By Christopher Scapelliti
A Hagstrom Deluxe solidbody electric guitar once owned by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is up for auction on eBay.
The guitar, which has a Blue Sparkle finish, is being offered by vintage guitar shop Black Book Guitars in Portland, Oregon, which has authenticated the instrument not once but twice. Both authentication documents will be provided with the guitar.
According to the auction description, Cobain played this Hagstrom in the early Nineties. After his death in 1994, Courtney Love, his widow, gave the guitar to one of Cobain’s friends. The auction doesn’t say who that person was except that they performed with “a prominent Northwest band.”
The guitar, which had rarely been played, eventually found its way to Black Book Guitars. Vintage guitar expert George Gruhn has confirmed the guitar is an authentic Hagstrom Deluxe. “We certify the guitar described below is, in our opinion, a Hagstrom Deluxe Model 90 P-46 made during the period 1958 through 1960,” Gruhn says.
Additionally, Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Bailey, who bought the Hagstrom for Cobain in late 1992, says the instrument is the same one he purchased for the guitarist. “I have inspected this vintage Hagstrom guitar and confirm it to be one that I purchased and converted to left handed orientation for Kurt Cobain of Nirvana,” he states.
Bailey, who’s shown with the guitar in the video below, says Cobain called him to ask if he could find this specific model for him.
“After locating this one, I told him of several other 1960s Italian-made sparkle finish guitars in local shops, and he requested that I buy every one that I could find,” Bailey says. “After delivering the guitars to his hotel room, he stated that he was keeping the Hagstrom as a Christmas gift to himself, and giving the remaining guitars away to his friends.”
Hagstrom launched as a musical instrument maker in Sweden in 1925. The company started out making accordions but added electric guitars to its lineup in the late Fifties in response to the popularity of rock and roll. The Deluxe was a solidbody guitar and featured the same sparkle and pearloid celluloid finish that Hagstrom used on its accordions. Hagstrom stopped production in 1983 but resumed in 2004 in response to interest and demand. The company lists a range of electric and acoustic guitars, basses and accessories at its website.
The auction ends on February 26, and anyone who wants to bid must be prequalified. Black Book Guitars will donate 10% of the auction sales to Transition Projects, a Portland-based non-profit organization that helps the city’s homeless transition to steady housing.
To see the auction, visit eBay.com.