Kurt Cobain Signature Mustang VS 2002 Competition Mustang Reissue

$4,500,000 was the final closing price for the infamous “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video guitar at Julien’s Auctions. Well, since that is ridiculous, here is my replica! A 2002 Japanese 🇯🇵 1969/1973 reissue, Ocean Turquoise, Competition Mustang with matching headstock and racing stripe. The bridge pickup (on both guitars) was swapped out. A Seymour Duncan 1990’s Hot Rails on the 2002 and a SH-4 JB on the Cobain model (stanard from Fender). The horrible stock Fender bridge was swapped out with a Gotoh GE104B – ABR-1 Gibson Style – Tune-o-matic Bridge. This was done by wrapping electrical tape around the posts til it fit snug. And YES, this is how Kurt’s guitar tech Earnie Bailey did it.

Often called “Lake Placid Blue” or “Burgundy Blue” in the late 1960’s and early 70’s… the older Fender clear coat ages yellow over the years. This produces a more teal/blue hue which leads me to my 2012 Made in Japan Kurt Cobain Signature Mustang. Back in 2012 Fender made a signature line of Kurt Cobain Mustangs much like they did with the Jagstang (1995–2001, 2003–2005, 2021–present). The KC Mustang is a 1969/1973 style neck and contoured body. It was offered in Lake Placid Blue (with racing stripes), Fiesta Red and Sonic Blue (Skystang2). All of them had a Seymor Duncan JB Humbucker in the bridge position, Gotoh bridge and lowered pickup switches.

Now… The Skystang and Oranj-Stang (Fiesta Red) offered by Fender were pretty spot on. For some reason their attention to detail on the 1969 Competition Mustang fell short.
  1. It had a Seymour Duncan HB in the bridge instead of the Hot Rails.
  2. The paint was way off. Dark Lake Placid blue, like a 1969 Fender probably looked like off the assembly line in its day. That paint job is a color-shifter. Sometimes it looks more blue, green or teal depending on the lighting.
  3. And most noticeably there was no matching headstock.
With all those things factored in I began searching for a 2002-2004 MG73/MG69, Made in Japan, Ocean Turquoise Metallic with Matching Headstock and competition racing stripe. These elusive suckers only popped up about once a month from this past January to April. They were never sold in the US market. I got caught sleeping on two opportunities to snag one, so when I found one mislabeled online at 4am I jumped on it.  I honestly wanted it because of the matching headstock and the opportunity to install a Hot Rails. ( All my other guitars have Duncan, Dimarzio or EMG HB’s already) But most importantly the paint job. I am also not a “vintage guitar guy”, nor would I want to shell out $5000-$6000 on an actual 1969 model. I found that the Ocean Turquoise was the closest reissue to Kurt’s comp-stang.
Fender has made a few cash-grabs with Cobain signature models from 1996-2012, then again with the KC Jaguar reissue. But they were reasonably priced. And yes, I am a nerd, I own all of them. However, recently The “Cobain tax” has gotten outrageous so I just started building my own replicas.
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