5 ways My Bloody Valentine changed the sound of guitar playing forever

Kevin Shields
(Image credit: David Corio/Redferns via Getty)

My Bloody Valentine are the ultimate '90s cult guitar band. They helped define a genre – shoegaze – before transcending it, then disappearing for 20 years. Though their influence remained, their records were so out-of-fashion that they were impossible to find until eBay came along.

By the time of their seminal album Loveless, their approach to the guitar was completely iconoclastic. Led by the mercurial Kevin Shields, alongside co-guitarist Bilinda Butcher, they developed a way of playing the guitar that had a lot more to do with atmosphere and sound design than just simple riffs or chord progressions.

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Alex Lynham

Alex Lynham is a gear obsessive who's been collecting and building modern and vintage equipment since he got his first Saturday job. Besides reviewing countless pedals for Total Guitar, he's written guides on how to build your first pedal, how to build a tube amp from a kit, and briefly went viral when he released a glitch delay pedal, the Atom Smasher.