Sound Like Smashing Pumpkins Without Busting the Bank!

In this episode of Sound Like, Rabea & Matt attempt to recreate the sound of alternative rock giants Smashing Pumpkins - for under £1500!

Elliot Stent

Elliot Stent

Gear Used:

  • CORSPE
  • Reverend Billy Corgan COR Guitar in Satin Pearl
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/reverend-billy-corgan-cor-guitar-in-satin-pearl-corspe
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/108001-white.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 949.0000
  • 0
  • Reverend Guitars
  • Electric Guitars
  • Alternative Body Guitars
  • Reverend Guitars are solid, well made, reasonably priced and come in a variety of styles to suit any player. When you set out to do something this epic, you don’t repeat yourself. A fresh design with classic and modern elements that come together in a unique way. The raised center section with thinner wings and strategic chambers under the pickguard add resonance and reduce weight, while a string-thru body bridge provides maximum sustain and percussive attack. Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Pickups meld P90 snap with humbucker chunk, and no hum! And, finally, the body is topped with a segmented aluminum pickguard for a modern, yet timeless look. Let this guitar inspire you.CUSTOM PICKUPSReverend design thier own proprietary custom pickups, to achieve the best tonal match with these instruments. Reverend pickups are also specifically designed for each position, for balanced volume and tone when switchingPart of Railhammer’s new Humcutter Series, these pickups were developed with Billy to capture the clarity and dynamics of a P90, but with the thick tone and low noise of a humbucker.STRING-THRU BODY BRIDGEString-thru body design and stainless steel saddles for a percussive attack that provides maximum sustain and a ringing, solid tone.BASS CONTOURThis passive bass roll-off is great for tightening up the low end, or re-voicing the pickups. It can make a humbucker sound like a single-coil, or give a P-90 that classic twang. Variable pickup voicing at your fingertipsPIN-LOCK TUNERSA thumbwheel under the tuner pushes a steel pin up through the post, locking the string in place for exceptional tuning stability and super-fast string changes. Also, the posts are custom height, eliminating the need for a second string tree.CHAMBERED KORINA BODYKorina (aka White Limba) is a medium lightweight wood, highly prized for consistency and tonal qualities. It is a key factor to producing these lively, responsive instruments that are rich in harmonics. On the BC-1 there are strategic chambers under the pickguard to add even more resonance and reduce weight.GRAPHITE NUTTheres a graphite impregnated nut on all Reverend instruments. Graphite reduces friction, allowing the strings to easily slide through the nut slots, improving tuning stability.SPECIFICATIONSBODY korina solidbody. NECK PROFILE medium oval. NUT 1-11/16 (43mm) width, graphite. PICKUPS Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature. FINGERBOARD Maple 12 radius. CONTROLS volume, tone, bass contour, 3-way. BRIDGE flatmount, string-thru-body. FRETS 22 medium jumbo. STRINGS 10-46. NECK maple, satin amber finish. TRUSS ROD dual action, headstock access. CASE Two-Toned Teardrop (Available Separately). SCALE 25-1/2. TUNERS Reverend pin-lock.
  • August Sale
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  • ENCTAWGH1
  • Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro in White
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/epiphone-les-paul-custom-pro-(probuckers-coil-tapping)-in-white-enctawgh1
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/151782-tmp6859.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 449.0000
  • 15
  • Epiphone
  • Brands
  • Epiphone
  • ProBuckers with dual coil taps
  • The Les Paul Custom made its debut in 1954 after the initial success of the Les Paul Goldtop. Mr. Les Paul himself wanted to convey to audiences that the solid body electric guitar was not a fad but a superb and challenging instrument and that his signature axe, the Les Paul, was the king of all electric solid body guitars. So, Les requested a Les Paul with a custom color finish in solid black and solid white with gold hardware that would blend well with a tuxedo.The result was the Les Paul Custom, or the “tuxedo” Les Paul, as it became known among fans. The Les Paul Custom quickly became one of the most recognized guitars in the world and Les himself used his Les Paul Custom in concert, on his weekly television show with wife Mary Ford and on his album covers, including his famous duet with pal Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester.Now with Epiphone’s superior ProBucker™ humbucker pickups with coil-splitting along with the Custom’s classic gold hardware, fully bound body, neck and headstock, and pearloid inlays, we think you’ll agree that the Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO is “dressed to kill.”Specifications Top maple veneerBody mahoganyNeck mahoganyNeck Shape SlimTaper™ "D" profile with a satin finishNeck Joint glued-inTruss Rod adjustableScale Length 24.75"Fingerboard pearloid block inlaysNeck Pickup ProBucker™-2 (4-wire)Bridge Pickup ProBucker™-3 (4-wire)Controls Epiphone all-metal 3-way pickup selectorNeck pickup tone with push/pull Phase switchBridge pickup volume with push/pull coil-splitting,Bridge pickup toneNut Graphtech NuBoneBinding -Body Top (5-ply white/black)Body Back (5-ply white/black)Fingerboard (1-ply white)Headstock (5-ply white/black)Body(1-ply cream)Fingerboard Radius 12"Frets 22 medium jumboBridge LockTone™Tailpiece StopbarNut Width 1.68"Hardware goldMachine Heads Grover Rotomatic™; 18:1 ratioColors Ebony (EB), Alpine White (AW)Guitar Weight 6.5-7lbsOptional Hard Case
  • No Promotion
  • 5
  • 5
  • DSL40R
  • Marshall DSL40R 40W Valve Combo
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/marshall-dsl40r-40w-valve-combo-dsl40r
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/261222-DSL40_C_Front.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 589.0000
  • 1
  • Marshall
  • Brands
  • Marshall Amps
