Kurt Cobain's Moserite

A look at Kurt Cobain’s Moserites

Did Kurt Cobain play a Moserite? Yes, he did. Kurt owned two real Moserite guitars during his life, one was a Moserite Gospel Mark IV, while the other was a Mark V. 

The Mark IV was only owned by Kurt however for a year (in 1990), before the guitar disappeared only to surface in the MoPoP museum

Kurt was famously seen playing Moserite guitars, although the vast majority of them were actually Univox mimics. They had the same style and the same look, although they weren’t the real deal.

What is a moserite guitar?

Double neck Moserite
Double neck Moserite

Mosrite guitars are incredibly rare and are known for their unique design and their contribution to music history.

Founded in 1952 by Semie Moseley, the Mosrite brand emerged from California, USA. Initially producing high-quality amplifiers and guitars. The brand gained popularity in the 1960s and ’70s, particularly for its link to surf rock music. 

Semie Moseley was a visionary luthier and more importantly a guitarist himself. He would become an apprentice for Rickenbacker in America before starting his own company, making custom-designed guitars.

The Moserite company may live on although the authenticity of current models is hard to prove, especially since Semie Moseley’s passing. 

The effect Kurt had on the popularity of the Moserite

Cobain’s use of Mosrite guitars, notably the Mark IV, helped reignite interest in the brand and elevated it to cult status among musicians and collectors alike.

Kurt’s guitars sell for a fortune, and people are dedicated to recreating his tone. This makes any Moserite that boasts a Ventures II body shape a hot commodity on the market. 

This amount of influence is fundamentally crazy, especially since Kurt’s usage of the guitars was very limited.

"But there were other Moserites Kurt Used?"

Kurt Cobain's Univox
Kurt's Univox (image: JuliensLive)

Kurt’s other “Moserites” were actually Univox guitars. When the band was still starting out and developing their signature sound, Kurt Cobain’s financial constraints led him to rely on more budget-friendly options like Univox guitars.

Notably, he used a Univox Hi-Flyer guitar. These guitars were in rotation during the late 1980s and early 1990s. These guitars closely resembled the design of the Mosrite Gospel guitar and were seen as knock-offs.

Cobain’s unique guitar playing went well with these Univox guitars. This meant that their humbucker pickups and distinct tone contributed to the raw and powerful sound that Nirvana became known for.

Kurt can actually be seen playing a Univox in the music video to “Heart-Shaped Box”. 

The Specs of Kurt Cobian's Moserite

Kurt Cobain's Moserite Mark IV
Kurt Cobain's Moserite Mark IV (Credit: Deviantart)

Kurt Cobain’s Real Moserite Mark IV came with two single-coil pickups one at the bridge and one at the neck. This is combined with a tone control, a volume control, and a selector switch, which makes tone switching and sculpting easier. 

It had a Bigsby vibrato arm on its bridge. The guitar had a classic sunburst finish. 

How much did Kurt's Moserite sell for?

The guitar has been sold twice since the artist’s death, once in 2004 and again in 2006. The last price it had been sold for was $131,000. 

Since this sale, the guitar has been on display in the MoPop museum in Seattle. 

If you want to see more of Kurt Cobain’s iconic guitars head here!


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