Kurt Cobain Guitar From First Nirvana Gig Sold At Auction


A guitar which Kurt Cobain smashed during Nirvana’s first ever tour in 1989, sold for over $400,000 at a recent auction.

The guitar itself was smashed by the band’s frontman during their US Tour of 1989.

It was played by Cobain for two Nirvana gigs, a show at Club Dreamerz, Chicago on July 8, and Sonic Temple in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania 24 hours later.

Cobain smashed the guitar at the Wilkinsburg concert.

This 1973 Fender Mustang was sold at an auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York on November 11, for $486,400 (£413,926). This was more than double the original estimate.

This event was organised by Julien’s Auctions, who confirmed that the winning bid was $486,400, with the original estimate standing at $200,000. This was part of the auction’s ‘Icons and Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll’.

The instrument had previously been exhibited at Experience Music Project in Seattle between 2007 and 2008.

See the tweet in full below.

“Thanks for the trade”

It had been reported that after the Wilkinsburg show, Nirvana were hanging out with Sluggo Cawley from the Boston band Hullabaloo.

It was at this point that Cobain noticed Sluggo’s smashed Gibson SG.

Kurt Cobain offered Cawley to swap his Mustang Fender for Cawley’s SG. The late rocker was convinced that he repair the guitar to break it again.

“Yo Sluggo, Thank for the Trade! IF its illegal to Rock and Roll, throw my ASS in JAiL … NIRVANA”, Cobain wrote on the guitar.

Cawley previously spoke about this moment during an interview in 2020.

“Kurt asked me if he could have the smashed Gibson SG I had hanging on my wall. So I said, ‘Sure, but now I won’t have one for my wall”, he said.

To which Kurt replied, ‘I’ll be right back.’ He went out to their van and presented me a 1973 Fender Mustang that he deemed beyond repair. In sort of mock guitar hero worship, I asked him to sign it for me”. 

Earlier this Summer, another iconic guitar used by Kurt Cobain on the music video of Nirvana hit ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ sold for more than £3 million at another auction.

More on this here.