Kurt Cobain Mustang Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 01/20/2014 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Kurt Cobain Mustang
It was made in Japan in the same factory as Kurt's actual Mustangs he got made for him. I'm a huge fan of Grunge music, and in particular Nirvana, so it was a pretty obvious choice.
 Sound: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 8.3
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reviews (3) pictures (3) 63 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Kurt Cobain Mustang Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
5 of 17 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 999.99

Purchased from: Sweetwater

Features: I'm actually reviewing the Kurt Cobain Mustang in Sonic Blue. It was made in Japan in the same factory as Kurt's actual Mustangs he got made for him. It has 22 Vintage frets with a rosewood fretboard and a maple neck. Its an Alder body, not poplar like the 65' re-issues. The finish is superb and the colour is awesome! It has your typical Fender Dynamic Vibrato featured on most Mustangs nowadays. I've only used it a few times seeing as I have only had it a week and with the new strings it sends it straight out of tune. It also has a Fender designed tune-o-matic bridge for more stable tuning and it has the Vintage tuners to match. Electronic wise it has a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge and a Mustang Single coil in the neck. It has recessed slider so when your strumming hard it is harder to hit them and shut the whole guitar down by accident. // 9

Sound: I play alot of Grunge, Punk, Rock, Metal etc and this guitar is very versatile. I'm still tweaking my pedals and amps to get the perfect tone for it but the humbucker matched with a single coil gives you the best of both worlds! Its nice and heavy when playing on the humbucker and nice and twangy when using the neck pick up! As with most single coils, it gets really noisy if you run it with heavy distortion but it handles slight overdrive really well, suiting it for bluesy playing and even some classic rock! I'm running it through a Randall RG75G3 with a DigiTech RP-55 and a Boss OS-2, but seeing as I have only had it for just under a week, I haven't found my favorite tone for it yet. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got the guitar out of the box, it was perfectly set up (even though it had come half way across the world to Australia from the USA) I needed to raise the neck pick up a tad just to get the volume nearly the same as the humbucker, which I can't see as being possible considering a single coils output is a bit less than that of a humbucker, but I've got it relatively close to even. The action was nice and low and it plays very fast because of the short scale neck (24"). Nothing was loose when I received it and there was not an imperfection or scratch anywhere to be found! // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't been in a band for ages but if I did start gigging in one, this guitar could defiantly stand up to the job! The hardware is all top notch, but as with all my guitars, I prefer strap locks over stock strap buttons, just to be on the safe side. It can definitely be used without a back up but I always take another guitar, seeing as I have a guitar more geared for metal loaded with EMG's. It seems like it has a nice thick finish and I plan on wearing through it as I don't plan on selling it any time soon! // 8

Overall Impression: For my styles of music, this is a perfect match. I'm a huge fan of Grunge music, and in particular Nirvana, so it was a pretty obvious choice. I've been playing for nearly 5 years and this is my first Fender and I'm quite happy with it, I plan on getting more Fender guitars further down the track. It there is one thing this guitar had, it would had to have had a case come with it. When I ordered it they had no cases instock to fit it so I just got them to triple box it with extra padding and it made it here fine. I just don't like the fact that Fender Australia stung me $240 for a case! If this thing was stolen, I'd find the guy who took it, and hit him on the head with the butt end like Kurt did at one show, except he wont be swinging back at me. If it broke down on me, I'd either get it repaired or replace it for sure! I've never played any other Mustangs so I can't really compare it to the re-issues or the vintages ones, but I'd probably love all Mustangs because of this one! I wish it also had standard Fender tuners as the Vintage ones aren't as easy to fine tune with! This guitar is definitely worth the money and its a very versatile axe! // 10

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overall: 8.8
Kurt Cobain Mustang Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 950

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: Bought this baby a few months ago, a true beauty!. The guitar is a Japanese Fender, which is actually made in the same factory Kurt's Mustangs were made (which is awesome). The guitar features a nice 24 inch scale (even though I'm like 6'3, it's really comfortable even with big hands), a mahogany fretboard with 22 frets, C-shaped neck. The body's alder (feels perfect, not too heavy, not too light). I got mine in Lake Placid Blue with the Comp stripe, looks great with the pearloid pickguard. The guitar features a classic Fender Dynamic Vibrato trem system, and the standard Fender Mustang style bridge (though I'm not sure about the bridge, maybe it's the Adjust-O-Matic), and two pickups - a standard Mustang pickup in the neck, and a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge. The controls feature one volume knob and one tone knob, and the classic 2 Mustang pickup switches (3 modes for each pickup - In phase, turned off and out of phase). The tuners a classic Vintage Mustang tuners, which stay in tune great (if you don't use the trem system). The guitar came with only the whammy bar, no case/gigbag or whatever. The only complains I do have is that the pickup switches aren't so great "on the fly" (especially if you need to switch pickups), and that the trem system keeps getting out of tune (which isn't so bad for me cause I don't use it). // 8

