1). During the "Bleach" (34)-era, Randall heads (the "Commander," allegedly) were used in conjunction with the Japanese Epiphones noted in "Guitars" section and whatever cabinets were available. It was said he later used a Sunn-Beta Lead head driving 4X12 Peavey cabinets also during the Bleach era (32). This may be true, but he also used a BFI Bullfrog 2x12 cabinet of which he only had one (59) and a Randall head (57). See #13 below and also the "Recording/Tour Gear" section for more details.
2). Mesa/Boogie Studio Preamp (56)(57), rack-mounted, tubed with either Mesa/Boogie or Groove Tubes 7025 preamp tubes (59). Kurt said he turned all the midrange up (57). This was the amp set-up for the latter part of the "Nevermind" tour and all of the "In Utero" tour (57). As a side note, Kurt didn't break any "important" equipment during the In Utero tour (40). The first Studio Preamp Kurt had was given to Pat, and Earnie ordered three more for the "In Utero" tour... two new ones for Kurt and a spare for Pat. "I kept tons of spares of everything on hand to avoid being stranded and unable to get parts, and to make sure the show never stopped due to a dead amp. I really liked the long, drawn out demolition sessions, and the more indestructible the amp rigs were, this part of the show would last as long as the guitar would, sometimes longer" (59).
3). 4 Crown 800W power amps (9)(22). This never worked out very well and was "a particular source of frustration" for "Nevermind" tour tech, Nick Close. He says the band didn't have a lot of spending money yet, and because of time and money a lot of gear which would have worked better for Kurt didn't get tried. Plus, Kurt wasn't a gear head and didn't want to take the time to sit down and talk about what could be done. The output on the Boogie Studio preamp was so hot, the Crown power amp would blow up a lot and have to be repaired. The Crown was replaced with:
4). Two Crest 4801 power amps. Finally, they found amps which could take the beating. Earnie Bailey called these "the amp that wouldn't die" (41)(57).
5). Kurt also used a Carver power amp (20)(59), which are made in the northwest and are very unique, Earnie tells me (59).
6). Fender Twin Reverb. 1982 blackface 135-watt "Ultra-Linear" model (57). Very clean in sound. It had missing knobs, broken off pots, and a fallen in jack when Earnie took it in for a makeover. It was functioning but the pots crackled and it only had two Peavey 6L6 power tubes in it (which meant it was only running on half the power)-- Kurt didn't know how it worked with only two output tubes but felt it was the key to its sound. Earnie knew it would sound even better with 4 matched power tubes. He replaced the two Peavey 6L6's with a quartet of Groove Tubes 6L6's (GE or Sylvania) and biased it for him, as well as fixed all of the above. The amp had 7025 preamp tubes (59). Earnie pulled a prank on Kurt for the "In Utero" rehearsals and told Kurt he only cleaned the pots. Kurt said it sounded better than ever and Earnie let him in on the secret (41)(57)(59). Used for recording "In Utero" (32) and "Unplugged." See each section for more details on this amp.
7). Marshall 4x12 cabinets (seen in many 15), visable in most any concert footage or photographs. For the live set-up on the "Nevermind" tour (very similar to the setup for "Nevermind" album), the individual speakers were 25 watt Greenbacks, 75 watt Celestions, and then Vintage 30's (Kurt's favorite) (41). The predominant speakers of this tour were the Celestion 75's (59). I believe Jim Vincent told me the speakers during the "In Utero" tour were 25 watt Greenbacks (40), but Earnie says they were Vintage 30's (59). During their last tour Kurt used 8 cabinets, Chris 8, and Pat 4 (32). Pat received Kurt's old 4x12's with the Celestion 75's when Kurt got his new ones with the V30's (59). See #18 in this section for more on Kurt's Marshall 4x12's.
8). Small, red
vinyl Marshall "ministack/microstack" head and cabinets (seen
7). This was just for fun, it was never used or plugged in. Supposedly at
the fall 1993 show in Chicago, Kurt asked the crowd if they wanted him to
break anything; he picked up the MiniStack and threw it across the stage (10).
9). Fender Champ (25).
