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Kurt Cobain's 'Unplugged' guitar sells for record $6 million

Kurt Cobain's guitar sold for 6 million dollars in Beverly Hills (California) on 20 June, 2020.
Kurt Cobain's guitar sold for 6 million dollars in Beverly Hills (California) on 20 June, 2020. © AFP
3 min

The guitar that grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain played during his 1993 MTV 'Unplugged' performance sold for a record 6 million dollars. The instrument is the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction.

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The guitar used by Kurt Cobain during the recording of Nirvana's famous MTV "Unplugged" concert in 1993 sold for six million dollars on 20 June at an auction organised by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California (USA). 

The buyer is Australian entrepreneur Peter Freedman, founder of the company Røde Microphones. 

Freedman said he planned to display the guitar in a worldwide tour, with proceeds going to benefit performing arts.

"When I heard that this iconic guitar was up for auction I immediately knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure it and use it as a vehicle to spotlight the struggles that those in the performing arts are facing and have always faced," the Australian added.

Until now, the most expensive guitar in history was a Fender Stratocaster, dubbed "Black Strat", used by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.

It was sold by the musician for nearly $4 million during a charity sale in June 2019.

A rare model

The retro acoustic-electric 1959 Martin D-18E that Cobain strummed for Nirvana's career-defining performance in New York is a rare model made by the American luthier Martin in only 302 copies.

The guitar played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's acclaimed MTV Unplugged performance in 1993.
The guitar played by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana's acclaimed MTV Unplugged performance in 1993. © Julien's Auctions/AFP

It complied with the rules of MTV's "Unplugged" show, which required guest artists to use only acoustic or semi-acoustic instruments.

The guitar was sold with its case, which Cobain had decorated with a flyer from punk rock band Poison Idea's 1990 album Feel the Darkness.

'Greatest live album'

Nirvana's acoustic performance during the popular MTV show on 18 November 1993 occurred just five months before Cobain's suicide at age 27 and became what is considered one of history's greatest live albums. 

It included renditions of Nirvana's hits About A Girl and Come As You Are along with covers including David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World.

In October 2019, Cobain's cigarette-burned cardigan worn during the "Unplugged" performance sold for $334,000.

(with AFP)

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