Skip to content

Nirvana’s Smashed ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Bass Will Go on the Block

Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" bass smashing

Want to smell the bass guitar used in Nirvana’s game-changing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video? You potentially can, but it might cost you a little bit more than Rihanna’s Unapologetic “Diamonds Executive Platinum Box.” As Ireland’s Independent reports (via Pitchfork and NME), the bass Kurt Cobain famously demolishes at the end of the Nevermind-era clip is headed for the auction block next month.

According to Art Daily, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic originally bought the ’60s Japanese Zen-On bass guitar at a local pawn shop, knowing he’d need something cheap to wreck in the video shoot. But the body of the damaged bass, which is being sold without a neck, should sell for anything but a low price. When it goes to auction at Christie’s of London on November 29, it’s expected to fetch between £15,000 and £25,000 ($24,168 and $40,280).

The auction ought to be a windfall for someone. According to Art Daily, a teenager on a trip to Los Angeles with his parents signed up to be an extra in the video, and he’s the person who took home the guitar after the shoot. Sure beats going to Disneyland, huh?

Novoselic’s bass axe — okay, okay, nobody calls a bass guitar a “bass axe” — won’t be the only piece of musical memorabilia for sale at this particular auction. Also going on the block is a high school yearbook signed by a 17-year-old Bob Dylan. “Keep practicing the guitar and maybe someday you’ll be great!” wrote the then-Robert Zimmerman. The annual is expected to sell for £4,000 to £6,000 ($6,445 to $9,667).