1974/77 Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3

Univox Hi Flier Kurt Cobain StickersThis is one of the first guitar Kurt ever bought. Looking at these photos – which as far as we know don’t have an official dating, we see Kurt playing a Univox guitar. But, since we don’t have a clear date on the pictures were taken, let’s try and figure it out.


1974/77 Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3 #2

Univox Hi Flier Phase 3 Cobain

It is important to note that another sunburst Univox Hi-Fliers appeared in early 1988. Although identical spec-wise, this one had absolutely no stickers on it and the pickguard wasn’t painted pink – so it appears to be a different guitar. Toward late 1988 this guitar too was decorated with some stickers, and the neck pickup was removed most likely to be placed in the Greco Mustang (mentioned below).



Greco Mustang

Greco Mustang Copy Kurt Cobain

This guitar appeared in late 1988. It was his first left-handed guitar, and it seems that Kurt modified it pretty heavily.

Kurt bought the guitar at Guitar Maniacs shop in Tacoma, WA. He probably wanted to build something of his own, so he sanded down the logo on the headstock and gutted out all the electronics. He used a piece of his old Univox for a control plate, and he installed a single humbucker in the bridge – which also seems to be originating from the same Univox. A hole for the single-coil in the neck was also carved out but left empty.


1974/77 Univox Hi Flier Phase 3 #3

Univox Hi-Flier Kurt Cobain Maple Natural

Right as the Greco Mustang disappeared in mid 1989 (probably trashed on one of the concerts), another Univox Hi-Flier with maple neck and natural finish took it’s place.

What is interesting is that in June that same year Kurt started using another Univox guitar, which looked pretty unusual to say the least. It had a red-sunburst finish, which didn’t look professionally done at all, and what is even more strange  – the burst was present on the headstock too. As far as we know – that type of a finish wasn’t available on factory models, so our guess is that Kurt had done it himself – which shouldn’t be surprising at all considering he experimented on guitars previously (Greco Mustang).


1973 Fender Mustang

1973 Fender Mustang Cobain

This was Kurt’s first Fender Mustang. He used it only for few gigs in 1989, during which he damaged it couple of times – and finally trashed it beyond repair in July 1989 at Maxwell’s in New Jersey. That same night he destroyed his other guitar (Univox Hi-Flier) so on the next gig he only sang, with Jason Everman playing all the guitar parts.

The guitar was a regular right-handed model, and featured three tone sunburst finish, rosewood fretboard, and white pearloid pickguard. Kurt installed a Univox humbucker in the bridge position, and got rid of the neck pickup altogether.


1974/77 Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3 #4

Univox Hi Flier White Rosewood

Another Univox Phase 3 Hi-Flier appeared right after Maxwell gig when Kurt destroyed some of his guitars. This one was white, and featured two humbuckers and rosewood fretboard.

Allegedly he had some problems with the guitar and ended up leaving it aside and started using a red Hagstrom instead.




Hagstrom II F-200

Hagstrom II F 200

Kurt played this Hagstrom for couple of gigs in Europe in late 1989. The guitar was most likely bought in Germany, and it featured red finish, two single-coil pickups, and a stop tail-piece.

Kurt smashed this guitar in November 1989 in Italy.




1980s Washburn Force 31

Washburn Force 31

This guitar was used for a very brief period of time in the late 1989. It was built in Japan and featured black finish with a matching headstock color, rosewood fretboard, and a humbucker in the bridge position.

Kurt smashed it on December 3rd, 1989 at Astoria Theatre.




1970s Gibson SG

Gibson SG Kurt Cobain

Kurt played this guitar only for only couple of gigs in early 1990. He ended up smashing it beyond repair in Tijuana, Mexico in February.

The guitar originally belonged to Sluggo Cawley, the guitarist of the band The Grannie. Kurt gave him his 1973 Fender Mustang in exchange for this Gibson SG which at the time was hanging on his wall. He painted the guitar light blue, and fitted it with a humbucker in the bridge from one of his Univox guitars.