Stage names always kind of grind my nerves, but with a name like David Evans, I can see why Edge needed something a little more memorable.
Although he could have gone with David Howell, right?
Howell is his middle name.
While a full parsing of his rig is daunting, here are the pieces that are most responsible for his tone:
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I guess “Edge” has a pretty good ring to it.
But, I digress.
We’re here to talk about his guitar work and how to nail down The Edge amp settings.
Minimalistic Guitar Playing
Evans is known for his minimalist approach to the guitar and his use of delay, reverb and chiming effects, all of which are commonly associated with U2’s sound. Personally, I’m a big fan of his guitar playing and have modeled a lot of my own creativity and teaching approach off of his template.
I’ll give you a couple options.
First, we’ll cover the conventional “Edge sound” and then I’ll give you a second schema that I’ve found to work well with my own rig.
Conventional Edge Amp Settings
The little bit of gain here helps, and I’d say it works better when coming from your amplifier instead of a pedal.
This setting is great for delay with a lot of highs and a cut down bass knob.
- Gain: 1
- Treble: 6-7
- Mids: 4-6
- Bass: 2-4
- Reverb: 4-7
The one thing I would add is reverb, which wasn’t available on the app I use to make the settings diagrams.
Depending on your amp, I’d experiment with reverb between four and seven (on a scale of one to ten) especially if you’re looking for that chiming effect.
High Tones and Cheap Amps
I’ve found that cheaper amps (and often times solid state amps) don’t handle high settings nearly as well as the best tube amps like Marshall and Vox. Sometimes you can get away with a low, thick tone on a cheap amp, but highs are just too brutal.
Evans’ traditional sound comes from a VOXAC30, which not all of us are privileged enough to own.
So if you don’t have a higher end tube amp and you feel like it doesn’t handle the higher tone settings as well, you’re running into a pretty common problem.
In my experience, a good solution can be to go with a heavier, thicker tone, especially if you’re trying to use a delay effect, like Evans so often does.
Here’s what I came up with.
- Gain: Off
- Treble: 6-7
- Middle: 3-5
- Bass: 7-8
- Reverb: 4-6
You can tweak this to see what works best with your guitar and amp, but generally speaking, if you start with the original setting (the first one I listed) and you feel like it just sounds a little weak, try cutting back the mids and push the bass a bit higher.
That will give your sound some more body and add that extra bit of substance that might be missing with a cheaper amplifier.
Evans has used a lot of effects on different recordings and performances. Though he most commonly utilizes basic compression and an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man which has been part of his rig since the early ’80s.
The compression helps with layering, delay and smoothing out the signal to prevent major jumps and dips in volume.
It makes everything just a bit more discrete.
Here are the two pedals you would want to target.
Electro-Harmonix Memory Man
MXR Dyna Comp
If you’ve got something that you think works better for capturing Evans’ tone, leave it in the comments.
Conclusion and Questions
I haven't updated this post in quite awhile, so if you have questions or ideas about Edge's tone or the gear he uses, feel free to drop those in the comments section below. Over the years his settings and gear have stayed pretty much the same.
Thanks to those who have already chimed in and best of luck pursuing a great tone.
Source: Guitar Geek
Flickr Commons Image via Phil Romans