8 myths about Kurt Cobain’s gear that folks continue to believe | Guitar.com

Kurt Cobain is a person of the most legendary and revered figures in rock ‘n’ roll, and his solution to guitar participating in has impressed millions of guitarists from all above the planet for about a few a long time. As is typically the way with tunes icons, there’s a good deal of myths and legends instructed about Kurt’s limited daily life and tragic demise, and a good deal additional surrounding the way that he built the seems that shook the earth like no guitarist has considering the fact that. Thankfully, with the assist of some of the people who have been there, we can with any luck , very clear some of those people oft-recurring myths up.

The guitar used in the Smells Like Teen Spirit Movie is at the Tough Rock Café in Australia

Let’s start off with an simple a person: the guitar Kurt made use of in the Smells Like Teen Spirit video is NOT presently (nor was it ever) in an Australian location of well-liked restaurant chain Hard Rock Café. Kurt applied a 1969 Lake Placid Blue Competition Mustang for the Smells Like Teen Spirit video. Fender’s Level of competition Series was distinguished by the racing stripes on the system. They were being designed from 1968 until 1973.

The guitar from the online video remained in storage for the duration of the In Utero Tour as Kurt had not long ago been given 4 stock Mustangs that his tech, Earnie Bailey would modify for that tour – a few Sonic Blue and 1 Fiesta Red. In 2009, the Australian Hard Rock Cafe claimed to have Kurt’s Competitiveness Mustang from the iconic movie, but the true guitar has been verified and has been on screen at the Museum Of Pop Culture in Seattle for above a ten years. It sports a neck joint maintenance and harm alongside the decrease edge sustained at the notorious Dallas Trees Club functionality in 1991 when Kurt, having a bad night, smashed it into the mixing board repeatedly.

The four Mustangs on the In Utero Tour had been modified thusly, in accordance to KurtsEquipment.com.

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
Picture: Raffaella Cavalieri / Getty

“First, the nut experienced to be lower for heavier strings, then the neck shimmed for a improved bridge angle with the cardboard backings from resort stationery pads, and a Gotoh tune-o-matic bridge was put in. Earnie also experienced to modify the tailpiece to block the vibrato, which Kurt hated. He would take away the two springs for the vibrato bar, insert washers to the posts beneath the bridge plate, which locked it down to the plate. And finally, Earnie would flip the tailpiece about allowing for the strings to feed immediately via the tailpiece, not beneath, and the ball ends of the strings would healthy in the tailpiece’s recesses.”

Afterwards on, all of his Mustangs have been routed for whole-sizing Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers in the bridge position [with the exception of his 1969 Competition Mustang].

Kurt had a white mustang

Kurt did say that his favorite guitars have been Mustangs and of study course he owned many. But Kurt in no way employed a white Mustang – the Sonic Blue Mustangs could glimpse white in specified lighting, specifically the lighting applied throughout the In Utero Tour.

Kurt owned a Jazzmaster

Kurt by no means owned a Jazzmaster, although once more, the Really hard Rock Café claims to be in possession of one particular, which is signed by Kurt. In all chance, this was a guitar an individual bought autographed by Kurt at some point and bought it to Tough Rock professing it was Kurt’s. Earnie Bailey has claimed that he did when find a lefty Jazzmaster and was going to buy it for Kurt as a surprise, but he and Krist Novoselic determined it was much too high-priced.

Nirvana onstage
Picture: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Kurt hated Les Pauls

Kurt didn’t automatically detest Les Pauls, he just hated what they represented at the time: classic rock. That getting stated, Kurt did individual and engage in a pair via the many years – he had a black Epiphone Les Paul that was applied for a Nevermind photo shoot. He also had a Hagstrom 3/4 measurement Les Paul duplicate, which he received in 1992.

He experienced a Gibson SG Typical that he smashed as well. He experienced a still left-handed Ibanez Les Paul Tailor made duplicate that he actually really preferred – it experienced DiMarzio X2N pickups with coil taps and pace knobs. Earnie claims he may perhaps have sent this out with the band when they were recording In Utero. We are uncertain if it was applied or not, but according to Earnie, “Krist once reported Kurt refused to engage in it live mainly because it manufactured him search like Jimmy Webpage.”

Kurt never performed Marshall amps

Lots of will cite the band’s effectiveness on Best Of The Pops in 1991 where by they had been viewed with Marshall heads and cupboards as evidence that in truth they did play as a result of Marshalls, Prime of The Pops performances at that time had been typically (and notoriously) not reside. The band was intended to mime their way by way of a backing keep track of of Smell Like Teenager Spirit – the only factor to be executed reside ended up the vocals. As with various other bands who took issue with this more than the a long time, Kurt did his greatest to ruin the effectiveness the finest middle fingers to ever grace the Major of the Pops airwaves.


