A decent knife needs only one blade and U2 guitarist Dave ‘Edge’ Evans is as sharp as it gets. From modest beginnings U2 have become a rock music leviathan, unashamedly political, singer Bono has often been lambasted, but U2 were always purveyors of music with a conscience.
As early as the “WAR” album in 1983, U2 wore their hearts on their sleeves – the bold anti-war anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday” flew like a punk-rock flag amid a sea of new-Romantic synthpop. U2 have never been short on emotional, innate musical sense and, propaganda.
Eno and Lanois
In 1984 U2 released the landmark recording “The Unforgettable Fire” heralded by the successful single “Pride (In the name of Love). With Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois helping to produce an atmospheric drama and a more impressionistic sound with the band – a strange amalgam with U2’s agit-prop, Clash-ist sensibilities. In 1987 the elemental and earnest ‘American’ song cycle of “The Joshua Tree” delivered U2’s most complete vision.
Edge Guitar Syle
The Edge’s guitar playing epitomises everything a great guitarist ought to seek – excitement, charisma, passion and individuality – immediately recognisable – both stylistically and sonically.
The Edge illustrates a zen like mastery of a unique sound that he can rightfully claim as his own. Whilst most 1980’s guitarists were obsessing over neo-classical speed guitar, the Edge continued his singular pursuit of melodic perfection through a combination of delay pedals and crystalline, skeletal arpeggios. Where many sought to create complexity the Edge distilled his guitar – in reverb and echo.
Less is more – Sonics
Dispensing with the traditional vocabulary of blues guitar The Edge’s trademark chiming, bell-like sound provides both an ambient, emotional and highly rhythmic, centre stage, signature for U2 – concentrating upon the creation of sonics that propel a song, rather than self indulgence.
Beginning with 1991’s Achtung Baby U2 and the Edge began to experiment with more industrial, alternative and electronic sounds. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin has described Edge as “A sonic genius.”
The Edge’s influence is hard to measure – it is likely that his melodic sensibility has influenced the current arena of modern pop and rock guitar more than any other player in the last thirty years. His influence is clearly heard in the guitar work of a multitude of many modern bands – Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Coldplay’s Jonny Buckland are two examples.
The Edge u2 sound
The core of the Edges sound is built around more high register, simplified arpeggios and looplike repetition – he breaks chords down and often removes the bass elements. Occasionally he includes legato and some glissando, slide guitar. Set your delay pedal to dotted eigths – 3/16 intervals.
The Edge + Vox AC30 + Delay
The Edge is reknowned for using a huge range of guitars – up to 200 in the studio, but his primary guitar sound is built from basic core elements – delay / echo and (1964) Vox AC30: