FOMO is a real and present danger when it comes to the limited edition guitar effects pedal. In this golden age for the pedalboard, you’ve got to act fast. But on occasion, it pays to wait – like now, with Fender just announcing that the Kevin Shields Blender is to join the brand’s mainline range of pedals.
The launch of the Shields Blender was one of the biggest pedal stories of the year so far. Not only was the My Bloody Valentine guitarist involved with the release, in some of the 700 limited edition units there was a secret drive containing new music from the legendary shoegaze band. But at £449 / $499, it was a considerable investment.
Just a few months later, the Blender is priced just £279 and, okay, the signature back plate is gone from the enclosure, but this shares the same two-channel setup as the original, with the same tweaked Blender circuit offering two footswitchable channels of blendable fuzz, one with a conventional fuzz signal, the other with a wholly wet fuzz sound that applies a monophonic sub-octave effect.
This is far evolved from vintage Blender units, and was four years in the making. Shields’ design ups the control count from four knobs to eight. There is a footswitchable Sag circuit allows you to tailor the pedal’s response to your guitar.
As the name suggests, you have the capability to blend these sounds as you see fit, taking your electric guitar tone on the scenic route through various stages of fuzz, from the conventional to the weird.
“I really enjoyed the experience,” said Shields. “I’ve been using it a lot recently in the studio, it’s been great. I’m looking forward to hearing how other people use it. It’s kind of pretty extreme but also very interesting when it’s set up in a subtle way.”
The fuzz circuit has controls for Volume, Blend, Tone and Sustain. The octave section has two dials for Fuzz and Octave. There are Bypass, Octave, Sag and Expand footswitches, and there’s no mistaking the vintage Fender aesthetic.
Shields hand-signed each of the limited run Blender units. With this release, Fender extends the invitation for you to put your own stamp on it. And while it is explicitly a My Bloody Valentine stompbox – and another addition to a growing genre of pedals designed principally for the heady business of shoegaze indie rock – there is the potential to eke out all kinds of different sounds from this.
For more details, head on over to Fender.