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Yamaha LJ16BC Billy Corgan Acoustic Guitar

An acoustic that's simply smashing!


by Chris Loeffler



Artist guitars are a mixed bag for this reviewer, with many either having nearly identical features to non-artist models with a significantly larger price tag and others being so specifically featured that no player aspiring beyond that artist would find the "differences" necessary in a primary guitar. While I am versed in the majority of the Smashing Pumpkins body of work (at least the first half dozen albums) I confess I wasn’t sure what to expect from a signature Billy Corgan acoustic guitar from Yamaha.


The Yamaha LJ16BC Billy Corgan acoustic electric guitar features a 14-fret jumbo body with an A.R.E. (more on this in a moment) treated solid Engelmann spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides, a 25-9/16” scale mahogany and rosewood neck with an ebony fretboard and abalone fret markers. A passive Yamaha SRT piezo undersaddle pickup is the sole electronic addition to the guitar and it comes stringed with Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze Lights in a hard shell case.


What You Need to Know


Given the boldness of the rhythmic drive of much of his much, it makes sense that the Yamaha Billy Corgan acoustic is built on the foundation of a jumbo-style body, with a deep, full-frequency response that shines in aggressive strumming but articulates well with sparser, finger-picking playing as well. The slightly smaller scale of the guitar (surprising, when you consider the size of Corgan himself) led to a slightly less chest-vibrating experience than I’ve had with many Jumbos I’ve reviewed, but the tradeoff is a significant reduction in feedback when plugged in at concert volumes.


The style of the guitar itself is attractive without looking significantly different from sima standard acoustic guitar, with the zero logo on the headstock being the primary indicator it is an artist series guitar. The brass bridge pins and a Graph Tech Tusq nut and compensated saddle were designed to work in concert with the L-series top bracing to increase the low- and upper-midrange presence, and my review experience, both unplugged and electric, proved these design intentions to be true with a full sounding, but never flabby, acoustic tone that still cut through other instruments. Yamaha's A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) process is applied to the solid top, resulting in a more lived in and rich tone production. 


The passive Yamaha SRT piezo has no onboard controls, leaving sonic massaging to post production or your handy live sound guy, but my experience with the unaltered electric tone was more than satisfactory, especially at the pricepoint.




While not a stark difference from any other acoustic-electric guitar I’ve played, I did still experience the ubiquitous quack of piezo pickups that most players will want to mix out later on.




Unlike the vanity projects that are artist series I described at the beginning of this review, I found the Yamaha LJ16BC to be a subdued, elegantly designed instrument that is a pleasure to play and listen to, regardless of the name that is (or isn’t) on the headstock. With an all-solid-wood body, tasteful appointments and finish, a pickup ready to be fed into your preamp of choice, and unique differences like brass bridge pins and the Tusq nut and saddle, the Billy Corgan signature easily transcends fan collectordom (although with such a limited production planned, I could see them all being snapped up for that alone) and reveals itself as just a damned good multifunction acoustic-electric guitar.  -HC-





Yamaha LJ16BC Billy Corgan Acoustic Electric Guitar Product Page


Buy the  Yamaha LJ16BC Billy Corgan Acoustic Electric Guitar (MSRP $1,600, Street $999.99) at Sweetwater or Samash





Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 


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