  • The Dual Super Lead amps have long been a staple of the Marshall range, since launching in the '90s to great critical acclaim. Known for their ultra-versatile sound as well as their surprising proficiency with high-gain sounds, they eventually came to be hailed as a modern classic. Now Marshall have unveiled the latest generation of DSLs - offering everything you loved about the originals but with several tweaks aimed at the modern player! Those familiar with the DSL may well recognise the DSL40R; its predecessor, the DSL40C, proved itself to be one our most popular amps of all time. Several tweaks simply add to this classic amp's versatility and playability!It's now loaded with a single 12" Celestion V-type speaker for a brilliantly clear sound that has alluringly vintage overtones. 40 watts is a big step up from the smaller models in the range, offering punchier, pronounced levels that'll perform brilliantly at gigging volumes. Thanks to the power switching options, you can make the most of the DSL40R's gutsy tone at lower volumes, making it an incredibly powerful practice amp too! As with the other models, you've got two channels at your disposal: classic gain and ultra gain, both of which do exactly what they say on the tin! The classic gain is warm but clear, and extremely responsive to adjustments, whereas the ultra gain allows you to tip into that full-pelt Marshall distortion that's so widely adored. This model also features presence and resonance controls, allowing yet more tonal tweaking; tame the Marshall drive to suit your own style, or use them to push your cleans into uncharted twangy territory! You can also choose between two reverb voicings - classic or ultra.You've also got the same Softube-designed emulated output, which allows top-class cab simulation for direct-out recording. You can even disconnect the 12" speaker or switch the amp to standby for fully silent recording or practicing! [video_6]Specifications:2-channel 40W comboShared EQDigital reverb with two voicingsResonance and presence controls12" Celestion V-type speaker Classic Marshall Black & Gold aesthetic with script logoSoftube-designed emulated output w/ silent recordingECC83 and EL34 valves
  • NAMM
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2231204000
  • Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV in Black
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/fender-hot-rod-deluxe-iv-blk-2231204000
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/257495-1515083235737.png?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 733.0000
  • 1
  • Fender
  • Fender
  • Fender Hot Rod Amps
  • One of the worlds most popular amps - Part of the Hot Rod IV Range
  • The Hot Rod Deluxe is one of the worlds most famous and popular amps and has been for a long time - and for good reason. This new Hot Rod Deluxe IV has had some serious upgrades to take it to the next level. What's new?Fender have improved the drive channels to give you truly useable overdrive and distortion from the 2 drive channels. In total the Hot Rod Deluxe has 3 channels - Normal, Drive and More Drive.The new Celestion A-type 12" speaker has a well-rounded response with smooth highs, laid-back midrange and fat lows. This is one of the major upgrades that Fender users have been crying out for.A new improved Reverb circuit to give you smoother, richer Reverb tones, no matter how loud you have the verb dialled in.Subtle cosmetic upgrades that still retain that classic Fender look.[video_8]The Ultimate Pedal PlatformWhat makes the Hot Rod Deluxe such a popular amp is the fact that it has enough headroom to get a fantastic clean sound at high volumes. In turn, this means it takes pedals incredibly well. It gives all pedals a great platform to truly shine and sound the way they were designed to sound.You'll make the most of your drive pedals running into a stunning clean amp like the Hot Rod Deluxe.Here's what Fender say about the Hot Rod Deluxe IVAn updated version of the legendary amplifier that’s been the heart of many guitarists’ rigs, the Hot Rod Deluxe IV features modified preamp circuitry, smoother-sounding spring reverb and updated aesthetics that any player is sure to appreciate. A supercharged amp decked out with player-requested features, this scorching 40-watt 1x12" combo is ideal for guitarists who need hotrodded power with performance to spare.The Hot Rod Deluxe IV includes a 12" Celestion® A-Type speaker for well-balanced output with smooth highs, laid-back midrange and full, round lows. The modified preamp circuitry improves overdriven note definition, so you'll have articulate sound no matter how hard you push this amp. The onboard spring reverb has been modified to add smoothness, so you still get rich, shimmering tone, no matter how much reverb you use.The updated aesthetics include a lightweight pine cabinet, improved control panel texture and graphics, ivory pointer knobs, steel-reinforced strap handle and lightly-aged silver grille cloth, giving it the unmistakable look and vibe you can only get from a Fender amp. Reliable, flexible and pedal friendly, the Hot Rod Deluxe IV is an ideal addition to any electric guitarist’s amp collection.SpecificationsSeries: Hot RodAmplifier Type: TubeHeight: 18.75” (47.6 cm)Width: 23.5” (59.7 cm)Depth: 10.5” (26.7 cm)Weight: 41 lbs. (18.59 kg)Speaker: One - 12” Celestion® A-TypeInputs: Two - (1/4”, Input 2 operates at -6dB)Channels: Three - Selectable (Normal, Drive and More Drive)Controls: Presence, Reverb, Master Volume, Middle, Bass, Treble, DriveSelect Switch, Drive Volume, Bright SwitchEffects: ReverbSpeaker Jack: Two 1/4” Parallel (Internal and External)Wattage: 40 WattsPreamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7Power Tubes: 2 x 6L6Rectifier: Solid StateCabinet Material: Lightweight Solid PineCovering: Black Textured VinylGrille Cloth: Lightly-Aged SilverHandle: Molded Plastic Strap with Nickel-Plated CapsKnobs: Chicken-Head Style Pointer - IvoryPilot Light Jewel: Red JewelFootswitch: 2-Button Footswitch IncludedCover: Included
  • NAMM
  • 0
  • 0
  • NANOSMALLSTONE
  • Electro Harmonix Nano Small Stone Phaser Pedal
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/electro-harmonix-nano-small-stone-nanosmallstone
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/27123-NANOSMALLSTONE.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 67.0000
