Interview with Billy Corgan on I Heart Guitar

billy corgan

IHG: That takes me to my next question as a guitar geek. How did your signature Fender Stratocaster come about?

BC:  [Laughs] Here’s a great rock n’roll story. I actually approached Fender around 1993, 1994 and I wanted to do a guitar because the band was really popular, and obviously we were playing big concerts full of kids. And they basically told me to fuck off. I think they said ‘We’ll sell you guitars at cost.’ They had no interest in a signature guitar, nothing, and I was really bummed out. And so, through Ginger, the last Smashing Pumpkins bass player – who had a Fender endorsement deal – I had got to meet some of the current Fender people, and I told them the same story, and they said ‘Oh all those people are long gone – we would love to do something with you. We were under the impression you wouldn’t do anything with us. That would be amazing. We were under the impression that you wouldn’t do anything with us.’ So when we sat down to have the meeting, they said ‘Look, we’ll build you whatever you want, we’ve done that with people, but what we really want is something a normal person, any kid can walk in and buy off the wall.’ It really reminded me of when I was poor… I’d go to Guitar Center and I would stand there and look at the wall and think ‘I can’t afford this stuff.’ So they said ‘Can we build a guitar that is a reasonably-priced guitar that anyone can buy?’ And I said ‘I’ll do you one better. Lets’ build a guitar that’s not just for people who play like me. Let’s build a guitar that anybody who plays hard rock or loud alternative music will want to use because it’s a versatile instrument.’ And they said ‘That would be amazing.’ So we worked on that together. It’s not a radical redesign. My whole thing is, I want a heavy guitar that sounds like a Strat. I don’t want a Fender that sounds like a Gibson, with a humbucker dropped in it. So I worked with Steve Blucher from DiMarzio pickups and got my own custom-made pickups from him. He’s a brilliant guy. And nothing makes me happier than to have a musician walk up to me and go ‘Man, I got your guitar and I fuckin’ love it.’ And I’m really proud of it for that. We just had a meeting again and we’re gonna try to do a new-new version with some of the newer technologies that are coming out. We’re really excited about that. I’m actually right now waiting to get some prototypes of the new concepts. 

Read the entire interview at iheartguitarblog.com  iheartguitar      logo

 

 

 
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