns it. He bought it from the guy for a little less than he was asking. Hoping to auction it off in the next few years.

5 months ago

And for everyone on this thread saying it’s only worth $500, a broken pedal used by Kurt recently sold for $9,000.

Gen Xer
Gen Xer
7 months ago

“Generation Y?” You mean Gen X. Gen Y are called Millennials now. Gen X were 20 somethings and teens at the time. Kurt was speaking to us. He was a Gen X “hero.” And $500 is more than reasonable. This is not some Martin prototype rarity that once toured with Elvis Presley. It’s a throw away pedal that might or might not have been one of a hundred thrown to audiences on the tour as part of a show routine.

Gen Xer
Gen Xer
7 months ago

1981 is almost universally considered the first birth year of the Millennials. That puts the oldest of them at 10-years-old when Smells Like Teen Spirit hit. On the other hand, Gen-Xers (Kurt was one of us), ranged in age from 11 to about 27. Kurt sang about all the same shit the “Latch-Key Generation” (Gen-Xers) were going through, and/or had encountered. Gen-X was the disaffected generation those songs described. Drugs, sex, depression, boredom, even pregnancy. I sincerely do not believe that Kurt Cobain was aiming songs about Courtney Love’s uterus at ten-year-olds. And they were not the ones buying CDs and concert tickets. We were.

I stand by the $500. You can’t go into a pawn shop expecting a good deal in the first place. You go in knowing they are going to try to turn it around at a significant markup. But that means, in this case, about $900 – $1000. By asking for $500, the guy is basically admitting he will try to get a grand for it. $5000 is insane. If you can find me a Nirvana fan that will hand out that kind of cash for that pedal, I will eat this computer. The market simply would not sustain that, with the one possible exception of a Christies Auction on a crazy day where two random guys with a crap ton of cash had a few too many martinis.

Stories from the Blog

Led Zeppelin win lawsuit, Stairway officially not a rip-off

The lawsuit that argued that Led Zeppelin's mega-hit Stairway to Heaven was basically a result of Jimmy Page ripping of the chord progression from Spirit's song Taurus, finally came to…


Josh is Out, John is In – Peppers go Back to the Old Formula

As a surprise to pretty much everyone aside from the band members themselves, Flea recently announced on his Instagram account that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to make…


The Super Rare Fender “Charley” Lipstick Stratocaster in the Style of SRV

As part of me encouraging people to point out my mistakes and share their own stories over at GroundGuitar's Gear Page, on lucky occasions, I get contacted by people who…

Interesting Guitars

AC/DC’s “You Shook Me” Unplugged Acoustic on the Howard Stern Show

AC/DC is one of the few bands that just avoid doing any sort of an Unplugged version of their songs. An AC/DC song pretty much always sounds exactly like it…

YouTube Discoveries

The Two Only Known Video Recordings of Jimi Hendrix Playing an Acoustic Guitar

Jimi Hendrix is someone who, for one reason or another, we didn't often see playing acoustic guitars. Obviously, the late 60s were all about electrics, and there were usually no…

YouTube Discoveries

Best Distortion Pedal, Bang for Your Buck (2019)

Distortion pedals are a tricky subject for a few reasons. First, distortion as an effect is a spectrum, and there's no clear definition of what's the right 'amount' of distortion.…


Jeff Buckley sings an amazing cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” over Phone

YouTube can be an amazing place sometimes. One can occasionally stumble upon an unexpected treasure - amazing talent exhibited by people both known and unknown. One such treasure I stumbled…

YouTube Discoveries

How to Age/Relic Plastic Guitar Hardware (Pickup Covers, Knobs)

What's worse than brand new white plastic hardware on my Stratocaster? Brand new plastic hardware that's supposed to look old, but doesn't. Yes, I know that relicing and aging guitars…


How to Clean Vinyl Records with Wood Glue (With Images)

Recently I got into the habit of cleaning every single vinyl record that I buy with a simple trick - wood glue. I often by records on the local flea…


Guitars used by John Frusciante during Slane Castle

Given that Live at Slane Castle by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of the most iconic modern Rock concerts recorded on film, probably a lot of young guitarists…

Iconic Concerts

View All on Blog