It’s another post-gig report on EDGG: last night I saw The Smashing Pumpkins at the Birmingham O2 Academy and was rather impressed. Sure, we could talk all day about how it’s not the same without James, D’Arcy or Jimmy and that some of the Teargarden by Kaleidyscope material is patchy at best but Billy Corgan and his latest Pumpkins cohorts can still put on a hell of a show. In particular it was Billy and fellow guitarist Jeff Schroeder’s alternating leads which stole said show, with lightning-fast scale runs taking songs like Siva and Soma to new heights.
If you have any idea just how much gear this pair uses onstage, it goes without saying that both guitarists had incredible, well-defined tones throughout the night. In terms of what Billy’s using… there’s a lot of stuff. Here’s a shot of his rack, which looks fairly similar to what I spied last night. The main tone appears to be coming from a pair of Diezel heads and Matchless preamps. There was also a Vox AC30 onstage in Birmingham but I can’t be sure who was using that.
Billy was using his signature Strats for the majority of the evening, although a Gretsch Country Club did get a look-in for a couple of tunes. He talks about his live guitars in this video from MusicRadar.
Jeff, on the other hand, used a variety of guitars, including Gibson SGs, Les Pauls and three Fender Jazzmasters, which saw a lot of whammy bar use. Delicious.
Although I couldn’t spot what he was rocking last night, Jeff recently told Smashing Pumpkins blog Hipsters United about his current pedalboard and amp setup.
Guitar –> Fulltone Clyde Wah –> Loop 1: Mad Professor Forest Green Compressor (my favorite compressor), Tone Freak Naked OD, Tone Freak Abunai II OD, Instruments for a New Electric Music Compact Faye Sing Phaser, Analog Man Chorus, Boss PS-5 Super Shifter –>
Loop 2: Boss RE-20 Space Echo, Eventide Time Factor Delay, Eventide Space –>
Loop 3: Line 6 M13 –> Amp
“The Rocktron All Access is used to do the channel switching on the Randall Preamp. Everything else is done old-school. No presets or anything like that.
“Amp: I’m still using the Randall MTS moduler system but now I’m using a set of custom modules made by Antonin Salva from the Czech Republic. The man is a total amp wizard. His company is called Salvation Mods (www.salvationmods.com). My Randall preamp has four channels: Channel 1: Randall Tweed (this is the only standard module I’m using); Channel 2: Salvation Mash-All (emulates four different Marshall amps–59 Plexi, JCM 800, Jose Modded Marshall, and the JVM series); Channel 3: Prototype of a custom module Antonin is making for me based on an Orange Rockerverb head. This is my main distortion sound. It sounds amazing; Channel 4: Salvation Salvado. Module based on a Soldano head that I only use for leads.
“Randall RT2/50 power amp into two Marshall 4×12 cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30s run in mono. I went back to using Marshall cabs for two reasons. One, the angle of the slant makes them much easier to hear on stage and also for the sound. Classic.”
As a final note, if you’re interested in all the pedals Billy has used over the years, take a look at the video below. The revelation that a 1978 IC Big Muff combined with an MXR Distortion II overdrive provided the Siamese Dream solo tone has rocked the guitar world and UK pedal builder MadeByMike has started producing his own version with both effects in one enclosure. He calls it the Dream Box and you can purchase it from his website. Anyway, here’s Billy Corgan in Stompland. Until next time!