Billy Corgan Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 05/31/2016 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Billy Corgan Stratocaster
Fender's new Billy Corgan Stratocaster guitar is designed for the millennium and built for modern high-gain sound.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.3
 Features: 9.3
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reviews (4) pictures (3) 33 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Billy Corgan Stratocaster Reviewed by: TheEchomaker, on november 09, 2012
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: Let me start by saying this is my first review, but I'm not going to say 9-10 on everthing unless I truly believe it. This is Billy Corgan's signature Strat, USA made in 2008. It has 22 jumbo frets on a 25.5 scale 70s styled C-shaped maple neck. It has a soft alder body Satin Nitrocellulose Laquer. The bridge is a string-thru hard tail bridge instead of the usual Fender tremelo. The pikups are passive DiMarzio Strat pickups designed by Corgan himself. The neck is the BC-1 based of the air norton. Middle pickup is a DiMarzio Chopper. Bridge is a BC-2 bad off the tone zone. Standard Strat controls. Great Fender tuners that have never yet gone out of tune. // 8

Sound: My style of music is just about everything which is exactly why I chose this guitar. If I were to narrow it down to what I play the most it would be Grunge and Metal. I play this through a Fender G-DEC 30 and a Fender Frontman 212(yes I know they aren't great amps)and I play it through a DigiTech RP500 (multi-effects, yes I know). However I have played this through one of my friend's rig and he own a Mesa Boogie. Billy Corgan designed this thing to play everything because the Pumpkins have gone through so many music genres. I can really shred on this thing its got more metal than any other Strat I've played (I've played a dave murray Strat). The cleans can be crystal clear as if I had Lace sensors in it too. The BC-1 one has got a really nice full sound to it with a great bass edge. Lots of Pink Floyd is played on this pickup. The Chopper is the hottest pickup on the guitar and gives me the perfect Grunge distortion. Also gives a great AIC sound. The BC-2 is the brightest pickup the is great for any punk rock or sonic youth stuff. Noisy? the BC-1 give give a little extra feedback but mostly no noise. No tremolo makes it a little less versatile, but in exchange for the sustain its worth it. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was perfect for me when I got it. A little bit low is how I like it. Pickups, bridge, hardware, and everything were in place just fine. Intonation was off though but I fixed that... // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar easilsy will withstand live playing and stainless steel hardware wont be wearing any time soon. Strap button were good but I put a DiMarzio clip lock strap on it just like I do on all my guitars. The finish is great but with enough gigging is sure to wear(hey thats how I like it anyway). The guitars durable enough but still wouldn't gig with a backup though because I need more than one guitar for different tunings. // 8

Overall Impression: I play anything from Zeppelin to Megadeth. I don't regret buying this guitar one bit. If stolen or lost I think I might have to get it again because it is perfect. I love the hard tail bridge much more than the tremelo. I find the 70s large headstock much more appealing than the Standard one too. I thought of buying a Gibson Flying V and Charvel San Dimas before this one but this one was the beter choice. Only thing I don't like is that its Billy Corgan's sig Strat. I usually try to avoid signature models but this guitar had it all. Thankyou Fender and Billy COrgan for making this great guitar. Sorry if my review sucked. // 10

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overall: 9.4
Billy Corgan Stratocaster Reviewed by: Jyrgen, on november 09, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1100

Purchased from: Thomann Online Store

Features: USA made 2011 Billy Corgan Strat. Mine is black. These guitars are discontinued as of 2012, and I like to think mine is one of the last ones made. Has 22 jumbo sized frets and a modern neck which is not too slim but not a baseball, kind of a one size fits all type of solution. Made of quality alder, likely the same one they use for most USA made Fenders. The finish is a nitro finish, same as those of Highway 1 Strats. The major specialty here is the HardTail bridge. The body is not routed for a tremolo system at all unlike, most Strats. The electronics are passive. There are the 2 DiMarzio Billy Corgan pickups and a Chopper in the middle. Tone pots are for both the neck and bridge pickups, not the Chopper. Also has one volume pot. All pots on this guitar are 250 kohms, which is not usual for humbucking pickups (but works). The five way pickup switch positions are as follows: neck, inner coils of middle and neck, middle, inner coils of middle and bridge, bridge. The tuners are standard Fender Strat tuners. Includes also a high quality case worth around 100 euros, with a polishing cloth, cable, tools for turning the truss rod, etc. candies. // 9

