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Guitar Smashed By Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain Sells for Nearly $600k!

In the world of rock ‘n’ roll, legends are born from the music and the artifacts left behind. One such artifact, a black-and-white Fender Stratocaster, smashed by the iconic Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during the 1990s, recently commanded a jaw-dropping price of nearly $600k at a New York auction.

This price tag, far exceeding expectations, is a testament to Cobain’s enduring appeal and the ever-growing reverence for his music, even nearly three decades after his tragic passing.

A Piece of Rock History

The shattered remains of this electric guitar are intrinsically tied to the “Nevermind” era, a period synonymous with the groundbreaking album that propelled Nirvana to global stardom. Julien’s Auctions, the custodian of this extraordinary rock history, revealed that Cobain had broken several guitars during this era.

nirvana_official_/ Instagram | The remarkable sale of Cobain’s smashed guitar highlights the enduring appeal and value of rock memorabilia

What sets this particular Stratocaster apart is that it bears the signatures of all three Nirvana members and a heartfelt message from Cobain himself, addressed to his friend and fellow musician, Mark Lanegan, to whom he gifted the guitar in 1992.

The Surprising Valuation

The astounding success of this auction defied expectations. Darren Julien, President and CEO of Julien’s Auctions, emphasized that this high valuation reflects the increasing rarity of items associated with Cobain and Nirvana, making them some of the most sought-after collectibles in rock memorabilia.

The buyer, though remaining anonymous, is known to be a dedicated Nirvana fan hailing from the United States, boasting a background in finance. This winning bid signifies a significant appreciation of Cobain’s legacy, transcending time and generations.

nirvana_official_/ Instagram | Engraved on the guitar’s neck plate are the words “Boddah Lives,” referring to Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend.

A Musical Icon’s Raw Emotion

Director of Gallery Operations and Digital Production at Julien’s Auctions, Kody Frederick, spoke passionately about the guitar’s significance. He described how Cobain’s on-stage presence was an explosive blend of anger and emotion, and his treatment of his instruments reflected this intensity. Now, in pieces, the guitar is a poignant symbol of that turbulent era in music history.

Unique Characteristics of the Guitar

This guitar is not just any Stratocaster; it boasts unique features that make it an irreplaceable artifact of rock history. It’s adorned with a white pickguard, Gotoh tuners, and a Hot Rails pickup in the bridge position, a setup favored by Cobain for live performances.

Intriguingly, the message “Boddah Lives” is etched into the neck plate, referencing Cobain’s childhood imaginary friend. The auction house also noted that the guitar exhibits numerous marks and signs of extensive use, including missing chunks of wood from the rear of the body, rendering it unplayable.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame/ Instagram | Nirvana, with Cobain as the primary songwriter, created iconic hits such as “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” and the breakout 1991 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

A Story of Resilience

What makes this guitar even more remarkable is the possibility that Cobain didn’t destroy it in a rage. According to Julien’s Auctions, the modifications made to the guitar for live performances and the signs of wear suggest that Cobain may have smashed and then painstakingly repaired it to continue using in his music, emphasizing his commitment to his craft.

A Poignant Message

Beyond the signatures of Nirvana’s members, the guitar’s body carries a heartfelt message from Cobain to Mark Lanegan. Though Mark Lanegan passed away last year, his legacy endures. In this message, Cobain affectionately, albeit with a misspelling, writes, “Hell-o Mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar,” offering a glimpse into the camaraderie between these two musical souls.

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