Kevin Shields’ guitar work with My Bloody Valentine is some of the most virtuosic of the last few decades. Characterised by apocalyptic levels of fuzz and distortion and ghostly modulating textures, the shoegaze icon is a master experimentalist. His secret weapon? The Fender Jazzmaster, of course.
Listen to Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine talk about how the Fender Jazzmaster shaped his sound.
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Jazzmaster, Shields recently spoke with both Fender and Rolling Stone about how the guitar changed his life and defined his style, reflecting on how he fell in love with its iconic tremolo system, how he used it fervently on My Bloody Valentine’s early songs.
“I remember when we started in ’83, we used to work with cassette tapes, and we did our drum stuff with bending the tape and changing the pitch. We also did it with synthesizers,” he remembers.
“There was a band called D.A.F., which was a German electronic band with a synthesizer, and they had a song that was shifting in and out of tune all the time. And I was fascinated by that. When I suddenly discovered the tremolo arm on the guitar, I realized I could do all the stuff I liked from the synthesizer. It was just a moment of, ‘Oh, my God, I can do all this stuff easily.'”