Sound: Low mids, baby. That's what the tone of this guitar is about. It is built to be a high gain rock guitar. The tone is not like that of a Fender Strat but more like of a Gibson SG. I play mostly various types of rock and metal and some blues too and let me tell you, it is a perfect fit. The pickups are ceramic, but more like medium than high in terms of output. I am using it with a Line 6 POD X3, usually through high gain amp models. The bridge pickup is ideal for a distinctive, meaty and thick tone. Think of the guitar sounds of Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Mastodon, Muse, even bands like Converge. Oh and The Smashing Pumpkins. Just heavy. The neck and middle pickups work just as well with gain. On a clean channel you can tame the humbuckers a bit by rolling the volume off to 8 or so. Then you can achieve surprisingly Traditional Strat-like tones but with more body and warmth and less spank. The split positions sound very much like a Strat though, including the humming noise. You can get a picture of what the guitar and the pickups sound by watching any Smashing Pumpkins concerts since 2007 to now, as Corgan uses the model, though he has switched the neck to 21 fret ones from most of his guitars. Take into account though, that he plays through a very costly rig. Giving this a 9, not a 10, because there is a noticeable volume drop when changing to the split positions. Billy Corgan himself does not ever seem to use them, possibly due to the same reason? Personally, I use the split positions only on clean where they shine, and keep the volume pot on full for them, and balance the volume difference when switching to the humbucking positions by lowering the volume pot to 8 every time I switch. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The neck was setup very consistently with zero dead spots and very good intonation. Everything else worked perfectly as well and the body finish was shiny and fine. My only problem was with the middle pickup, which was a bit too high and was thus too loud in comparison to the others. Nothing that a quick turn of the screws could not fix, though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It would definitely be a live workhorse. The construction has such a solid feel to it. All the hardware is high quality. It's like, there is nothing on the guitar that could really break on its own. Corgan uses mostly these guitars when playing live and usually just takes a couple on tour with him for different tunings and backups. Although I would use a strap lock system of some kind, like on every guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing almost 4 years. This is a great rock guitar and a great step up from my old Epiphone G-400. It is, in my eyes, almost exactly as described on the Fender website, although they have removed the product page following the discontinuation of the guitar. The only thing is that the DiMarzio pickups are not really tailored for Corgan's 90's sound unlike advertised, but his recent sounds since the Smashing Pumpkins comeback in 2007. Lace Sensor pickups are a more accurate match for that time period in his career. I was aware of this before buying, and don't aim to imitate his modern tone but definitely like it. Nothing to dislike about the guitar. In my opinion, its a good value for the money. I would probably buy another in white finish, and it is a real shame the guitar is discontinued. // 10

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overall: 9.4
Billy Corgan Stratocaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 600

Purchased from: ebay

Features: The Billy Corgan Strat is a really good attempt at capturing a Pumpkins type sound, super fuzzy high gain rhythms, screaming simple leads and the functionality to tone it down for the quiet bits. Mine is just over a year old now and came with a pretty decent hardcase. // 10

Sound: The DiMarzio pickups are excellent. There's 5 different pickup positions, you get a great mix of clean and treble and the top position is my favourite as it has an excellent grungy fuzz quality to it. The pickups give you a great mix for any quiet / loud song structure and the volume control lets you mix the distortion into the sound nicely. Sustain is really good when you crank it up, but again the pickups help reduce background noise. Oh, and they look pretty cool! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I have a Jazzmaster as well which is great for ease of play and strumming chords but I love the thinner neck on this Strat. I also have a 24 fret B.C. Rich (for my metal moments!) and the Billy Corgan feels just as good to play fast. The fixed bridge is something I really wanted for stable tuning and it's great to get this on a Fender Strat. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The white finish is just starting to age nicely into a light cream colour which apparently it's meant to do (and improve the sound over time???). As I bought mine second hand there were a few dents on the bodywork, but it's a guitar with its history in grunge so it's meant to be played aggressively and looks better for having a slightly worn look to it. It feels solid and reliable and I'm sure it will last the course of time! // 9

Overall Impression: I found this for a good price second hand on eBay and it is a great guitar. I was holding out for a decent jaguar, but this guitar ticks all the boxes and has a great cross over range of sounds. People who have seen this guitar love the look of it as well, it's just got an edge over a traditional looking Strat. An excellent versatile guitar. // 9

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overall: 10
Billy Corgan Stratocaster Reviewed by: davidrf, on may 31, 2016
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 1290

Purchased from: Sound S.R.L.

Features: The guitar comes with an incredibly beautiful vintage Fender tweed case. You get what you usually do with an American Standard guitar: strap, cable, documents, etc. etc. It has 3 humbucking pickups, but they are single coil sized. The guitar is on purpouse a bit heavier than a normal American Standard: Corgan wanted more sustain and punch. The finish is black matte nitro, nice satin to the touch and awesome to the sight. The bridge is fixed. The selector is a special 5 way one and in positions 2 and 4 splits the bridge or the neck pickup making it sound together with the middle pickup. That gives a huge variety of tones. // 10

Sound: The pickups are great and way, way more versatile than you might think. Maybe this is the most versatile guitar I've ever played. With minor adjustments you can go from jazz to blues, to very high gain hard rock. The sustain has nothing to envy to a Les Paul. I bought it thinking it would be my main axe for brutal high gain stuff, but now I use it for everything. After I purchased this one I sold a LTD EC-1000 Goldtop passive and I don't miss it at all. If you're in doubt, this guitar CAN sound like a classic Stratocaster, especially in positions 4 and 5. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This is a nitro painted guitar, mine has an incredibly nice black matte finish, awesome to the sight and the tact. Really one of the most beautiful guitars I've ever seen. The guitar was almost perfectly set-up at the factory, but I changed the pickguard to make an "all-black" guitar. Now it's even more awesome. The Billy Corgan had no flaw whatsoever, it was 100% perfect out of the box. Great quality control. The only thing I'm not in love with are the jumbo frets (I prefer medium jumbo) but it's a very small price to pay. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I still haven't played the guitar too much but it surely gives a very solid feeling. I guess it can last for decades. Everything fits perfectly and it's build without a single flaw. Great quality control by Fender. The finish of the body is nitro so it's supposed to wear after a intensive use. I would definitely use it on a gig without a backup, though I think it's never a wise thing to do... If you do it, then... don't! ;) The case is very good too, but it's so beautiful I'm afraid to ruin it :) // 10

Overall Impression: It's too bad this guitar isn't in production anymore. I guess Billy Corgan isn't as famous as he was 15 years ago but this signature is just perfect. The build quality and the quality of the black matte finish are staggering. The neck is awesome, the fingerboard perfect. I've had several American Standard Stratocasters but this one is the best by far and feels like a very expensive custom shop model. How this guitar is out of production instead of being one of the most popular signatures of all time is beyond me. // 10

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