Kurt Cobain Jaguar review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (97 votes)
Fender: Kurt Cobain Jaguar
5

Sound — 8
The combination of the DiMarzio humbuckers and the interesting wiring schematic gives this a wholly unique sound. There isn't another Fender that can do anything quite like it. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the player. It sure doesn't have a 'Fender' sound to it but that may be part of the attraction for some. I'd say the DiMarzio's give it a little more sustain than the company's usual signature guitars and it's versatile enough where you can push some different types of distortion besides the grunge factor. Check out the video for sound examples.

Overall Impression — 8
I've never been the biggest fan of paying up to have a guitar look like it's been beat up. It seems like cheating, and believe me I've never had any problems when it comes to systematically ruining the finish on a guitar. However, this being a 'tribute' and not just a run-of-the-mill Road-Worn, there's a little more to it. Rightfully so, a lot of people will balk at the price-tag for a Mexican-produced guitar (especially when the country of origin is possibly the only inaccuracy from the original), but after picking it up and playing it, it feels like it's priced about right. Philosophically, you may or may not have an issue with Fender making a few bucks off a dead rock star who almost certainly would not have enthusiastically endorsed such a product, but I think they did a pretty tasteful job. Or at least slightly more tasteful than say... I don't know... Publishing his diary or something.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The best thing about having a relic-ed guitar is that you don't really need to worry too much about dinging it up. It feels very sturdy and the quality of the components is obvious. The Fender textured vinyl hardshell case is one of the best in the business so you can gig it with confidence.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I'm a little conflicted about grading a relic guitar's finish because it's, obviously, supposed to look like it's in pretty rough shape. It's not as if Fender is new to this kind of thing (see the Road-Worn series) but what they did with this model is particularly impressive. You can tell that a tremendous amount of detail was given to every aspect of the build, they even jammed dirt into the grooves of the pickup screws. Despite everything they've done to make the guitar look completely beat up, it still plays and feels like a new guitar. Part of this effect I attribute to the fact that the neck has a super bright, white binding. Still, as far as mass-produced relic jobs go, it's the best one I've seen.

Playability-wise, it's exactly what we've all come to expect from any Mexican-made Fender, which is 'pretty-good-not-great'. The dings on the back of the neck do nothing to slow it down. I'm still giving it a 9 just because the relic is that good.

Features — 8

YouTube preview picture


Due to it being a tribute guitar, there are quite a few nice features. There's the Road-Worn aged finish and hardware treatment, which we'll get to in a minute, it has a Strat headstock, a very unique pickup wiring configuration (see the video), a really nice black textured vinyl hardshell case, and an exclusive book featuring photography by Charles Peterson and an exclusive interview with Nirvana's guitar tech. You also have the option of going with a lefty model, which is the only Jag Fender currently offers in that orientation. Sadly though, these features come at a price, which is $1299 retail, and almost $1900 list. For a Mexican-made guitar, that's kind of outrageous.

