Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Nirvana: Kurt Cobain MTV Unplugged guitar headed to auction

The guitar Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana’s 1993 performance on MTV Unplugged is among the items up for bids next month by Julien’s Auctions as part of their “Music Icons” event in Beverly Hills, CA.

With a starting estimate of $1 million, the 1959 Martin D-18E was used by Cobain for the “MTV Unplugged In New York” album, which was released a year after its taping and just seven months after the rocker took his own life at his home in Seattle, WA.

Recorded at Sony Music Studios on November 18, 1993 and first broadcast by MTV a few weeks later, the performance saw Nirvana deliver a 14-song set that mixed original tunes with tracks by David Bowie, Lead Belly and The Vaselines, and included a guest appearance on three Meat Puppets songs by band members Cris and Curt Kirkwood.

The Unplugged record debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 on its way to sales of more than 5 million copies in the country and a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

The seventh of only 302 D-18Es built by Martin and customized by Cobain, who added a Bartolini pickup to the soundhole, the guitar comes with its original hard-shell case decorated by the rocker with a flyer from the punk rock band Poison Idea’s 1990 album "Feel The Darkness"; three baggage claim ticket stubs are attached to the handle, along with an Alaska Airlines sticker affixed to the case. The storage compartment of the case also contains Cobain’s half-used pack of Martin guitar strings, three guitar picks, and his suede "stash" bag decorated with a miniature silver spoon, fork, and knife.

"Julien’s Auctions is proud to offer this historic guitar from Kurt Cobain, who upended the music industry and pop culture at large with his mythic performance fronting Nirvana on MTV Unplugged in New York," says Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. "This important guitar has earned its rightful place in Rock ’N’ Roll history as the instrument played by one of rock’s most influential musicians and icons in one of the greatest and most memorable live performances of all time."

Cobain’s guitar is the featured headliner in the June 19-20 sale of Nirvana-related merchandise by the auction house, which also includes a black custom-made and smashed Fender Stratocaster guitar used by Cobain while performing with Nirvana on the 1994 In Utero Tour (estimate: $60,000-$80,000), a metallic silver lame long sleeve button-down shirt worn by the artist in Nirvana’s 1993 "Heart-shaped Box" music video (estimate: $10,000-$20,000) and a copy of Nirvana’s 1989 "Bleach" CD cover signed "Kurdt" and inscribed with drawings by Cobain (estimate: $1,000-$2,000), among many other items.

For more details regarding the “Music Icons” event, visit juliensauctions.com.

See also:

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