  • 1
  • Electro Harmonix
  • Brands
  • Electro-Harmonix
  • Electro Harmonix Nano Small StoneThe Electro-Harmonix Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter is everything you love about the original Small Stone in a smaller, die-cast package! Its an effects pedal that delivers full-bodied, three dimensional phasing to add a special swirl to every musical style. Blues boys and babes dig its rapidly rotating speaker effect while Country players use it to add seasoning to their chicken pickin. Metal-heads and Industrialists dig the Stones jet plane woosh. No matter what your musical pleasure, the Nano Small Stone Phase Shifter is guaranteed to increase it! The rate control adjusts the speed of the phasing sweep (clockwise rotation for a faster rate). Snapping the color switch up carves into the frequency spectrum, hollowing out the sound. Fundamentals and harmonics glide in and out for an extremely pronounced shifting effect. Return the color switch to the down position and the fullness returns. In the non-color position, with the sweep speed at minimum, the effect is not as strong and if the slowest sweep is desired the color switch should be in the up position.FeaturesHighly adjustable phase shift effect Rate control Color switch Die cast casing with rounded corners Small size conserves pedalboard space Includes 9v battery - optional power supply available
  • BLACK FRIDAY
  • 4
  • 4
  • BIGMUFFPI
  • Electro Harmonix Big Muff PI Fuzz Pedal USA Design
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/electro-harmonix-big-muff-pi-(original-usa-design)-bigmuffpi
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/83484-tmp79DA.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 81.0000
  • 10
  • Electro Harmonix
  • Brands
  • Electro-Harmonix
  • This is the pedal that Mike Matthews designed in 1970, The legendary and distinctive Electro Harmonix Big Muff PI. By far the most popular Electro Harmonix pedal it has that old school rock sound that never dies! This timeless piece has been defining the sound of rock guitar for the past 30 years, countless musicians have relied on its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain to define their music and wow crowds on the worlds biggest stages. Dial in your perfect toneLike the legendary Big Muff Pi of the 70s, the reissue Electro-Harmonix USA Big Muff Pi Distortion/Sustainer Pedal has 3 controls that let you dial in the finest harmonic distortion/sustain ever produced. The Volume control adjusts the output level. The Sustain control optimizes the long sustain with just the right amount of harmonic distortion. The Tone control provides a range of sounds, from warm bass to crisp treble.Battery included - The power connector for this pedal is here Heres what EHX have to say about this pedalThe NYC original. Hendrix and Santana were among the first to get a piece of the Pi, and for over 40 years the Big Muff Pi has been defining the sound of rock guitar. Revered by contemporary guitarists and rock legends for its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain, from Pink Floyd to The White Stripes, everyone still wants a piece of the Pi
  • Best Seller
  • 4
  • 9
  • JD-WHE408
  • Way Huge Russian Pickle Fuzz Pedal
  • https://www.andertons.co.uk/way-huge-russian-pickle-fuzz-jd-whe408
  • https://andertons-productimages.imgix.net/131024-tmp5C6.jpg?w=400&h=400&&fit=fill&bg=FFFFFF
  • 142.0000
  • 2
  • Way Huge
  • Brands
  • Way Huge Electronics
  • Huge, engulfing fuzz tone with smooth highs & boomy lows
  • The Way Huge Russian Pickle derives from the heavily sought-after Sovtek Russian Big Muff fuzz boxes of decades past. Renowned for producing a smoother fuzz tone with less top-end and more boomy lows, Way Huge have lovingly recreated this iconic circuit with amazing conviction.No-Nonsense ControlsOver-complicating a fuzz stompbox is just wrong, which is why Way Huge have kept things simple with a 3-knob control set. The Volume is self-explanatory, allowing you to set the total output of the pedal. This means that you can carefully balance the huge, engulfing fuzz tone with your unaffected clean sound, or set the pedal a lot louder for hair-raising, Nirvana-esque dynamic contrast. The Distortion knob increases the amount of glorious fuzz offered by this green, mean machine! Set it high for a super-saturated fuzz tone, adding plenty of rich harmonic content to chords for Smashing Pumpkins-style textures. If that's too over-the-top however, setting it low will reduce the amount of sustain, giving more punch to single-note riffs and taming the amount of feedback.A Tone control sits between these two essentials, letting you adjust the amount of treble and presence. Keep it low for a smooth, creamy fuzz tone that's ideal for warm leads, or crank it for a snarling and mid-focused sound that can effortlessly cut through the mix.OperationYou can power this pedal with a power supply or via a conventional 9V battery. As its current draw is so low at 1.8mA, the battery will have great longevity, so if you're not a pedal fanatic with a large collection or board, this will last a long time without mains power.Here's what Way Huge say about the Russian Pickle Fuzz Pedal:The Russian-Pickle Fuzz dishes out smooth, creamy fuzz tones with a clear midrange to cut through the mix and a fat bottom end that keeps your sound thick and full.With a no-nonsense interface featuring Volume, Tone, and Distortion controls, you can quickly dial in your sound and get to playing. Bass players, take note—this pedal has enough low end to tremble the earth. Whether you’re going for ’90s-era grunge, swinging stoner grooves, or raw two-piece garage rock riffage, the Russian-Pickle Fuzz is the perfect comrade for your pedalboard.SpecificationsInput Impedance: 42kOutput Impedance: 50kNoise Floor: -80dBVBypass: True Hardwire RelayDimensions: 5" x 3-1/4" x 2-1/2"Weight: 12.2 ozCurrent Draw: 1.8mAPower Supply: 9V
  • As Seen On Andertons TV
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The Smashing Pumpkins are icons of the American alternative rock scene. Rising to fame amongst the murky, sorrowful backdrop of Seattle-born grunge in the early 90s, the Pumpkins brought something fresh to the table with their unique, cutting-edge sound.

