The Gish Guitar
A mid-70s Strat with flush pole pickups a large headstock, the Gish Guitar defined that early Pumpkins sound and kicked off Billy’s longtime love affair with Fender. Billy bought it from Jimmy, although how Jimmy came to possess is up for debate. “At some point some guy came up to me and said, ‘Jimmy stole my guitar!’ So that’s probably the guitar he sold me,” laughs Billy. “But the great irony is that guitar got stolen from me. I offered a $10,000 reward for it, but I never got it back. I’ll get it back someday.”
The Clapton Strats
First manufactured in 1988, the Eric Clapton Stratocaster was Fender’s first signature release, and was modeled after Clapton’s late-50s era “Blackie” and “Brownie” guitars. While the Lace Sensor pickups didn’t sound very good clean, they had a very distinctive sound when cranked and distorted. It was this fuzzy and ferocious tone that helped shape the Siamese Dream sound.
The Bat Strat
Though his cabinets changed from Siamese Dream to Mellon Collie, Billy continued to use the Clapton reissue Fenders with the Lace Sensor pickups, but one in particular stood out from all the others: a silver model that Billy decorated with bat stickers. “If you said, ‘What’s the guitar you’d want to be buried with?’ I’d have to say the Bat Strat. It’s just beat to living hell. Jimmy keeps telling me to take it back out, so maybe we’ll bring it out for the 20th Anniversary Tour.”
The Mayonnaise Guitar
Bought for $60 at a Madison, Wisconsin pawnshop down the street from Butch Vig’s Smart Studios, the Mayonnaise Guitar—make and model unknown—shows up, of course, on Siamese Dream’s “Mayonnaise,” and was most recently used on Zeitgeist. The guitar’s super sensitive microphonic pickups only enhanced the already visceral effects of Billy’s penchant for tracking in front of his amps.
The Tonight, Tonight Guitar
This semi-hollow body, 1972 Gibson ES-335 was used on “Tonight, Tonight,” one of the Pumpkins’ most popular and unique songs. “It’s got this weird thing on it where you can split the Humbucker,” says Billy, possibly referring to a coil tap switch on some models that allowed the dual Humbuckers to produce a single-coil sound.
The Billy Corgan Stratocaster
Every guitar hero needs his own guitar. The Billy Corgan Stratocaster was created for maximum versatility, and features a DiMarzio Chopper pickup in the middle along with specially designed Humbuckers on the neck and bridge. Like his long lost Gish Guitar, this model has the large, 70’s style headstock and logo, and comes with an extra fancy satin nitrocellulose lacquer body finish. Both black body/white pick-guard and white body/black pick-guard styles are available, and it comes in a vintage tweed case.