The Edge Guitar Sound Makes Sure "Its A Beautiful Day For U2."
The Edge guitar stylings with the Irish rock band U2 have seen this group at the very pinnacle of rock superstardom
for the last 25 years or so
.The Supergroup U2 was formed in Dublin,Ireland in 1976 and has won 22 Grammy awards more than any band.But lets get back to the Edge... Gosh....why didn't he just call himself “The Brink” or “The Now” or “The Chosen”...
“The Edge” just sounds so....so Cheesy....hey that would be a good name too...”The Cheesy.”
The Edge was born on Aug 8th 1961 in London,England before moving to Ireland at the age of one.
But anyways the real name of the lead guitarist for U2 is David Howell Evans...but call him the “Edge.”
Hey...speaking of “The Edge”....I've been living on the edge myself or at least way beyond my means...that's
what people say about me....but heck what's wrong with driving a 2010 Rolls-Royce on a beer-budget...OK...I'm
joking....I confess it's really a 1991 Chrysler...But you know what? I'll bet none of the members of U2 have one.
But lets get back to guitar business. The Edge guitar sound has a very unique style as a lead guitar player,he's
almost like the non-lead player in his approach to music. He is a minimalist when it comes to playing lead
a lot of times he'll just play a 2 or 3 note arpegiated chord as his lead solo. Something that's pretty rare
in the modern guitar lead world.
Now...I know all you axe players out there have heard the Edge guitar work with U2 a million times on all of
the electronic media. But this is for the one guy out there who's not aware of him.
A good example of the Edge guitar work in all it's simplified glory would be the old U2 song
“Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Here's how to play the intro which is Bm,D,G6...these are all fingerpicked
as 3 note arpegios... for your fretting hand,for the Bm...the B note... place the 3rd finger on the 3rd string 4th fret...
the D note...place the 2nd finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret...for the F# note...place the 1st finger on the 1st string
2nd fret....now for the D chord.... the A note...place the 1st finger on the 3rd string 2nd fret...the D note...place
the 3rd finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret...the F# note...place the 2nd finger on the 1st string 2nd fret....now the G6 chord...
the G note...3rd string open...the D note...place the 3rd finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret...the E note...1 string open.
Also in the same song listen to the Edge guitar sound and his intricate use of open sring harmonics,which give
a nice added texture to the song. So the Edge does know all the guitar techniques but he just uses them very
sparsley in his instrumental solos. And that is the basic essence of his playing style. And Edge is one of the
very few modern rock guys who plays like this....With Edge....Less is More.
Ah...But one thing the Edge guitar sound does heavely rely on is the digital sound processing equipment and
footpedals he uses...especially delay and chorus effects....this has all become part of the legendary sound of the U2
band.To sum up his guitar sound ...Edge gets the maximum amount of sound with the smallest amount of notes.
You hardly ever hear outright guitar solos from him...save for maybe the intros to some songs,or some
arranged parts in the middle.David Howell Evans is almost like a percussive rhytmn player holding
U2 together. The Edge guitar sound involves finding a few great sounding arpegiated lead lines for the guitar
and then just let them ring throughout the song. And it works so well...listen to U2's “Joshua Tree” or the
absolutely gorgeous “With or Without You.” and “Where The Streets Have no Name.”
I think that Edge feels that we dream of becoming musicians to create beautiful music and that great original
songs complete that dream...and if you keep things simple in a song you let that creation speak for itself...so the
song is the main component and not the lead guitar lines. Edge likes to find 2-3 notes that ring in unison and
work them into the song and try to make that his main guitar part and that has become his trademark sound.
The Edge guitar sound also involves lots of different guitars...apparently he owns over 200 guitars,
Gibsons,Fenders,Rickenbackers,Gretsh,Washburn/Taylor Acoustics and some rare vintage ones....it's
like he has a guitar for every note he's ever played on the guitar fretboard.
Mr. Evans is also known during U2 concerts to use as many as 17-19 different guitars on stage.
Wow....Edge really can't make up his mind...I'll bet he'd be terrible with a menu in a restaurant
other than Macdonalds...but somehow I just can't visualize the rock band U2 eating there.
OK...The Edge guitar stylings rely on lots of sound procesing equipment.... but he has one particular
guitar amplifier model that he loves...and that is the 1964 Vox AC30 that he uses on all the U2 recordings
and in concert...and Edge also owns over 30 of these vintage babies...now if Edge owns over 30 models
of Mercedes Benz...how does he ever decide which one to transport his guitars around in?...Yikes what a Dilemma!
And Edge also has some old fender amps from the 1950's that he uses and a Roland JC 120 amp.
Mr. Evans also supplies backing vocals to lead singer “Bono” as well as sometimes also playing
keyboards,bass,piano and Lapsteel guitar.
OK...so to wrap up our Edge guitar discussion,I'll just say that lots of guitarists and musicians find
his approach towards music and writing songs very refreshing and invigorating....Geez that sounds almost
like it should be a soft-drink commercial doesn't it?.This man could give lead guitar lessons on how not to overplay electric guitar.
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