92 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vendettagainst
    Who is Curdt Kobane again? LOL. Seriously though is IS a really cool Jaguar with its one-of-a-kind selection of knobs. Fanboy or not, its a majorly cool guitar. I mean SRV's signature Strat has all the nicks and dents, Cobain was to "grunge" what Stevie was to blues, a modern hero of unprecedented magnitude. The Cobain Mustang kicks ass too, whether youre a NIRVANA maniac or not, Kurt played some majorly cool guitars. (and some shitty ones too of course). I'd like to see Martin do a Cobain Edition of the modded acoustic he used on MTV Unplugged!
    nickspa
    I've been wanting to see that acoustic for years! I think it'd be a bad ass guitar to mess around with
    Pazz91
    its nice that they do videos to actually hear the guitar but they kind of forgot to say how it is distorted
    crash4316
    Seriously?! Are you by any chance related to Brick from Anchorman? Dude!
    MrFlibble
    "Fender has decided to commemorate the achievements of the late Cobain with a thoughtful and meticulous reissue of his 1965 Jaguar" Commemorate = cash in Thoughtful = "I've had a thought! Kurt Cobain tribute guitar! That'll make us a shitload of money!" Meticulous = as good as Fender can make it providing the largest profit margin. I actually have nothing against Fender putting this out, it's their job to manufacture and sell guitars so no complaints there, but don't pretend that this is any loving tribute from the heart. This is entirely business. Which is fine, just don't try to claim otherwise.
    rockfreak611
    DrainYou1967 wrote: Also, fair amount of success? You sir are an idiot. They were the biggest band around.
    it appears that no one on UG understands what sarcasm is, even when it's explained in the comments section where you just posted. Also, This:
    MrFlibble wrote: "Fender has decided to commemorate the achievements of the late Cobain with a thoughtful and meticulous reissue of his 1965 Jaguar" Commemorate = cash in Thoughtful = "I've had a thought! Kurt Cobain tribute guitar! That'll make us a shitload of money!" Meticulous = as good as Fender can make it providing the largest profit margin. I actually have nothing against Fender putting this out, it's their job to manufacture and sell guitars so no complaints there, but don't pretend that this is any loving tribute from the heart. This is entirely business. Which is fine, just don't try to claim otherwise.
    Dukey
    It's so NOT Kurt Cobain to have a signature guitar! I must say that as a huge Nirvana, Kurt is not a great guitar player! Most of his tremedous talent is in his songwriting and especially in his singing... From what I heard in the video, it's a good guitar. I'm wondering how does it sound with an overdrive or a distortion...
    gage.cochran
    I've been lucky enough to lay my hands on my friend's dad's 1965 Jaguar. it gave me an instant erection listening to the distortion setting on his Marshall amp. but he has my most favorite amp in the entire world too. I'm not sure about this jaguar, but i assume its great
    shiggityswah
    Why do kids act as though they knew Cobain personally, and spray lines of "this is not what Kurt would have wanted" all over the internet?
    noisewall11
    while it's more than impossible that any of these kids would have know what he would want on a personal level, keep in mind that we're talking about a guy whose private journal has been published for the whole world to see. not to mention you would die of old age before you could see every interview with kurt/nirvana, video or written.
    Lateralus05
    Its funny how they made a guitar with so much features for a Kurt Cobain signature when in reality he wrote most of his songs with $50 left handed guitars he would get at a pawn shop
    67_67
    colashanacogh wrote: if it was a real tribute it would be left-handed.
    There is a lefty version available.
    WantsLesPaul
    shiggityswah wrote: Why do kids act as though they knew Cobain personally, and spray lines of "this is not what Kurt would have wanted" all over the internet?
    Kurt wouldn't have wanted to know them personally
    Vendettagainst
    I can understand how people who know "the hits" or whatever, or, metalheads, etc, think the Kurdt was a "shitty guitarist", but I challenge anyone who thinks that to dig deeper, listen to some live shows, and especially listen to his early music, much of which remains unreleased, when he was actually more "metal"-sounding. He really DIDNT suck at guitar. He just CHOSE to play music that was insanely melodic and catchy as ****, and that has stood the test of time. He was full-well capable of tearing it up, not in a way that would appeal to metalheads, but in his own unique and highly distinctive style, which is the mark of a true artist. Guys that can shred a million miles an hour but can't write a song to save their lives are a dime a dozen. NIRVANA is beautiful, honest, interesting, and FUNNY, all while kicking your ass. Anyway bottom line, if you think he "Sucked at guitar", take another look at some of his lesser known music.
    SlashWannabe1
    A Signature Nirvana/Cobain guitar is like a fat person having a signature cupcake...is it really necessary?
    ibanez2011
    I played this last night at guitar center, it's pretty nice but there is no way in hell I'm paying $1300 for a mexican fender..... I could buy a les paul for that kind of cash. If it was made in the us I might get it but that's just insane
    S2S
    I can not even begin to comprehend how astronomically dumb some of these replies are. The lead-in is CLEARLY a joke you morons. How could you possibly not understand this? Even if you're only thirteen and worship Nirvana just because you can play the first three notes of "Come As You Are", that's still no excuse for being such a tremendous tool.
    Air_Stryker
    Cazman wrote: "Nirvana achieved a moderate amount of success in the 90's" As someone already mentioned before: moderate? Are you serious?
    As dozens have already mentioned before. Sarcasm.
    Natrone
    "Philosophically, you may or may not have an issue with Fender making a few bucks off a dead rock star who almost certainly would not have enthusiastically endorsed such a product..." Ever heard of the Jagstang?
    severin
    Some of the people responding to this review are just freaking dense. That's all I can say. Obviously not strong on comprehension.
    swave75
