Kurt Cobain’s Smashed Fender Stratocaster Guitar Sells for 10 Times Estimate at Auction

The guitar, which sold for nearly $600,000, had been gifted to the late Mark Lanegan

cobain smashed stratocaster auction
Kurt Cobain (photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc) and his smashed black Fender Stratocaster (courtesy of Julien’s Auctions)

    A Fender Stratocaster smashed onstage by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s tour in support of Nevermind has sold for $595,900 at auction.

    The guitar — a reassembled-yet-unplayable left-handed black Strat — went for around 10 times its original estimate of $60-80k at a Julien’s Auction this past weekend at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City. The instrument was signed (in one way or another) by all three members of Nirvana, including Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.

    This particular Strat had some personal significance, as it was gifted by Cobain to his friend and fellow Seattle music cohort, the late Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan. Kurt even inscribed the body of the guitar: “Hell-o mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain/ Washed up rockstar.”


    Additional markings include the signatures of the three members of Nirvana, as well as a neck-plate engraving reading “Boddah Lives,” in reference to Cobain’s imaginary childhood friend. The guitar also came in a black hard case with the words “Abort Christ” written across it.

    According to Julien’s description, Cobain gave the busted axe to Lanegan in the fall of 1992 during the North American leg of the Nevermind tour. Julien’s stated that the guitar was “smashed and reassembled” and that “aside from the broken neck there are many marks and signs of use and abuse including chunks of wood missing from the bottom rear of the body.”

    In addition to the smashed Strat, a setlist from Nirvana’s show on April 17th, 1991 at the OK Hotel in Seattle — the set that featured the live debut of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — also went to auction and sold for a high bid of $50,800.


    One-of-a-kind Nirvana memorabilia continues to fetch big bucks at auction. Previously, Cobain’s MTV Unplugged acoustic guitar sold two years ago for $6 million, and last May, the 1969 Fender Mustang guitar played by Cobain in the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” went for $4.5 million.

    Below you can see images of Cobain’s smashed black Stratocaster.

    cobain stratocaster auction

    cobain stratocaster auction 2

    cobain stratocaster auction 3