Rig Rundown - Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan
PG's Rebecca Dirks is on location in St. Louis, Missouri, talking with the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan. In this segment, he discusses his modular preamp system, the handful of pedals he relies on, and his signature Fender Billy Corgan Strats.
For most of the set, Corgan uses his Fender Billy Corgan Signature Strats with Billy Corgan DiMarzio pickups in them, tuned to E. For songs in E-flat, he uses his Mellon Collie-era, mid-'70s Strat (also with DiMarzios) that used to be his "I Love My Mom" guitar. For new Oceania songs, Corgan uses recent-issue Fender Jaguars, and he employs a few others on a song-by-song basis, including a Reverend tuned to G for "Violet Rays," a vintage Harmony with Alembic pickups for "Pinwheels," and a mid-'70s Strat with DiMarzios that he says is closest to his Gish-era Strat that was stolen in the '90s.
Corgan's rig consists of eight preamp modules custom built by Salvation Mods. He flew out the builder, who cloned his personal amps: a '60s Selmer, "Soul" Marshall 2203, Reeves Custom Jimmy (Jimmy Page Hiwatt clone), Marshall Super Lead 1959RR Limited Edition Randy Rhoads, VamPower amp with a fuzz mod (for Oceania material), Diezel VH4, and a '69 Marshall Super Tremolo. This allows him to recreate his classic tones throughout the night.
He uses Mesa/Boogie Strategy 500 power amps (from his Mellon Collie touring rig) modded with different tubes run at half power. A Palmer PDI-03 signal is mixed in with the live mic'd signal from a 1960 Marshall 4x12 cab (also from his Mellon Collie rig) with new Celestion 75-watt speakers.
Corgan uses a Rocktron All Access switcher (left, not pictured) to switch between his Salvation Mods modules. For pedals he uses a Skreddy Echo (the closest to his preferred vintage Binson Echorec), two MXR Phase 90s used for solos, a Fulltone Catalyst used as a preamp, a Chicago Iron Octavian, a Boss PS-2 Phase Shifter, and a Strymon El Capistan. The only other pedal on the board is a custom pedal he calls the Bloody Finger, which is made by a company that is now out of business. Corgan calls it the best solo pedal he has, saying it sounds like Brian May's Queen tone but with more gain. He uses Keeley loopers to take pedals in and out of the signal, explaining that 90 percent of the show is just the guitar and amps.