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Billy Corgan used a $25 Klon Centaur clone for his tones on the new Smashing Pumpkins album

Singer Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins during the 101 WKQX The Nights We Stole Christmas show at the Aragon Ballroom on November 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Image credit: Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)

Billy Corgan has one of the most-revered tones in rock – so much so that he collaborated with Electro-Harmonix on a reissue of the iconic Siamese Dream-featured Op Amp Big Muff. But it seems that, these days, his pedal tastes lean on the more affordable end of the spectrum.

In a new interview with Australian Guitar, Corgan revealed that although he doesn’t buy too many pedals at this stage in his career, one of the main stompboxes on the Smashing Pumpkins’ new synth-pop effort, Cyr, ended up being a budget Klon clone from eBay.

“I have a crazy vintage collection,” he explains. “I love all the boutique pedals that are coming out right now, but most of them are recreations of pedals that I already own the originals of – I don’t know if I really need the clone of the clone of the $1,200 pedal I already have.

“Although I do have some clone pedals that are really, really good – there’s a Klon Centaur clone that I bought off eBay for like $25 which I used a lot on this album.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, the frontman shared his views on using plugins for tones – and it’s safe to say he’s more of an analog man.

“I don’t use computers for guitar. I don’t like plugins or any of that stuff – I’m a firm believer that the distortion signatures of a guitar need to be organic.

“I certainly hear stuff that is attractive about digitally manipulated guitars, like the way you’re able to move a part forward in the mix and stuff like that, but personally I don’t give a fuck.

“I grew up on Black Sabbath and Queen and Jimmy Page, y’know? I want power. I don’t want any bullshit. I just want that pure, raw energy – which is why I’m willing to buy expensive vintage guitars and great amps.”

But not expensive pedals, apparently.

On a tonal news tip, Corgan recently teamed up with Carstens Amplification for a “game-changer” signature amp, the Grace. And as you might have guessed, yes, it’s an all-tube, all-analog affair.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Digital Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World, having spent nine storied years contributing to guitar journalism and a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). He has written and edited for MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, and makes prog-ish instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.