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Showing the grasp of the youth market that’s always been the musical-instrument industry’s forte, Fender announced yesterday that it will be issuing a Billy Corgan guitar. For our younger readers, Billy Corgan was the singer and songwriter of a band called the Smashing Pumpkins, who were popular until he went steampunk and made an album about a musician named Glass who talked to God and whose fans were called the Ghost Children. Then he was in a band called Zwan that definitely did not have God’s ear and began acting ever more strangely, to the point where even Homer Simpson might have taken back his praise for Corgan in the Simpsons‘ “Homerpalooza” episode: “You know, my kids think you’re the greatest. And thanks to your gloomy music, they’ve finally stopped dreaming of a future I can’t possibly provide.”

But now those of us who are as old as me (and, ahem, saw the Pumpkins play at Twisters in Richmond, Va., in 1991 (cough! wheeze!) can give our kids Billy Corgan guitars and say, Hey, here’s the tool of my generation, Generation X! And here’s his guitar!

(press release after the jump)

FENDER® LAUNCHES NEW BILLY CORGAN STRATOCASTER® GUITAR DESIGNED FOR MAXIMUM SOUND VERSATILITY
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (July 1, 2008) — Fender unveils a smashing new addition to the artist signature line of electric guitars this month with the release of the Billy Corgan Stratocaster guitar, an extraordinarily versatile tone-machine, produced to Corgan’s exacting specifications. The new Billy Corgan Stratocaster is an especially modern take on the iconic Fender Strat® model, built especially for a high-gain sound and designed to create Corgan’s signature mid-’90s buzz saw tone.

When the alternative rock exploded in the 1990s, one of the movement’s driving characteristics was a lack of real guitar solos. One of the first and most successful bands to break away from that trend, the Smashing Pumpkins, also boasted one of Gen X’s first bona fide guitar heroes, Billy Corgan.

More than 30 million albums later and fresh off the success of 2007’s critically-acclaimed and gold-certified Zeitgeist album and massive world tour, Corgan teamed with Fender to create the guitar he’s always dreamed of. The guitar features three DiMarzio pickups (two of which are custom-wound for the instrument), a string-through hard-tail bridge, jumbo frets, a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish and a vintage tweed case. It is offered in an Olympic White finish, with a black pickguard or Black finish with a white pickguard, reflective of Corgan’s signature style.

“The versatility of this instrument is what impresses me and is why I’m really excited about this model,” Corgan said. “This guitar has both a Strat articulation and enough low-end heavy metal sound to get the ‘Sabbath’ out of the guitar I want. My greatest go-to guitar got stolen at a Pumpkins club date in 1991, and I’ve always struggled since then to find a guitar that was my guitar. I’m really pleased with this model’s versatility, which I need because I’m playing music from a 17-year period of the Pumpkins’ history—from spacey early stuff to grunge to all-out cyber metal, then back to ballads.”

“Billy owns a lot of vintage Strat guitars, but he was looking for a primary ‘go-to guitar,’ said Justin Norvell, Fender marketing director for electric guitars. “Billy was very hands-on. We were bringing prototypes into the studio and rehearsal space while they were tracking the record, and did the fine-tuning on the specs while they were out on tour. Playing live and in the studio are two completely different things, so Billy wanted to be sure it met his needs in both arenas, so we worked together to make sure it was perfect.”