Carstens Amplification teams with Billy Corgan on the high-gain Grace amplifier

One of Corgan’s requests was for the amplifier to have an “unheard-of amount of gain”.

Carstens Amplification Grace Amplifier

Image: Carstens Amplification

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Carstens Amplification has teamed with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan to launch the high-gain Grace amplifier.

The single-channel 100-watt tube head delivers a nuanced high-gain sound with a strong emphasis on note separation. Amp maker Brian Carstens credits the amp’s unique high-gain tonality in part to a specially designed, hand-wound Mercury Magnetics transformer.

Carstens began devising the signature amp for Corgan back in 2018, when the Smashing Pumpkins mastermind requested an amplifier with “an unheard-of amount of gain, high headroom and distinct tone”.

The Grace features a sleek Tolex housing and a simplified control section with just a volume, tone stack EQ, master volume, presence knob and bright switch. In the back, there’s a knob for adjusting its headroom. Its gain architecture involves a preamp section driven by four 12AX7 tubes and a power section with four EL34 tubes.

Each amplifier (and an optional custom cabinet) is handmade and hand-wired by Carstens, and autographed by Corgan. Take a listen to the Grace in action below:

The Grace amp is available now in black, red and white, priced at $3,499. It’s limited to 50 units, so best lock in your order early if you’re thinking about picking one.

Meanwhile, the eleventh studio album from the Smashing Pumpkins, CYR, launched today (27 November). The 20 track double album was self-produced by Corgan.

Learn more about the Grace at carstensamplification.com

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