Video: Billy Corgan's First Look at the Electro-Harmonix Op Amp Big Muff Reissue

It's a story that many guitarists and musicians can relate to. You're playing in a band, trying to define your signature tone, and you hear an effect—that one ethereal noise—that changes everything. From then on, your newest compulsion is collecting the tools necessary to replicate that sound exactly. For Billy Corgan, the sound that changed everything was the Big Muff.

One day, as Corgan and fellow Smashing Pumpkins guitarist, James Iha, walked into a rehearsal space that they shared with another band, they heard three guitarists all using the Big Muff. Corgan and Iha went straight out to pick up their own.

From then on, Corgan was hooked, and he set about learning how to use the pedal effectively. Corgan heard that certain iterations of the circuit sounded better than others, and he and Iha learned how to use them without turning their thunderous Big Muff soundscapes into sludge while playing through their powerful Marshall JCM 800s.

Today, Corgan sat down with us in the Reverb studio to explore the Electro-Harmonix Op Amp Big Muff reissue. He told us that, when it comes to reissues, "You're going to take this piece of gear with your amp, and you're going to figure out how to make it work. So I always approach a reissue not as a perfect representation of what used to be. ... I look at it as, 'Can this thing work for me today, with the application that I'm in?'"

The Op Amp is based on the original Op Amp circuit introduced in the latter half of the 1970s. Its chassis is identical to the V3, its predecessor, with the same volume, tone, and sustain controls but with one less gain stage. The resulting sound is very unique and especially well-suited for heavily distorted playing styles.

Be sure to check out the video above to hear what kinds of sounds Corgan can coax from this exciting new stompbox.

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