Edge: Great Guitarist?

archtop_fjk

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No he is not a shredder, nor does he care to be. But he adds his magic to the U2 sound and plays to support the song and Bono's vocals. I am a big U2 fan because of what they do as a band (including the song arrangements and lyrical content) and not because the guitar player is a technical wizard.

Here's a good example. "In God's Country" from their original tour supporting the "Joshua Tree" album.

 
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loopfinding

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he found his shtick and he works it. i guess there's something to be said about that. but i'm not sure his playing works for anything other than U2.

if we are talking contemporaries, i think andy summers is a much better guitarist with more breadth.
 
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Marc Morfei

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No he is not a shredder, nor does he care to be. But he adds his magic to the U2 sound and plays to support the song and Bono's vocals. I am a big U2 fan because of what they do as a band (including the song arrangements and lyrical content) and not because the guitar player is a technical wizard.
Yes I think this is spot on. People here at TDPRI seem to dislike him in general. But I think he is great, very original and distinctive.
 

tomasz

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A different take though: If somebody is in a band who sells albums in millions of copies, would you say, he is a sh*tty guitarist/musician? :D

If you apply any modern shredding measurements, Bob Dylan is out, George Harrison is out, Tom Petty is out, ...enter-your-idol-here... is out...

In my little world, everybody, who plays a guitar well and contributes to the music, not to his ego-image, is a great guitarist.
 

Ron R

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he found his shtick and he works it. i guess there's something to be said about that. but i'm not sure his playing works for anything other than U2.

if we are talking contemporaries, i think andy summers is a much better guitarist with more breadth.
I'm not disagreeing, but the fact that you mention Andy Summers as a contemporary is telling in and of itself.
 

burntfrijoles

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plays to support the song and Bono's vocals. I am a big U2 fan because of what they do as a band (including the song arrangements and lyrical content) and not because the guitar player is a technical wizard.
Playing to support the song is the key to being a good musician. Ringo wasn’t a “solo” guy but, as a drummer supporting the song, he was almost unparalleled.
People here at TDPRI seem to dislike him in general.
I do not dislike him in any way.
If a guitar player does not play the way you like, they suck.
If you apply any modern shredding measurements, Bob Dylan is out, George Harrison is out, Tom Petty is out,
”Shredding” is not the mark of greatness. Lots of shredding doesn’t seem musical. You can do a lot with a few notes, some space, etc. Harrison’s lead work cannot be diminished and the secondary parts he played to Lennon’s rhythm work added a lot. Petty‘s not the soloist in TPHB, it’s Campbell who doesn’t shred but whose phrasing is great!

As I said, Edge is great at creating rich textures via his voicing, effects and rhythm.
Upon further review my initial question is really not appropriate. He could be considered a great guitarist dependent on the criteria.
 
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oldunc

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No he is not a shredder, nor does he care to be. But he adds his magic to the U2 sound and plays to support the song and Bono's vocals. I am a big U2 fan because of what they do as a band (including the song arrangements and lyrical content) and not because the guitar player is a technical wizard.
I'm not really fond of the music- rock in general- but I agree with you that he seems to be working more in concert with the band than most rock guitarists. I never really got the whole "shredding" thing- as far as I can tell it seems to involve playing a zillion billion notes, generally grace notes on simple scale patterns, without actually going much of anywhere or referring to the song. This guy might count as a great bandmate.
 

loopfinding

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I'm not disagreeing, but the fact that you mention Andy Summers as a contemporary is telling in and of itself.

He’s much older but his biggest statement is from the same period more or less, in a similar style. And U2 likes to act like they were “passed the torch” or something. If the police were radiohead, U2 is like Coldplay.
 

Lou Tencodpees

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His playing is easy to identify which, whether or not is one's cup of tea, is an accomplishment. You can say the same thing about Neil Young or Clapton, and then compare them all to Django Reinhardt and get lost in the weeds. The Edge knows his sound and knows how to incorporate it into the songwriting. Not a huge U2 fan but he's got my respect.
 

Knows3Chords

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When U2 first came out they were part of the new movement in that the guitar player didn't play some big solo in the songs. I don't know if it was considered a more "minimalistic" approach to guitar, but he sure resonated with a huge number of young guitar players at that time. I think back to his "solo" in Party Girl. It sounded so basic but it just worked.
 

ChicknPickn

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A friend dragged me to a U2 concert in one of their first US appearances (Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC, early 80s). As far as I could tell hearing them on the radio, there was "no guitar." Of course, I was listening for my kind of guitar.

But I had to admit I was blown away on that cold, rainy day. A "new" sound to me in those days, and powerful. Yeah, it's the band in that case, not the guitarist so much.
 

Double Stop

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I am, at best, a casual U2 listener. Does the Edge ever “stretch out” on guitar. Admittedly I only know their hits but I can’t think any real Edge guitar solos.
I know he’s a great at creating rich textures.
Their first three albums "Boy", "October" and "War" are where he plays in a more traditional rock style. Still not a lot of "solos" but filled with anthemic, memorable, and very tasteful lines and melodies. It's more straight ahead and although his sound was pretty distinct at that time, he had yet to fully develop that "Edge sound" that he has become so well known for. It wasn't until their 4th album, "The Unforgettable Fire" that his now famous sound came to the fore, and I think that was very influenced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois producing that album.

But yeah, listen to the solo on "New Year's Day". It fits so well within the song. Go to the 2:53 minute mark on this clip.

 

Cyberi4n

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“The Fly” is by far and away my favourite U2 track, and on that track he rocks imho.

Their recent stuff has been a bit tedious but like others have said he’s a true innovator and knows his sound, his place, and his orchestration and textural feel is second to none. Has anyone seen him in the film ‘It Might Get Loud’?
 




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