Kurt Cobain Gets A Heavy Sound
Nirvana was a massively successful alternative rock band in the early 1990′s with sales of over 50 million albums to date. In many ways,
the band gave birth and meaning to the alternative rock explosion that coincided with the release of their hugely successful album, Nevermind. Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind wed immensely catchy melodies with the force and drive of metal. While The Ramones and other punk bands were fond of catchy melodies played at ear-splitting volume, Nirvana seemed to invite an entire generation including mainstream kids sick of the hairbands, along for the ride.
Formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987, Nirvana were an influential pillar of the Seattle grunge scene and continue to influence bands and musicians today. The band was founded by Kurt Cobain (guitar, vocals) and Krist Novoselic (bass) and had a number of drummers (Aaron Burckhard, Chad Channing, Dale Crover, Jason Everman, Dave Foster and Dan Peters) in the early days of the band, with Dave Grohl eventually settling in as the main and longest serving drummer.
Singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain was left-handed and performed using both left-handed guitars and right-handed guitars flipped and re-strung.
The band’s sound can be described as making heavy use of distortion and power chords to form a full and heavy sound. Butch Vig, producer of Nevermind was instrumental in layering Cobain’s sound. While never letting go of the punk aesthetic, the album was popular with almost everyone—from punkers to metalheads to fratboys.
Nirvana’s use of effects was mostly limited to distortion pedals and chorus, although additional effects such as delay and echo were added in on the board for their live shows.
Kurt Cobain primarily used Fender Jaguars and Mustangs as well as an occasional Strat or Tele. His amp of choice was a Fender Twin. His effects pedals were primarily for dirt, chorus and delay--with both Boss DS-1 and Boss DS-2 distortion pedals, and Electro-Harmonix Small Clone for that familiar chorus sound that punkers were scared of prior to Nevermind. The ProCo Rat was also a favorite of Cobains'.