Renowned for their huge melodic riffs and a preference for major keys, the signature sound of The Smashing Pumpkins was pioneered by frontman Billy Corgan, the band’s founding member and primary songwriter. A fastidious tone-chaser, it was on the band’s landmark second album Siamese Dream (1993) that Corgan crafted the super-thick layered fuzz tone that defined the band, with the help of his bandmate and rhythm guitarist James Iha.

Despite establishing such an identifiable sonic foundation for the band, Corgan changed up their sound quite dramatically from album-to-album. This means that finding gear that encompasses the band’s diverse 10 album back catalogue would be a big challenge, especially on a budget that can’t exceed £1500!

So that’s why in this episode of Sound Like, Rabea and Matt have focused on attaining the tones that listeners will be the most familiar with. Heavily indulging in the Siamese sound, the guys also touch base with songs from the band’s debut album Gish (1991) and their monstrous third, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995).

Listen To The Original

Guitars

Billy Corgan

Throughout most of his career in The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan has rarely been seen without a Fender Stratocaster in his hands. Favouring 70s hardtail models in the early days, Corgan fitted his Strats with aftermarket Lace Sensor pickups – the Red/Silver/Blue set. Able to give him much more versatility compared to typically noisy and thin-sounding single coils, this powerful Lace Sensor combination could handle potent amounts of gain without harsh feedback or brittleness.

Occasionally using Gibson ES hollow-bodies from the mid-90s, Corgan’s taste in guitars became slightly more varied towards the end of the decade. He was often seen onstage with Les Paul Juniors, SGs and various Reverend models, in an effort to transform the band’s sound.

When The Smashing Pumpkins reformed in 2007 after their initial breakup in 2000, Fender collaborated with Corgan to design a signature Stratocaster model. Featuring a trio of stacked, custom-designed DiMarzio pickups, this modern-sounding instrument retained many of the construction features of his old-school workhorses, with a hardtail bridge, maple neck and a vintage-esque nitrocellulose finish.

