The brutal beauty of Kevin Shields’ pedalboard

The brutal beauty of Kevin Shields’ pedalboard
Kevin Shields' pedalboard 2008

So the news is that My Bloody Valentine are back. Not with new material, don’t be silly – those two new records they promised would be done last year are, in fact, not yet recorded, as per the New York Times feature below – but their catalog is back.

All their albums are now up on streaming services – Loveless and Isn’t Anything were always available in North America due to Sire/Warner Bros. holding the rights, but mbv was not and now it is. the ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compilation is still missing/incomplete, but hopefully that’s worked out at some point. And more importantly, the analog remasters of the Loveless and Isn’t Anythingreleased to great fanfare in 2018 and then almost immediately out of print – will be re-released at non-Discogs prices on May 21 of this year. Plus, their official videos are being remastered and restored on posted on YouTube through the day, so it’s a feast for the senses.

Kevin Shields on My Bloody Valentine’s Return: Time Is ‘More Precious’ @ The New York Times

But maybe most importantly, it provides an opportunity to dive into the black hole of the stompbox singularity that is Kevin Shields’ live pedalboard. There’s not a lot of information about his setup from the ’90s – as mentioned earlier this week, the Guitar Geek schematic seemed plausible, but also maybe undersized? If there’s any photographic evidence of what he was running through while touring Loveless, I’ve not seen it.

Rig Diagram: Kevin Shields, My Bloody Valentine (1991) @ guitar.com

Their first reunion tour in 2008 was obviously better documented, the best shots of which I’ve seen online are helpfully gathered and annotated at Effects Bay:

Kevin Shields – My Bloody Valentine – Pedal Boards @ Effects Bay

A 2018 interview in Rolling Stone Japan also offered a look at what Shields was taking on the road a decade later:

ケヴィン・シールズ日本独占インタビュー後編、「老い」とは別バージョンの自分になる感覚 (Kevin Shields Japan Exclusive Interview Part 2, Feeling Becoming A Different Version Of “Old”) @ Rolling Stone Japan

And in 2019, someone posted a shot on reddit/r/guitarpedals of his pedals, now apparently moved en masse to a rack/switcher setup which, while eminently more sensible, is less fun and definitely not conducive to gazing at one’s shoes:

Kevin Shields’ pedalboard @ /r/guitarpedals

But while this week’s announcement got “My Bloody Valentine teasing” trending, I had a sense something was coming a little earlier. Danish audio system designer Caveman Audio posted this to their Facebook a couple weeks ago, offering the most up-to-date look at Kevin Shields’ pedal setup, now safely stored in rack drawers with a state-of-the-art switching system. And why would Shields be messing around with his setup unless… he was doing stuff?

I’ve saved and shared the shots of the gear here for those not on Facebook.

Are you a Fuzz pedal fan? If yes, how many Fuzz pedals do you need on your pedalboard? Kevin Shields, godfather of Shoegaze and founder and guitarist for My Bloody Valentine, uses 60 pedals in his rig, and most of them are Fuzz pedals!

I built Kevin’s rig, using 6 x MR10 Loop Systems, to avoid hum, tonal loss and instability. In the System Interface we route selected sections to 7 different amplifiers – and the entire system is controlled by the SC1 MIDI Foot Controller.

– Steen Skrydstrup

Because I’m that guy, I’ve annotated the slides, starting from top right:


LR Baggs Venue DI Acoustic Preamp
Catalinbread Karma Suture (Germanium)

SIB Electronics Nick Nitro
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Seymour Duncan La Super Rica
Univox Uni-Tron 5
Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe

EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter
Smallsound/Bigsound Buzzz
Ibanez Analog Delay Mini
Catalinbread Formula 5
Seymour Duncan Shapeshifter

ZVEX Ringtone
Pigtronix Attack Sustain
Pigtronix Philosopher King

Roger Mayer Voodoo-1
Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah
Ibanez AD-9 (modded)
Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi
Dr. Scientist Tremolessence
Boss RC-20XL Loop Station

Pete Cornish ST-2
MXR M-109 Six Band EQ
Death By Audio Supersonic Fuzz Gun
Vorg Warp Sound
Sola Sound OC140 Tone-Bender

Seymour Duncan Fooz Fuzz
Smallsound/Bigsound Fuck Overdrive
Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird
DO NOT KNOW

Homebrew Electronics Power Screamer
Boss DD-6 Digital Delay
Pete Cornish SS-3
Mooer Ana Echo
Boss FT-2 Dynamic Filter
Pearl F-602 Warp Sound
Electro-Harmonix Little Big Muff Pi

Malekko Echo 600 Bright
Boss PN-2 Tremolo/Pan
Shere Sound Whirligig
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Boss TW-1 Touch Wah
ZVEX Box Of Rock
Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird v1
Devi Ever Shoe Gazer
Boss PS-5 Super Shifter



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