Railhammer aims to bring heavy Smashing Pumpkins tones to all with the launch of Billy Corgan Z-One pickups

Railhammer Z-One
(Image credit: Railhammer)

Railhammer has released the Billy Corgan Z-One electric guitar pickup, which seeks to channel the tone of heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs.

Designed by Joe Naylor, the pickups are based on the company’s Humcutter design, and promise a “fat midrange with a smooth top-end” by combining humbucker-like output and sustain with P-90 clarity and attack.

Like other Railhammer pickups, the hum-free Z-One utilizes rails underneath wound strings, which promises tighter lows, while poles beneath plain strings aim to provide fatter highs. Overall, Railhammer promises “outstanding tonal balance” from the configuration.

The pickups, which feature custom etched artwork, can be found in Corgan’s Reverend Z-One signature guitar – and based on the searing guitar sounds he’s been wielding on the Pumpkins’ recent tour, we have no reasons to doubt Railhammer’s tonal claims. Clock the band’s recent performance of Cherub Rock with Willow Smith for evidence.

Reverend Billy Corgan Z-One signature guitar

(Image credit: Reverend Guitars)

Back in the early ’90s, Corgan turned to a Lace Sensor-equipped Stratocaster for many of his heavy tones, and his signature Fender model utilized a custom set of DiMarzio rail humbuckers when it launched in 2008.

Since the unveiling of his first Reverend signature model in 2016, the frontman has been loyal to Railhammer Humcutter designs – the Z-One marks his second signature pickup with the company.

There’s no word on pricing for the Z-Ones just yet, but you can head over to Railhammer for more info on its designs.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.