Discontinued after only a couple of years, the venture between Corgan and Fender ended in 2011. However at the 2016 NAMM Show, Reverend Guitars unveiled a striking signature instrument for Corgan. It was therefore a no-brainer for Rabea and Matt to pick out this guitar!

Reverend Billy Corgan Signature Model

Featuring a set of Corgan’s super-hot high-output signature RailHammer pickups, the most noteworthy design quirk of this unique-looking guitar is its chambered body, covered by elegant Aluminium panels.

Reverend Billy Corgan Signature

Constructed from Korina (1), this guitar projects plenty of low-end and mid-range sizzle, with the chambered pockets (4) helping to produce rich harmonics and overtones, perfect for riffs like Cherub Rock and Quiet. A bolt-on Maple neck (5) offers all of the top-end snap you’d ever want, giving a fast response that tightens up the low-end.

Its design lends itself perfectly to high-gain distortion and fuzz, with an incredibly lively and vibrant sound thanks to the Custom Humcutter pickups (2). But it’s not a one-trick pony, as the guitar also cleans up very well for the more mellow tunes in the band’s repertoire, as Rabea demonstrated in the 1979 excerpt. Essential master volume and tone controls are featured, but like most Reverend models, the Corgan signature also has a bass contour knob (3) to let you increase or roll off some bottom-end, if things sound too thin or woolly.

The Reverend Billy Corgan Signature is available in 4 satin finishes – Metallic Alpine, Purple Burst, Silver Burst and Pearl White. The guys went for the latter, choosing the more understated aesthetic.

James Iha

When James Iha was Corgan’s right-hand man in The Smashing Pumpkins, his main guitar was a late 80s Gibson Les Paul Custom in Ebony, with no modifications. He also used a handful of other instruments, such as a Gibson Flying V in Cherry Red (used during the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness era), SGs and even a vintage Teisco K2L (as seen in the music video for Rocket).

Rabea and Matt however went with the obvious choice, choosing an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro. Although not exactly like Iha’s trusted main guitar, most notably being much cheaper than its Gibson counterpart, this instrument gets close enough at around £500.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro in White

With a full Mahogany construction and dual humbuckers, the iconic Les Paul has always been a staple for rock music. The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro however has a few added refinements, such as coil taps for each pickup so that you can get single-coil tones too. Although Iha’s Gibson didn’t have these electronics, you can use them to great effect for clean sections of Pumpkin’s songs like Today and Soma.

Speaking of the pickups, the Custom Pro is loaded with a pair of Epiphone ProBuckers, deriving from the Gibson BurstBucker design. Inspired by 50s PAFs, these medium-output pickups may not have the intensity of the RailHammers in the Reverend, however they are still very versatile and can deal with all of the fuzzy gain you can throw at them.

Amps

The Smashing Pumpkins used Marshall amps and cabinets almost exclusively in the early to mid-90s. JCM800s were used heavily by both Corgan and Iha when recording Gish and Siamese Dream, using its famously crunchy-sounding distortion for rhythm tracks on their debut in particular.

The amp was however modified with KT88 tubes, which according to Corgan, transformed the sound of the amp and gave him exactly the gain he wanted. In order to attain the fuzz sound on Siamese Dream, Corgan would plug his Electro Harmonix Big Muff pedal into the ‘low gain’ input of the JCM800 with the Master Volume cranked, and then use the Preamp Volume to find the optimal “sweet spot”.

Corgan and Iha later used the Marshall JMP1 Rack-Mounted Preamp and 9200 Power Amp live on the Siamese Dream tour cycle, and avoided employing the use of their Big Muff pedals due to noise and feedback issues onstage. This pairing however still gave them a huge sound, and for the recording sessions of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Corgan even integrated a Mesa Boogie Strategy 500 Power Amp into his rig. This helped him craft the super-saturated distortion tone heard prominently in tracks like Jellybelly and Bullet With Butterfly Wings.

It therefore made plenty of sense for Rabea and Matt to pick out the popular Marshall DSL40C for this edition of Sound Like. With a full valve-driven design, this amplifier can get close to the sound of a JCM800 but for a fraction of the price. This combo has been a favoured choice in the Sound Like series on Andertons TV, but that’s because when it comes to budget valve amps, there’s not much better!

Marshall DSL40C

This 40W 1×12 combo may not have the biggest amount of headroom in the world, but its focused low-end and slightly compressed quality serves as the perfect tonal foundation for the lairy-sounding Big Muff. Taming the pedal’s abundance of low-end woolliness, you can expect a consistent and slightly more controlled tone from the fuzz when plugged into a Marshall.

Marshall DSL40 - Andertons Music Co.

