If you haven’t checked out part one and two of this series, you can find part one of “The Guitar Stylings of Grunge, Shoegaze, & Punk” here, and part two here.

Shoegaze is a genre of rock music that doesn’t get as much press as grunge or punk, but its influence is obvious when you listen to Smashing Pumpkins, the Deftones, or even some grunge bands. This type of rock music is stylized with lots of guitar pedal effects like chorus, reverb, and tremolo as well as lush full chords more typically used in jazz music. A YouTube comment we saw once even remarked that a signature quality of shoegaze is to hit all 6 strings at the same time. Keep reading to continue the exploration of the guitar stylings of grunge, shoegaze, and punk.

We got a riff from the quintessential shoegaze album by My Bloody Valentine called Loveless. It’s rumored to have cost up to 250k just to produce this record due to all the experimentation with various production techniques and sound effects!

The riff above may just look like a normal powerchord riff but there’s more to it than that. It’s packing all of these chords into one bar of music, sticking to a minor key, and, like the other riffs shown, sticks to a simple 4 note motif.

If you search YouTube for shoegaze chords, you’ll find lots of exotic sounds that use add9, sus2, maj9, sharp 11s, and even lots of “slash” chords. It’s quite extraordinary to see these chords used in a heavy music context as they’re not easy to create riffs with! Using chords like these is why this genre is also sometimes called “dreampop.”

In part four, we’ll come full circle with the evolutional stylings of Grunge, Shoegaze, & Punk!


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