Men and women who say that Kurt did not care for Marshalls are spot on, nonetheless. According to Earnie Bailey, “Regarding the Marshalls, Kurt definitely disliked Marshall amps. Partly, because of to the total hair metallic stigma happening in the 80s, and he didn’t like the sound of them. I assume it was too generic for him. If you recall, on his 4×12 cabs, he had his Marshall logos taped in excess of, not removed (which is a very simple undertaking), as a assertion to the status involved with possessing Marshall gear.

“Marshall 4×12’s are effortless to uncover no matter if you are acquiring or renting overseas. This is a most likely purpose why he utilised them thinking of how often they experienced to be replaced. Kurt making use of a Marshall head for a electricity amp is quite out there. Think about it, a Marshall’s output stage is rather filthy and would be even additional so at the volumes Nirvana played at.”

In spite of all of this, there was truly one particular time that Kurt did use a Marshall. It was for the duration of a single of the last recording classes he ever did at Bob Lang’s (Adam Casper was the producer) studio in Seattle. Additional exclusively, he utilised a Univox guitar and a 50-watt Marshall 2×12 combo to document the last music the band at any time accomplished, You Know You are Suitable. As the story goes, he confirmed up to the studio without any equipment and experienced to use 1 that was at the studio. Earnie did some preamp tube swapping with one more amp, to reduce the attain structure and dial in the seem of the 50-watt combo for Kurt.

Reside, Kurt generally applied a Mesa/Boogie preamp together with a number of Crown 800W electrical power amps which would generally blow up all through the Nevermind days. Those had been switched out for two Crest 4801 power amps, which were much extra resilient. Having said that, Cobain did have a limited-lived Marshall Collection 9000 power amp for the duration of 1991. Kurt also was identified to use a Carver energy amp, which was constructed by the terrific Bob Carver. In the studio, he would generally use a 135-watt Fender Twin Reverb Blackface [we believe it was a 1982]. Which experienced a set of four 6L6 in the electric power stage and 7025 tubes in the preamp stage.

Kurt Cobain MTV unplugged
Photo: Frank Micelotta / Getty Visuals

Kurt and the DOD Grunge Pedal

Created by DOD as a rather shameless dollars-in on the grunge movement’s explosion of world-wide reputation, the Grunge pedal was lots of youthful guitar player’s initial pedal if they came to the instrument in the early 90s. In the decades due to the fact, having said that, folks frequently remark that not only did Kurt approve of this pedal, he basically applied it reside.

Effectively, kind of. On 29 December 1993 Nirvana performed a gig in San Diego, and there on the floor that night was without a doubt DOD’s infamous Grunge pedal. Having said that, during the gig he was witnessed to participate in the pedal for a minute, then unplugged it from the chain and threw it into the crowd remarking, “Excuse me, that was my grunge pedal.”

https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=WC0EZ7-IcrI

As you can see from the video clip, even if we want to claim that Kurt did use the Grunge pedal, it was evidently as a joke, and his tossing it into the crowd most likely reveals what he thought of this money-in on the movement his band had produced. The pedal that Kurt threw from the phase bought for $16,000 in 2021.

What is Kurt’s distortion audio?

Whilst some have claimed that Kurt’s principal distortion audio was a ProCo RAT, which is not solely true. It’s legitimate that a RAT was utilized on some music on Nevermind, but the major distortion audio on that record was a humble Manager DS-1. Afterwards on In Utero and Unplugged, it was the DS-2. The In Utero tablature ebook also promises that a Rotovibe was used – it was not.

Kurt did not know nearly anything about audio principle

Despite the fact that it’s not a gear myth, necessarily, we want to deal with the fantasy that Kurt Cobain rebelled from or “shunned” songs idea. Yet again, we turned to Earnie Bailey for responses.

“With Nirvana, Krist and Kurt experienced sturdy views about what file albums had been authorized in their properties, with assorted collections, and crucial selections within just just about every style,” he explains. “As a team, they have been analytical about preferred new music, to the place it grew to become next character. So when they not have had technological tunes theory instruction, they absolutely had a potent functioning expertise of it.

Kurt Cobain onstage
Photo: Frank Micelotta / Getty

“David realized time signatures, experienced the much better musical vocabulary, and also the wisdom not to use it competitively. And like lots of self-taught artists, they cultivated the persona of being primitive musicians but honestly, they examined songwriting, the Beatles in distinct.

“If Kurt publicly shunned tunes principle, below is what I can provide. As adolescents in the 70s and 80s, I remember musicians remaining divided into groups understanding by way of the classroom, and those people of us captivated to new music that appeals to reduction of manage. We naïvely considered music concept as a set of regulations somewhat than a musical language, and bashing it was a method of protection mainly because we lacked the self esteem or technological information of the terminology.

“So the argument about concept became a fork in the road caused by techniques, rather than a question of improper or appropriate. For instance, Ace of Spades by Motörhead, and Rikki Do not Eliminate That Range by Steely Dan are the two superb tracks, but worlds aside about composition.”

So have been any artists in Kurt’s document assortment that may shock folks?

“They/he loved ABBA! That’s the greatest a single I can imagine of.”

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