Without the fuzz pedal in front of it, the clean channel is very balanced-sounding, not brash or piercing like a Fender-style amp when turned up loud. The Overdrive channel has that signature Marshall crunch and saturation, not far off the sound of a classic JCM800, which Rabea demonstrates in the excerpt for I Am One.

Pedals

The Smashing Pumpkins have used a raft of pedals in the studio over the years, but of course the most renowned ingredient of their iconic tone is the Electro Harmonix Big Muff pedal. Using it to pioneer the huge, engulfing “wall of fuzz” sound that defined Siamese Dream, Corgan relied on a particular iteration of the circuit to attain that massive sound – the late 70s V4 ‘Op Amp’ version.

With originals of that particular circuit selling for hundreds of pounds on second-hand websites, in late 2017 Electro Harmonix unveiled the Big Muff Op Amp pedal. Designed in collaboration with Corgan himself, this pedal essentially gives you the Siamese sound in a compact stompbox.

It is worth noting however that Corgan and Iha would not conventionally double-track their rhythm parts on Siamese Dream, but would actually record the same section 4 – 6 times in order to achieve the super-thick, layered effect. This is obviously difficult to replicate by yourself, however if you have a recording setup at home you can certainly give it a try!

The Smashing Pumpkins are also regarded for their extensive use of modulation effects, particularly phaser. Using a variety of different phasers on Siamese Dream, including vintage MuTron Bi-Phase and Electro Harmonix PolyPhase units, Corgan would famously use the MXR Phase 90 (and 100) pedal for lead guitar parts. But rather than use it traditionally, he would turn the speed/rate all the way down, just to give his solos some subtle movement and to create an almost artificial doubling effect. The solo in Cherub Rock is a great example of this.

Corgan would also employ the use of an MXR Distortion+ for his lead sounds, running the pedal into the Big Muff to achieve a super-smooth high-gain tone with more mid-range cut. Another perfect example of this lead tone can be heard in songs such as Rocket and Hummer.

What Pedals Did Rabea & Matt Choose?

As the Electro Harmonix Op Amp pedal hadn’t been released at the time of filming, Rabea and Matt found the closest fuzz boxes they could get. Choosing a standard Big Muff Pi each, these highly-identifiable fuzzes can get you very near to the original tones from Siamese Dream, featuring the same basic circuitry and set of controls.

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff - Andertons Music Co.

Rabea also opted for a Way Huge Russian Pickle too, a pedal that derives heavily from the Sovtek Russian Big Muff fuzz boxes. With less top-end and more boomy lows, this pedal can get fairly close to the signature Pumpkins tone, but the standard Big Muff Pi is still far more authentic-sounding.

To cover modulation, the guys chose the Electro Harmonix Nano Small Stone. Similar in terms of functionality to an MXR Phase 90 with its single Rate control, the Small Stone also has a Colour switch to let you adjust the tone and nature of the phasing effect, giving you some extra versatility. Matt uses the Nano Small Stone at the beginning of the Cherub Rock clip, but you can use it well for songs such as Mayonnaise too.

Soundcloud

Do you think Rabea & Matt got close to the Smashing Pumpkins sound? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

If you’re interested in finding out how to achieve the tones of your favourite artists, check out more of our Sound Like articles by clicking here.

Transcript

Matt: Hi guys, I’m Matt!

Rabea: And I’m Rabea.

Matt: And this is Sound Like on Andertons TV!

[Intro Music]

Rabea: So it’s a nice loud day in Andertons Music Store in Guildfordshire

Matt: Sehr loud, sehr loud.

Rabea: It is indeed, it’s smashingly loud

Matt: Smashing, yes, my ears feel like pumpkins.

Rabea: If I was a pumpkin I’d like to get smashed.

[Transition]

Matt: Smashing Pumpkins, you’ve requested it.

Rabea: It’s one of the pioneering bands of 90s, the grunge scene. Huge. Hugely influential

Matt: Yeah, and still big today.

Rabea: Yep, Siamese Dream was a pioneering album of its time, you know, even Rob Chapman is a huge fan-

Matt: He is actually.

Rabea: -so he was really excited to know we were going to be doing this one today.

Matt: Yes, so we’re gonna attempt in our greatest wisdom to get some gear together, and sound like Billy Corgan *slash* Smashing Pumpkins, and on that note we’ll see you later.

[Transition]

Matt: Yes, as some of you may know Billy Corgan has a signature Reverend, which is this, I always think it looks a bit like, not, maybe Iron Man or some kind of superhero thing with these little panel things going on.

Rabea: It’s very cool-

Matt: It is very cool.

Rabea: -and this is actually, well, it’s listed here as £899 but it’s on a cheeky sale down at £749.

Matt: Yes.

Rabea: And there’s a few available, so if you do like the look of this guitar and hopefully the way it sounds when we plug it in later, then check it out. RailHammer pickups.

Matt: Yes, his signature pair.