Sound: Ah, the sound. This baby is absolutely amazing, the humbucker gives it a crunchy and heavy tone, and the single coil gives it a smooth clean tone, which are fun to combine (especially with the great pickup configuration). I play lots of styles, everything from Blues and Rock N Roll to Heavy and Thrash Metal, and although she's mostly heavily distorted, this guitar sounds sweet when clean as well. I use the small Line 6 Spider IV 15W for now, and although it's a cheap amp, I can still hear the 1000$ worth of guitar through it. The neck pickup is a tiny bit noise when distorted (as do all single coil pickups), but the Duncan JB simply kicks *ss! You can really get a great, heavy tone out of it (such is Metallica, Megadeth, Maximum The Hormone and more), as well as the bluesy, BB King-ish tone. The pickup configuration is what makes the guitar truly amazing - if you put the two of them in "out of phase" mode, you'll get the twangy Telecaster sound! The 9 options available with the 2 pickups selectors makes it a truly versatile guitar! And of course, this one nailed the Cobain sound really well, and it's great for Grunge as well. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar came with a bit a tiny buzzing sound (which you can only hear if you pay attention, and play with no amp. With an amp, you won't notice it). The pickups were adjusted just right, no complains there. Otherwise - it's a great guitar, pretty well set up and ready to rock. The wood and finish of this guitar feels amazing, you can really move smoothly across the neck without any problems. I have nothing else to say but one thing, that this guitar truly pays off. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't played this one live yet, but I'm sure as hell it's not gonna break anytime soon. The hardware seems solid, no wobbling or anything like that. The strap buttons are rock-solid, and seems like they'll hold anything. I'd definitely use it without backup (although it's always good to have a backup, no matter how good your guitar is), this one is easily studio-recording material. The finish seems like it's gonna stay there for ever, though I haven't given it a really bad beating so I can't be sure. Overall great finish, great durability! // 9

Overall Impression: Overall - this guitar fits just perfect, the setup, the finish, the pickups, everything seems great! I've been playing for a few, and I've had my share of bad guitars, so this guitar is a few levels above what I used to have. I don't think there's something that I wish I've asked before, I watched pretty much every review of it and read every article before buying it. If it was stolen I'm not sure I'd buy it again, I mean sure I'd buy a Mustang again, but probably the Japanese 2-single coiled version in Candy Apple Red (I'm planning on buying it anyway someday, but that's somewhere in the distant future). I love almost everything about this guitar, the pickups, the tuners, the finish, everything's great. My favorite feature is probably the versatility of the pickup selectors, and the humbucker-single coil combination. The only thing I dislike is the fact that the Trem system gets out of tune fast (a few swings of the whammy bar and that's it), and the tiny buzz it has (though it can be fixed easily). I haven't really compared it much with other guitars in the same price range, mainly because as soon as they announced it I was fixated on it, but I did compare it with the Gibson Les Paul Studio, and the Fender American Telecaster, who are both great guitars, but they are too... Common, plus I love the "offset" Fenders, such as the Mustang, Jaguar, Jazzmaster and more. Only thing I wish it had was the matching headstock, to really go with the one Kurt used to have (although his Comp-stripe blue didn't have a humbucker). // 9

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overall: 8.6
Kurt Cobain Mustang Reviewed by: harry.loker, on january 20, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Red Dog Music

Features: This is a 2013 Made In Japan Fender Kurt Cobain Mustang. I have it in the Dark Lake Placid Blue with the racing stripe in lighter blue. The guitar has two pickups, a standard Mustang single coil in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JP Humbucker in the bridge position. The bridge is a adjusto-matic similar to what is found on Gibson/Epiphones. The body is made of Alder, and the neck is made of Maple and the fingerboard is Rosewood. It has two pickup selectors, one above each pickup, which each have the options in phase/off/out of phase. The two knobs are simply volume and tone respectively. It has a short scale neck at 24" and 22 frets. The neck is bolt-on and strangely has access to the truss rod by the neck pickup, rather than up at the headstock. It has the Fender Dynamic Vibrato tailpiece which came with a whammy bar. Chrome hardware. It is equipped with classic Mustang Vintage style tuners. // 8

Sound: My setup: Kurt Cobain Fender Mustang > Jim Dunlop Cry Baby > Boss BF-2 > Dr Tone DS-101 > EHX Small Clone > Fender Mustang IV Amplifier.

One of the main things I love about this guitar is how versatile it is - having a humbucker and a single coil allow for many varied tones. One thing I find to be a slight disappointment is the functionality of the tone knob - it sure as hell adds tone, but with it on any less than 75% it sounds flat and dead. This may be to some's tastes, but I feel that with the tone knob down the guitar almost sounds broken.