10). 70's Peavey Vintage with the fake vinyl tweed covering, 2x12, tube model. One of Kurt's first amps along with a small 10-watt amp given to him by his uncle(57). The Peavey was his favorite amp. Kurt's father gave it to Goodwill; Kurt was always trying to find another one (41). Another source simply says the amp "disappeared sometime between early 1986 and late 1987" after it was loaned to Krist when trying to get him to join the band. With this amp and an unknown guitar, sold and retrieved from a pawn shop and almost lost again when loaned to a drug dealer, Kurt formed his first band in 1985-- Fecal Matter (57).
11). The Mesa/Boogie amp head we've all wondered about from the Jonathan Ross show is said to be a Strategy 400 Stereo, stereo power amp, rackmounted. Thanks to Matt Salleo of the Krist Bass FAQ who saw a picture of this head in a two-year old issue of the "Australian Music Trader" magazine (source info?), or something to that effect (10).
12). '68 Fender Twin. Used for recording "Bleach" and also the Reciprocal Studio session (59)(54). See "Recording of Bleach" for more info.
13). A Randall amp (probably solid-state), possibly a "Commander," was used on 1/23/88 session when Dale was on drums. It was probably also used that summer at the "Love Buzz" session. Not used on "Bleach," however (54). If this amp was only a head, it was probably used in conjuction with a BFI Bullfrog 4x12 cabinet, the Epiphone ET270 guitar, and a Boss DS-1)(57).
4x12 speaker cabinets. Seen at least once, at the Beehive Record Store
on 9/16/91 (57).
15). Marshall head and cabs seen on the "Top of the Pops" show were NOT used (seen (15)).
16). Kurt's actual rack (which held his rackmounted preamp and power amps) was said to be made for him by a guitar tech named Mark Snyder (58). Earnie Bailey, on the other hand, says this is not true. It was rebuilt weekly..."there was nothing to it, eight screws and one patch cord. It seems strange to me that someone would claim to have 'built' this for him. I have met many people over the years who have claimed to have done certain things that I know aren't true."
17). Mesa/Boogie Tremoverb. Kurt supposedly tried out the first Mesa/Boogie Tremoverb amp which Mark claims he brought to Kurt at the NY Roseland Ballroom show (1) where it was on stage, and Kurt eventually sent this amp back (58). However, Earnie says they always worked with a fellow named Kevin at Mesa/Boogie, not Mark.
18). Mark Snyder seems to recall Kurt using Marshall
heads as a power amp, using the Boogie preamp and the Marshall's returns (58).
Earnie Bailey's response to this:
"Regarding the Marshalls, Kurt really disliked Marshall amps. Partly, due to the whole hair metal stigma happening in the 80's, and he didn't like the sound of them. I think it was too generic for him. If you recall on his 4x12 cabs, he had his Marshall logos taped over, not removed (which is a simple task), as a statement towards the status associated with owning Marshall gear. Marshall 4x12's are easy to find whether you are buying or renting overseas. This is a likely reason why he used them considering how often they had to be replaced. Kurt using a Marshall head for a power amp is pretty out there, think about it, a Marshall's output stage is rather dirty and would be even more so at the volumes Nirvana played at. I brought an old plexi 100 to the Reciprocal session in 1993(?). It had 6550's in it and had the gain lowered to sound like a Dual Showman. It took a long time to get him to even try it. Kurt wound up recording with Endino's Twin again, and Krist used the plexi for bass" (59).
Speaking of Krist, Earnie asked me to make note of this correction.
"...to correct something I said in an article a while back, concerning Krist's Hiwatt. It was not a stock 200 watt model, but a Custom 100 model modified to 200 watts by Andy Marshall of THD Electronics in Seattle. He did whatever extensive work was needed on Nirvana's tube gear and has never advertised this fact. He is a meticulous professional that I would trust to take out my brain and pull out all the dents (of course, this would take some time)" (59).
19). Borrowed Fender Twin Reverb reissue, belonging to Steve Turner, used for the Bellingham show where NIRVANA opened for Mudhoney. Amp was a new blackface reissue (59).