Rabea: The cool thing about the RailHammer stuff and also a lot of the Reverend stuff is in the circuitry, they have this kind of low-end boost. I’m not quite sure yet, I’ll find out the special circuitry inside this guitar, but yeah, this is the one if we want it to get closer to Billy Corgan.

Matt: I don’t think we can go anywhere else.

Rabea: There you go.

[Transition]

Rabea: Amplifiers.

Matt: Amplificación.

Rabea: Billy Corgan uses the JMP1 rack preamp.

Matt: Just in case anyone contradicts us on that statement, he’s also used lots and lots of amps-

Rabea: He has-

Matt: -lots and lots of different gear.

Rabea: -we’ve seen him with Diezels, Voxes, old-school Fenders.

Matt: Yeah, loads of stuff, so.

Rabea: Apparently that was the mainstay for a long time-

Matt: Yeah, and also-

Rabea: -so

Matt: -with a couple of particular pedals, so I think our good friend the DSL40-

Rabea: Which by the way-

Matt: -will come into play.

Rabea: -it will.

Matt: This might be the final time we ever, ever, ever use the DSL40.

Rabea: Well you never know?

Matt: You never know.

Rabea: But it could be-

Matt: It could be.

Rabea: -who knows. But it’s down at, what, how much is it now?

Matt: It’s now £499. The guitar is actually down, as we said before, to £749. So that is £1248-

Rabea: Which gives us-

Matt: -English pounds.

Rabea: -yeah, which on our normal without busting £1500 budget, we’ve got roughly £250 left for the pedals, we definitely need to get the Big Muff Pi-

Matt: Yes-

Rabea: -and we’ll see what else.

Matt: -and maybe something else, but we’ve got £250 left for Billy Corgan.

Rabea: Let’s go and see what pedals we can get.

Matt: Okay.

[Transition]

Rabea: So the Big Muff Pi is what, £89 pounds roughly-

Matt: Yeah.

Rabea: -something like that.

Matt: Something like that.

Rabea: So, you know, like there’s still a bit of money left in our budget, and I think it is worth getting another fuzz to put on top.

Matt: He does have, he does as well kind of have a lot of specific sounds for specific songs-

Rabea: Yes he does.

Matt: -so we have to be conscious of, you know it depends on what we want to play-

Rabea: Yep.

Matt: -so which bits we need.

Rabea: But I think it’s really important that we get that fuzzy, distortion tone.

Matt: That’s the main thing, the main, like, riff sound. I read about the MXR Distortion II-

Rabea: Yep.

Matt: -being the thing.

Rabea: Okay.

Matt: So whether something MXR might work, or whether we just take a bit of a punt.

Rabea: I think we punt it.

[Transition]

Rabea: So Matt has very kindly grabbed the Big Muff Pi.

Matt: Yes, in its box.

Rabea: It is in its box, and we’ve got the DSL ready to go, we’ve got the Billy Corgan Reverend, so we are just gonna grab on a punt-

Matt: On a whim.

Rabea: -another fuzz pedal probably to stack on top, so we’re gonna have a look around and then go to the video room. See you there!

[Cherub Rock – Excerpt]

Rabea: We’re back in the video room.

Matt: Yes we are indeed, in this day’s fine video of sounding like The Smashing Pumpkins.

Rabea: This is the last video of the day.

Matt: Last one of the day, so words may be mumbled *mumbles words*.

Rabea: Exactly! And on that note, what we’re gonna be doing is taking you through the gear that we’ve picked to sound like Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, but before we do that it’s worth pointing out what you’re doing.

Matt: It’s worth pointing out that I’m actually trying to sound like James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins as well. As they’re a two guitar band, the focus is really on Billy Corgan, but yes, bit of context.

Rabea: This is the guitar that I am using and this is, in fairness to it, a really cool guitar. This is the Reverend Billy Corgan signature guitar, it’s got his signature RailHammer pickups in it and it’s got, essentially you’ve got a three-way toggle, volume, tone and then you’ve got like a bass boost that you can dial in and out as much as you want. So it really is quite awesome, and it drives an amp in a really nice way.

Matt: It sounds huge.

Rabea: It does. Has locking tuners, maple neck, and to be fair, it plays great and it sounds wicked.

[I Am One – Excerpt]

Rabea: I’m going straight into the Electro Harmonix Big Muff. It’s the standard Big Muff that everybody knows and loves; he was famous for using that and to be fair to it, it’s awesome. It really does the job. But then actually we said we were going to stack another fuzz on top because that’s also what Billy Corgan is famous for doing, so we found the Way Huge Russian Pickle fuzz and in fairness to that, it’s a killer sounding fuzz. Providing the volume, the Marshall DSL40C, and we’re running it on the classic gain and I’ve got the crunch, I do have the crunch in, and I’ve sort of been riding it depending on what song we’re doing. So, before we get into Matt’s rig I really, quickly just show you the tones. This is what it sounds like.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: It’s worth been pointing out that although there’s quite a bit of reverb in there, I’m running the gain at three quarters. Again, the crunch is in, so that’s how we’re getting that sound. But what I can also do is throw in the bass boost, check this out.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: Of course, Billy Corgan isn’t much of a kind of-

Matt: He’s not a shred guy.

