Despite playing in one of the world’s biggest bands, the U2 guitarist is rarely thought of as a rock legend. Perhaps that’s because the sound he created transcends rock. His playing style and tone are like the reverse of the blues, reveling in the open spaces other guitarists fill with bluster and feedback. Nobody sounds quite like him. Even now, the Edge dares to strip back and revisit what made his sound work in the first place. The man is a beacon of integrity in a copycat business.
Throughout his career, the Edge has accumulated quite a serious collection of gear. Though the guitarist employs many different axes, the Gibson Explorer is probably the one he uses most overall and is the best place to start if you want to emulate the Edge’s sound. A new Gibson USA Explorer based on the original, with ceramic magnet humbuckers, costs around $1,448, while the Epiphone 1958 Korina Explorer lists for $749.
Unless you’re obscenely loaded, an original Vox AC30 is off the menu. However, if your bank account (or credit line) is relatively flush, we recommend the AC30CC2X Custom Classic with Alnico speakers at around $2,300. Alternatively, the Valvetronix AD50VT is a great buy at $520 if you’re happy to settle for a modeling combo amp instead of real tubes.
Several decent delay pedals are available, but at $299, Boss’s Twin pedal DD-20 Giga-delay is hard to resist. Equally impressive, and with similar scope for tweaking, is Line 6’s new Echo Park pedal, which lists for $209.99.
As a last note, the Edge’s unusual picking technique is an important aspect of his sound. He uses dimpled picks, and while the dimples provide a more secure grip, the Edge reportedly employs the picks sideways or backwards at times in order to grate the strings with the dimples. Several brands of pick have the requisite dimples, so shop around.