The JP humbucker sounds fat, full, and is lovely with nearly any amount of gain. This pickup is good for the kind of things I play, which would be grunge, pop punk, generic rock, and occasionally metal or classic rock. The sound is full and bright. I rarely mix the two pickups together, however the single coil functions well enough on its own - I use it for cleans and lighter songs. I find that while this pickup - a standard Mustang pickup - sounds good enough, it does not match up to say, a Fender Strat or Tele for lighter tones - it falls short on emphasising the treble sometimes. If, like myself, your seldom interested in making music that needs to be clean, then this shouldn't bother you. 

If you leave your amp on a clean tone, and play with the single coil, you get the nice clean tone I previously described - but when you switch to the Humbucker it can get reasonably dirty - even without any distortion applied. I think this is a testament to the JP's ferociusness. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up near perfectly when I received it however the first thing I'd with it was restring it with a fresh set of Ernie Ball Slinky Beefy strings - if I don't use something thick enough, I usually end up snapping them. The action was set up just how I like it - medium height. There was a tiny dent in the paint on the top horn of the guitar, but I didn't mind this, its barely noticeable and it only makes the guitar feel more personal. This guitar feels TIGHT. No rattles, no unsourceable shaking or vibrations. Everything is put together as closely as could be possible, and it feels like a quality guitar. I think the Adjusto-matic bridge that is equipped is much more reliable and steadfast than the standard Mustang bridge and I can see why Kurt would have swapped it - I own the Squier Vintage Modified Mustang and the original bridge on that - which is similar to a Fender Mustang's - was simply awful; I ended up swapping it out. The pickup selectors differ slightly from the standard ones as they are "trimmed" - in that they aren't as tall. This reduces the chances of you catching them accidentally as you play to almost 0%. The bridge unfortunately comes out of tuning almost instantaneously upon even light usage of the whammy bar but I don't use this so not a worry for me. The tuners - standard Mustang Vintage Style tuners - hold tuning exactly as would be wanted (so long as the whammy bar isn't being used) and allow easy switching onstage to similar tuning variations, I often swap between standard and drop D at gigs and have no problems; don't expect to be able to move between tunings that are too far apart without difficulty however - tuning down to half a step requires at least a few minutes of playing and say, 3 "tunes" to ensure that the strings stay in position. This could be considered a testament to how much the tuners want to stay in the tuning that they are accustomed to at the time! The posts on the tuners are 'split' in that they differ from a Strat or most other Fenders - they do not have a head and I find them much easier to string. They also look much tidier.

A small bonus - I find that whenever I snap a string with this guitar, it doesn't fully "snap" - it breaks at the bridge and its simply the core of the string coming loose from the outer, resulting in it becoming unusably loose. This has probably saved me from the string whipping my hand and cutting me numberous times. I have no idea if its even the guitar that's doing this, but I'd like to think its the bridge and so far, I've had not a single string break any other way besides this. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have played multiple times live with this guitar, mostly without a backup, and never had any problems. This guitar is small, handy, and I don't feel scared to thrash about and really play the guitar. The hardware seems solid and I wouldn't expect it to break any time soon or through old age. The coating is solid, I've owned this guitar around 6 months and it hasn't worn off at all - I understand this isn't long to judge it, but for a high end Fender I'd be surpirsed and pretty miffed off if the paint starting flaking any time within the next half century. The only bad thing about the finish, perhaps because its in Dark Lake Placid Blue, which is slightly sparkly, and not a plan colour - it seems to "scratch" quite easily. Nothing major, and you can only see it when the guitar is tilted correctly in the light. I'm presuming this is simply the nature of the colour of the guitar. The colour makes up for this by looking different in a simply spectacular fashion under different lights - most of the time it looks the colour it appears as, but sometimes it looks purple or even dark green. The guitar has tiny dents in it from playing, but this is just natural wear and I don't believe any guitar is immune to this. Even when dented, the paint remains in place, making it much harder to notice.

The strap locks are reliable - nothing much to say about this. They don't wobble, like basically any other moderate plus guitar you've ever played. // 9

Overall Impression: My verdict - I love this guitar. It matches my music playing to the T. I'd like to think I've been playing long enough to judge well, at 2 and a 1/2 years, and I've tried to remain unbias in my judgements! This guitar smashes the hell out of my Squier Vintage Modified Mustang. If this guitar were stolen, I would probably buy something different - but through no fault of the guitar; solely because I don't have enough money to afford unlimited guitars and I would want to try something else out. The guitar is seriously top quality though. The main features that draw me to this guitar are the tonal variety that can be achieved with the mix of pickups, the beautiful finish, and the general sheen of "quality" that surrounds the guitar. If I had to pick three things that I dislike about the guitar it would be that the Truss Rod adjustor is near the neck pickup rather than near the headstock, that the bridge is a Fender issue rip of the the Gotoh Tune-O-Matic, and that The Tone knob seems to sound broken when down low.

If I had the opportunity to add to this guitar, I would probably swap out the Neck Pickup - not because it isn't good, but just because it could be better. I don't know what I would switch it to without thought. Overall, great guitar. // 9

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