Rabea: -no he’s not, so we shouldn’t focus on that.

Matt: But, that is a great feature though, I’m not entirely sure what it’s doing but it sounds, I don’t know if it comes over on the mic either, but it sounds huger.

Rabea: I think it’s a combination of bass and also like a dB increase-

Matt: Yep.

Rabea: -like a boost, but like, again.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Matt: It’s like a clean boost really.

Rabea: Yeah, and it’s really making the amp work harder and it’s sounding really good for it. And it’s worth pointing out that for the excerpts I did have the bass boost in all the way, so…

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: So that’s the Big Muff in.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: Which sounds great. I’ll just quickly swap over to the Russian Pickle.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Matt: That’s a great sound.

Rabea: It sounds wicked, way more mid-y isn’t it?

Matt: Did you use both of them together?

Rabea: I had them both on at the same time yeah. So, this is with them both on.

[Quiet – Excerpt]

Rabea: I mean it’s a great sound.

Matt: That is huge!

Rabea: It’s massive.

Matt: It is.

Rabea: And again coming from this.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: To, to this.

Matt: What a combo.

[Playing/Tone – Excerpt]

Rabea: Yeah, I was saying when we were doing the, when we were actually doing the playing excerpts, that you can, I can understand why this is an addictive sound, especially in the era of grunge because-

Matt: Totally.

Rabea: -it does sound grungy.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rabea: It’s that onomatopoeic.

Matt: But it’s massive, especially with two guitars, it’s just like a full-on sound. I’d like to see an octave thrown into that rig.

Rabea: Ah if only.

Matt: That’d sound massive.

Rabea: Yeah it would. Octave and fuzz is the one.

Matt: Think we might have to do it.

Rabea: We will. But until then, Matthew.

Matt: Me, me everyone!

[Today – Excerpt]

Matt: Okay! So my rig, this is an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro. It’s kind of like a Les Paul Custom that you’d expect from Gibson-

Rabea: I love those guitars.

Matt: -obviously the Epiphone version. Yeah, this is only about £500, and this actually really usefully had a bit of a coil-splitting function, which I used quite a lot to emulate some of the more Strat-y sounds.

Rabea: Yep.

Matt: That’s running straight into here, which is the EHX, the Electro Harmonix Small Stone which is a phase shifter essentially, which I’ll get onto in a minute. Straight into the Big Muff, I got this, I read a little bit about the fact that they used to share pedals the two guys-

Rabea: Oh really?

Matt: -it was quite a casual affair, so…

Rabea: *Laughing*

Pete: Anything else?

Matt: Apparently it was a Big Muff as well, so there you go, and then I’m running this into the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which is a beautiful amp.

Rabea: It’s worth pointing out as well that the DSL40 is £499, which to be fair-

Matt: 4-9-9!

Rabea: -it’s now even more affordable than it was originally.

Matt: I mean I think it crept up to £600 didn’t it?

Rabea: Yeah, it was around that.

Matt: Or maybe even more.

Rabea: So you get a nice chod off that, off that price-point and I think to be fair, the rig in itself – two fuzzes, this particular guitar, which you don’t necessarily have to get but you could get a Reverend, they do RailHammer pickup-loaded other Reverend guitars. But yeah, the whole thing just sounds monstrous.

[1979 – Excerpt]

Matt: I’ve actually got to say, we’ve used the DSL40 a lot of times, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sound this good, as like-

Rabea: Yeah?

Matt: -aside from this rig, so that’s just a little thing there.

Rabea: And on that note, it’s probably worth pointing out that, that is how you sound like Smashing Pumpkins hopefully, but you will be the judge.

Matt: Yes, let us know what you think, let us know how you think we did. As usual, all the links to all the gear is in the description box below.

Rabea: And comment in the comments section below about what you thought.

Matt: And if there’s anyone you’d like to see us sound like next.

Rabea: And on that note, I’ve been Rabea.

Matt: And on that note, I have been Matt.

Rabea: And this has been Sound Like on Andertons TV.

Matt: And on that note, goodbye.

Pete: And on that note, how many times have you said that?

Matt: And on that note, shut up.

Pete: *Laughing*

[End]

Elliot Stent
Elliot Stent
Elliot is a digital content specialist at Andertons, a guitarist and a YouTube gear demonstrator. Having studied Music and Music Technology, his interests lie equally in both performance and production. Favouring Fender instruments and Marshall amps, Elliot is also a pedal fanatic with a large collection of effects.

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