Does anyone have an idea how Billy Corgan achieved the "Wall Of Sound", saturated guitar tone on Siamese Dream?

I am more of a guitar owner than a guitar player. I have some guesses about it.

But I'm sure there are a number of you out there who have a better idea, and some who could replicate it.

  • Question is borderline off-topic and I don't have a good answer for you, but I watched this recently and it might help you out: youtube.com/watch?v=_eVH5vUR8u8
    – charlie
    Oct 19, 2014 at 3:23
  • 1
    There is a good article on the making of that record here: emusician.com/gear/1332/…
    – jonrsharpe
    Oct 19, 2014 at 15:07
  • @Charles, what defines 'off-topic'? That seems arbitrary. Would this question merit more value if I listed more examples of "Wall of Sound"? I would think it better to to isolate an example. Oct 19, 2014 at 15:13
  • @jonrsharpe, that article summarized the very information I wanted to know, and very succinctly. Not at all like a thirty-minute video about his current rig, which wasn't what I asked. Oct 19, 2014 at 15:23
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    It's not a bad question, I just wanted to let you know usually questions about identifying or analyzing specific songs are off topic. Since you asked about the broader "Wall of Sound" tone it will likely stay open. As for the video, he talks about what parts of his rig he uses for older songs as well, that's why I suggested it. But as I said I didn't have an answer, just an interesting video related to the topic. Either way I'm glad someone else with more Pumpkins knowledge was able to help.
    – charlie
    Oct 19, 2014 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


There is a good article here; Signal To Noise: The Sonic Diary Of The Smashing Pumpkins. To summarise the key points:


  • Early-80s Marshall JCM-800 2203 (KT88 tubes) through 1960A cabinets


Corgan achieved Siamese Dream’s highly stylized tone with a litany of DOD pedals and a ’70s-era, silver-faced Big Muff Pi


As the guitar he’d used on Gish had been stolen, his go-to guitars became ’57 Eric Clapton re-issue Strats with Lace Sensor pickups.


  • API Lunchbox with modular preamps;
  • straight through the Neve console; and
  • "A little preamp in a pedal steel guitar."


A big part of the tone is layer after layer of guitar overdubs.

  • Nicely formatted repost. Worth the cred. Oct 19, 2014 at 19:12

I don't recall any details, but I remember hearing that he had many, many amps. And he turned them up very loud. Unless muted, the strings would immediately feedback and squeal.

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