Kurt Cobain’s stage-played DOD Grunge pedal sells at auction for $16,000

Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl of Nirvana
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic / Julien's Auctions)

Kurt Cobain’s DOD FX69 Grunge pedal has sold at auction for $16,000, as part of Julien’s Auctions Music Icons 2021 event.

The pedal was used during Nirvana’s show at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California, on December 29, 1993, during which Cobain threw the pedal offstage and joked, “Excuse me, that was my grunge pedal”. You can view the incident at around 28:56 in the video below.

Diana M. Costa, an audience member at the show that night, requested the stompbox from a member of the security team who had picked it up.

The pedal has Velcro underneath and gaffer tape on the side, the latter of which bears the text “12.29/ 9.44” – this represents the concert date and pedal voltage, according to Cobain’s guitar tech, Jim Vincent.

An original ticket stub and signed letter of authenticity from Costa accompany the stompbox.

DOD launched the Grunge pedal in 1993 to capitalize on the burgeoning Seattle sound. It was the first contribution from DOD pedal designer Jason Lamb, and went on to become the company’s most popular distortion pedal.

Cobain was famously disdainful about the word ‘grunge’ and the cultural phenomenon that surrounded it, so it’s entirely possible the pedal was used in part as a joke, hence its brief lifespan in his live guitar rig.

This particular pedal had previously been featured on the History channel’s Pawn Stars, where it failed to sell for $5,000 in 2015.

Its final selling price of $16,000 this time, however, exceeds that of Cobain’s battered Boss DS-1, which fetched $9,000 last year.

Other Cobain gear items featured in Julien’s Music Icons 2021 auction include a 1993 stage-used guitar pick (sold for $4,375), and a ‘Signature Edition’ budget electric guitar, signed by all three members of Nirvana (sold for $10,000).

As well as guitars from Eddie Van Halen and Prince, the auction’s big seller was a 1992 self-portrait caricature by Cobain, which went for a whopping $281,250 – 28 times its original estimate.

Kurt Cobain sketch Julien's Auctions

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.