More Than What Meets the Eye: Limited-Edition Shields Blender Fuzz Pedal – Kevin Shields’ Collaboration With Fender
Fender and Kevin Shields have collaborated to create a signature fuzz pedal inspired by the vintage Blender units that the renowned My Bloody Valentine guitarist utilized to shape his iconic shoegaze electric guitar sound. Known as the Kevin Shields Blender, this pedal is the result of four years of dedicated research and development. It incorporates a 1970s Fender fuzz circuit within an expanded format, featuring new performance-oriented enhancements.
The Kevin Shields Blender has two channels, an octave-up fuzz and sag controls
The original Blender fuzz units were equipped with four knobs. In contrast, Shields’ signature pedal boasts eight knobs and four footswitches. Among the notable additions is a push button for toggling the octave-up fuzz voice on and off. Additionally, two footswitchable channels are available: one blends the guitar’s signal with fuzz, while the other eliminates the clean signal entirely, substituting it with a monophonic sub-octave fuzz.
A notable inclusion is the footswitchable reactive Sag circuit, which introduces the Trigger and Sag controls. These parameters allow musicians to modify the fuzz response in accordance with their playing style and the specific pickups employed on their electric guitars.
As the name implies, the Blender pedal offers the ability to blend tones. Similar to a Nutribullet for fuzz, users can easily adjust the Volume and Blend controls to achieve the desired balance between the guitar’s signal and the fuzz effect. The Fuzz and Octave knobs can then be fine-tuned to personal preferences.
Interestingly, despite the saturated market of guitar effects pedals and the ongoing pursuit of pedals that emulate the feedback, sustain, and distinctive guitar fuzz characteristic of Shields’ renowned My Bloody Valentine tone, the Kevin Shields Blender represents his inaugural venture into signature pedals.
Shields’ mention of studio work has sparked curiosity, hinting at the possibility of new music from the artist
The Fender Kevin Shields Blender pedal boasts a brushed aluminum chassis with retro vinyl accents, exuding a 1970s aesthetic. It features F-stamped witch’s hat controls and incorporates various control options, including those for the Sag circuit, octave section (featuring Fuzz and Octave dials), and the fuzz circuit (featuring Volume, Blend, Tone, and Sustain controls). The pedal is equipped with Bypass, Octave, Sag, and Expand footswitches.
Undoubtedly, the Kevin Shields Blender will serve as a holy grail for shoegaze enthusiasts and alternative rock musicians seeking to sculpt noise-laden sonic landscapes. Nevertheless, to fully harness the potential of this pedal, users must also consider their reverb preferences, with the Catalinbread X40 Soft Focus being a suggested option. Additionally, finding an appropriate setting where amplifiers can be cranked up to achieve the desired volume is crucial. After all, experiencing the My Bloody Valentine tone without significant volume is akin to a day devoid of sunshine.
In 2021, Shields recounted an incident during a performance of “You Made Me Realise” where the extreme volume prompted a local butcher to chase his sister with a cleaver in protest. Law enforcement officials were compelled to intervene, arresting the tour manager during the performance. Despite the interruption, the band continued playing the song until its conclusion.
Priced at £449 / $499, the Kevin Shields Blender pedal represents a significant investment. Limited to a global production of 700 units, it is exclusively available through Reverb, Andertons, and Fender. Each unit bears Shields’ personal signature and comes with a commemorative booklet.
The shoegaze legend included a hidden flash drive in the packaging of his new fuzz pedal
The guitarist of My Bloody Valentine has taken an unconventional approach to releasing new music by discreetly concealing a flash drive containing a fresh track inside his recently unveiled fuzz pedal, a collaborative creation with Fender. Out of the 100 lucky individuals who purchased the limited-edition pedal via Reverb, a select few discovered the hidden flash drive while examining the pedal’s circuitry. This exciting revelation was subsequently shared on various gear blogs on Friday, June 16th.
The track, which remains exclusively available on the flash drive, appears to be an instrumental piece. Shields himself included instructions that suggest playing the music at 80 dB or higher on speakers to achieve the intended effect.
Kevin Shields has always defied conventional music release practices. After a nearly two-decade hiatus following My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 masterpiece “Loveless,” their subsequent album “m b v” arrived in 2013. Another decade has since passed without any new releases, despite Shields hinting at the imminent arrival of two new albums in 2018.
The Shields Blender pedal itself has been meticulously designed to recreate the distinct layers of distortion and sound that define My Bloody Valentine’s unique sound.