    Vendettagainst wrote: Who is Curdt Kobane again? LOL. Seriously though is IS a really cool Jaguar with its one-of-a-kind selection of knobs. Fanboy or not, its a majorly cool guitar. I mean SRV's signature Strat has all the nicks and dents, Cobain was to "grunge" what Stevie was to blues, a modern hero of unprecedented magnitude. The Cobain Mustang kicks ass too, whether youre a NIRVANA maniac or not, Kurt played some majorly cool guitars. (and some shitty ones too of course). I'd like to see Martin do a Cobain Edition of the modded acoustic he used on MTV Unplugged!
    And Pat Smear's red white and blue one!!
    orince
    Cobain would Not approve this haha
    stonedhippos
    ...as if you knew him personally. though tbh, i would assume that the only thing Kurt wouldn't have approved of would be all of the shitty covers of his songs.
    gage.cochran
    Yeah and I'm sure bands like The Meat Puppets thought Kurt was shitty because he played a lot of their songs... not. I think there are still some good cover bands out there, even if most of them suck or don't deserve to attempt covering bands like Nirvana. But still at least they're trying man.
    ilikeroknroll
    "A lot of you might not know this, but Kurt Cobain was the lead singer/guitar player for a band called Nirvana." If someone on UG doesn't know Kurt Cobain, I'm shooting my brains out...
    jee5678
    honestly who gives a sh*t if kurt would have wanted it or not, isnt it a point of what the fans/customers want????? some of you honestly just sit there and wait to wine and complain....get a life!!!!
    You're totally right. Who gives a sh#t what those f*cking b@tchy emo artists want? It should be all about what we fans demand of the artists. And even though Kurt would have found it horrifying that Fender was using his name to turn a very shameless buck (not to mention that a "signature" guitar arguably contradicts the entire spirit of Nirvana as a band), f#ck him!! He's dead, we're alive, so we should get to do whatever we want with his legacy. I think this gets at the bigger issue, though...all the music made today isn't tailored directly to me. I want the record labels to start telling artists what music they need to make, because, again, it's all about what fans/customers want. If artists wanted to express themselves honestly, they should have gone into accounting or become a politician rather than devoting their lives to an artistic medium. Yeah, so to all you guys who just sit back and "wine" (preferably with cheese), just remember one thing: art is not for the artists! I f%cking hate rkbls111 so very much, and I've never had to meet him once. Funny how the internet works...
    Fatally Sick101
    ilikeroknroll wrote If someone on UG doesn't know Kurt Cobain, I'm shooting my brains out...
    Just like Kurt Cobain did...(No disrespect meant to Kurt Cobain, I'm a huge Nirvana fan too.)
    Anjohl
    Bah, just buy a squier Jaguar and change the pickups. Will cost you $400. Or, for $600 swap the Squier for a mexi.
    rkbls111
    dropclutchfan1 wrote: I refuse to even want a guitar that is associated with that piece of shit hack who gets more praise than he deserves!
    ....and please explain to me how Kurt Cobain was a hack....im here all day...
    rkbls111
    Lateralus05 wrote: Its funny how they made a guitar with so much features for a Kurt Cobain signature when in reality he wrote most of his songs with $50 left handed guitars he would get at a pawn shop
    thats not true, he wrote most of the nevermind songs and pretty mcuh all of in utero with the competition mustang...and then the jaguar....after being signed to DGC...he would only take out the pawn shop guitars for endless nameless where he would smash them....he never smashed the jaguar or his mustangs
    rkbls111
    honestly who gives a sh*t if kurt would have wanted it or not, isnt it a point of what the fans/customers want????? some of you honestly just sit there and wait to wine and complain....get a life!!!! Now...not only am i a professional player, i am also a HUGE fan of Kurts and have been considering buying the Fender Japan Kurt Cobain Signature jaguar for YEARS....YES Fender Japan has had this guitar out for quite some time now....When i say Fender Japan, im talking about japans version of "American" made!!! Fender Japan is to Japan what American Fenders are to americans (see what i did there!!!) It is NOt, let me repeat...it is NOT the same as Made in Japan Fenders we have here in the US!! Now, like i was saying...I have had my eye on the FENDER JAPAN one for years but with iport rates, it was priced at over 2k on eBay...Fender Japan products are only available on eBay for Americans....I also considered making my own, BUT it is VERY hard to find a Strat neck in that profile with binding, SO it wouldnt have been an exact replica@!!! So, as soon as i saw fender was releasing this, i pre-ordered mine right away!!! I also figured this was going to be a novelty guitar, until i got it the day before XMas!!! I couldnt believe how great it looked, and above all how it sounded, INCREDIBLE!!! The only thing i had to do was install a shim in the neck pocket to lower the action a little bit....just another flaw is that it comes with 10-46 strings, Kurt used 10-52. This video does NOT do this guitar justice at all and im very surprised UG would have posted such a weak ass review!!! This guitar is incredible and offers two different settings for the neck PUP!! you can also use the slide switch as a kill switch for great effects!!! Fan or not of Cobains, this guitar IS WORTH THE MONEY, Mexican or not!!! YES, this guitar is made in MExico...people wonder how can a Mexican Fender be "sooo" much money, well take a look at one in person, look at the tremendous amount of detail in the relicing, then you will have your answer!!! Great guitar, horrible review!!!
    Basti95
    Glad to see Cobain is still contributing to making people money. I don't see who would want one outside a Nirvana cover band or rich fanboy's bedroom, but it's all good.
    SISO
    pailoong wrote: I want to get one and play in an 80's hair metal tribute band.
    LOL
    nico42
    This comment section might very well be the most embarrassing congregation of fangirls on the internet since the twilight forums.
    switch625DL
    pailoong wrote: I want to get one and play in an 80's hair metal tribute band.
    THIS is the best comment EVER. 80s all the way
    Marrowoflife
    The author of this review could not have been alive in the 90's. Moderate success? They could not have been any bigger.
    asdfjkl989
    "Alot of you might not know this but kurt cobain was the lead singer/guitarist for a band called Nirvana" this guy is a buffoon.