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Kurt Cobain’s black Fender Stratocaster is covered in scratches and wood chips. The names of Cobain and his former band, Nirvana, are misspelled. And the guitar itself, once broken and rebuilt, is no longer playable.
But on Saturday the broken guitar sold at Julien’s Auctions for a whopping $596,000 – almost 10 times more than the opening price – showing that the adoration for the rock icon is alive and well at almost 30 years after his death.
Cobain was known for destroying several Fender Stratocasters during his career. This particular instrument was shipwrecked while Cobain and his band were working on their landmark album, Nevermind, in the early 1990s.
The guitar was eventually repaired and gifted to his friend and musical collaborator, Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees.
“Hell-o Mark! Love, Your Pal, Kurdt Kobain / Washed up rockstar,” Cobain wrote in silver marker on the guitar body. Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl also signed their names.
Other iconic references on the Fender Stratocaster are the “Boddah Lives” lettering engraved on the neck plate, which refers to Cobain’s imaginary childhood friend. The guitar case also features the phrase “Abort Christ” written in large white letters.