DISCLAIMER: I created this equipment report using my knowledge from the live shows and video bootlegs. I'm pretty sure of some areas, but Iíve made notes on what I don't know (especially acoustic guitars that James used, some amps, pre-amps and processors). This list will change from time to time. I will write a short article on the ebow and few from some Smashing Pumpkins DVD's. I will try to update everything here. Anyway, thanks to everyone for reading this. Send any comments, submissions and corrections to the webmaster.
.:. Michael Esterman (set the ray to jerry)


For the early years (1987-1989), James's main guitars were a couple of original Fender Telecaster's. One is black and the other is a red-orange sunburst. Both come with the Seymor Duncan pick-ups. His black Tele appears on the "Full Circle" tape (band practicing their pre-gish songs).

red-orange sunburst Tele

Late 1989, James bought two amazing and expensive guitars, which became his main axes for about a decade. Both guitars are the Gibson Les Paul Custom's. The first is silver sunburst 1980's with standard humbuckers. The second one became sort of Ihaís trademark: "black beauty" Les Paul Custom with gold hardware and an ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays and Gibson standard 490R, and 498T humbuckers.

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During the Gish tours, he used one guitar for standard tuning, and the second one for drop-D ("Window Paine", "Silverfuck").

His main amps for life are Marshall's. Thereís not much info on them.


Some small changes in James's equipment: he bought two "fast" Gibson SG Special's. Iha played "Cherub Rock" with the first one, which is yellow with a white pickguard (also in the "Cherub Rock" video). The second one is full black and was used for heavy downtuned (Eb) songs, mainly for "Geek USA".


For this tour James used his silver sunburst Les Paul for the songs: "Hummer", "Window Paine", "Drown" and "Silverfuck". The others were played with a black one.

In 1994 he appeared in the "Rocket" video with a blue Fender Bronco guitar, which has a really good clean tone.

In the "Disarm" video he plays a black Gibson acoustic guitar, though itís hard to recognize this certain model.


James used the same guitars for the Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness rehearsals and recordings. It looks as though he bought one or two additional Les Pauls. The black one was used for downtuned (Eb) songs ("BWBW", "Zero", "Fuck You", "Here Is No Why" and tons of others) and "Tonight, Tonight" and "1979" was played with a silver sunburst Les Paul. You can see James with this guitars on the "666" demo videotape.


James played some old and cheap Epiphone bass guitar (as interviewed in "Guitar World") on the "Believe" song. My guess it is EB-0. The acoustic track for this song was played on a Gibson J-100XTRA, and the clean electric guitar track was played on a Gibson Les Paul Custom.

The Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness era had lots of strange and rare effect pedals and processors. For the "Zero" solo, Iha used the Digitech DHP harmonizers which he replaced with the Eventide H3000 Harmonizer live. He began using his Digitech GSP2102 processor ("Thru the Eyes of Ruby" as well many others). He also cranked up a Fender Blender pedal, that Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) presented to him. To create the ĎNirvanaí sound, James has been known to fire up his Big Muff pedal ("Mouths of Babes", "Marquis in Spades").

silver sunburst Les Paul
Performing at Free Tibet

In October 1995 James appeared with a nice Gibson Flying V guitar in the "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" video, not to mention the Marshall cabinets behind him. James holds a Flying V on the cover of "Guitar World" (December 1995 with Billy Corgan).


James played a Fender Jazzmaster with a warped neck on the track, "The Boy," though he used a Les Paul for the song live.

On 1996 MTV Video Music Awards Iha performed "Tonight, Tonight" with an interesting Rickenbacker guitar.


For his solo album "Let It Come Down", he used mainly acoustics. He stated in one interview that he put his main axe (Les Paul Custom) aside to record this album. But in the liner James is holding a Fender Strat'74.


James's favorite acoustic guitar is the Gibson Hummingbird. He uses it a lot live. He played it at the Viper Room for his solo debut concert. He used it for both the 1997 and 1999 Bridge School benefits. He also played some Gibson acoustics in "Be Strong Now," which is hard to recognize.

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James played a Jackson in the "Perfect" video.


There are a few changes in Ihaís gear. Now, he has a very good black-and-white Fernandes TE-2 Custom Sustainer guitar, which he uses for E-tuned songs, especially for "Perfect". Plus, he has a black Fender Mustang with two humbuckers, which he uses for ebow driven songs, such as "Shame".

Russian live show

James has one great guitar device, the ebow. As a true Iha trademark, it made the sound of the late The Smashing Pumpkins' albums very unique. Visit http://www.ebow.com for further info. I was very inspired by James's new playing style, that I've even ordered an ebow for myself.

James almost didn't use Les Paul's and SG's this year.


James had some great changes in his equipment, playing style, etc.

He brought to life both of his Gibson SG Special. The black one was heavily downtuned (to C) and used for monstrous songs such as "The Everlasting Gaze," "Heavy Metal Machine," "Once In a Lifetime," etc. The yellow one (with a white pickguard) was used for Eb-songs.

Photo 1

Iha used a semi-hollow Epiphone Sheraton for "The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete" solo for the 2000 tours.

He played a Fender Tele-Sonic guitar for "Wound" and several other E-tuned songs.

For the late leg of the "Sacred and Profane" world tour, James used a Fender Electric XII 12-sting guitar.

James often used a Digitech Whammy Pedal for his solo parts on "Heavy Metal Machine," "Cash Car Star," and "Rock On". He used a Korg SDD-2000 processor for the spacey solos and a Boss AutoWah AW-2 pedal.

Iha smashed four Fernandes guitars in "The Everlasting Gaze" video.

James used a somewhat shining Gretsch "Sparkle Jet" (often has a Bigsby Vibrato) on such songs as "Glass + the Ghost Children" and "Tonight, Tonight" for the "Sacred and Profane" world tour.

In the photos for the 2000 issue of Guitar World, James can be seen with a painted blue Fender Tele.


For the first part of the Pumpkinís world tour, James used his Les Paul's only for E-tuned "I of the Mourning" but for the last Metro show, he used at least four differently tuned Les Paul's.

He might have played an Ovation 12-string on "1979" song.

In the late 2000, James played a Gibson ES-335 and a red Gibson SG Special on the "Untitled."


James jammed with a very cool ESP Viper guitar for his live appearance with The Blank Theory. Itís very good for heavy metal.


Surprisingly enough, Iha used neither the ESP nor the Ibanez for the heavy metal oriented style of A Perfect Circle. He stuck, again, to his Les Paul's and SG's. It seems somewhat of a comeback to the original Pumpkin times.