So, you want to know: What pedal did Kurt Cobain use? The answer is…..a few. But don’t worry. We have it summed up here, short but sweet.
Kurt Cobain, the late frontman of the iconic grunge band Nirvana, was known for his distinctive guitar sound that helped define the sound of an entire era. A key component of that sound was Kurt’s use of effects pedals, which he used to create some unique tones that quickly became his signature sound.
One of the most famous pedals that Cobain used was the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone chorus pedal. This pedal was a crucial part of Cobain’s sound, particularly in songs like “Come As You Are”, where he used it to create a shimmering, watery effect on his guitar.
The Small Clone is a simple, easy-to-use pedal that provides a warm, lush chorus effect that can be subtle or intense depending on how it’s set. It has just two controls – one for the rate of the chorus effect and a switch for the depth – which makes it super easy to dial in those tones. Other choruses and modulations in general that Kurt used included the Electro-Harmonix EH-1311 Echoflanger & EH-7700 Polychorus on songs such as Heart Shaped Box (great tune).
Cobain also used a variety of other effects pedals throughout his career, including distortion pedals like the ProCo Rat and the Boss DS-1, and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. These pedals allowed him to create the fuzzy, distorted guitar tones that became the hallmark of the grunge sound. These are mostly 3 knob pedals covering volume, tone, and gain (maybe labeled differently but that’s what they do) meaning that again you’ll nail those tones super easily.
The Analog Alien Bucket Seat wasn’t around when Nirvana was. However, it produces these tones and much more with ease.….and yes, it’s still only 3 knobs!
While the Small Clone may have been one of Cobain’s most famous pedals, it’s worth noting that his sound was much more complex than just a single effect. Cobain was a master at blending multiple effects together to create his unique guitar sound, and his use of pedals was just one part of a larger sonic tapestry that he wove throughout his music.
Live Nirvana’s guitar tones were often courtesy of DOD and Tech 21 in the way of the legendary FX69 Grunge & Sansamp Preamp. These can often be seen on the floor during live recordings.
In conclusion, the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone chorus pedal was one of the key components of Kurt Cobain’s signature guitar sound, particularly on songs like “Come As You Are”. However, his use of pedals was just one part of a larger musical vision that helped define the sound of an entire generation.