Out of all the most famous rock and roll guitar players that have shredded their way to stardom, the Edge of U2 is one of the most iconic. I don’t just mean his look and attitude either. No, the Edge’s unique guitar sound is what really makes him stand out even among his great contemporaries.
This sound relies heavily on a delay, which can be heard on many U2 songs to great effect, such as “The Streets Have No Name.”
So how does the Edge capture his unique and awesome delay effect? The Edge has used a number of delay pedals over the years but seems to particularly like the Korg SDD-3000. This programmable digital delay has many different delay settings and effect types, making it extremely versatile and effective: perfect for guitar players like the Edge.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the Edge’s delay pedals, his history as a guitarist, and some of the gear he loves to use to figure out how to craft your sound to more closely resemble his iconic tone.
Who is the Edge?
The Edge, less commonly known as David Howell Evans, is an Irish (though English-born) musician most famously involved in the rock band U2 as the lead guitarist and backing vocalist. His understated but sharp style can be heard on all of U2’s many studio albums and is a core part of their sound.
Edge was one of the founding members of U2 and has been on all 14 of U2’s studio albums. He is known for effects-based guitar playing that forms the backbone of almost every U2 song, as the chimey, shimmering guitar tones make U2 songs very identifiable and also quite an easy listen!
What delay pedal does the Edge use?
One of the major effects the Edge uses in order to create the shimmery tone U2 fans know and love is a delay. Specifically, the Edge likes to use a Korg SDD-3000, which is a digital delay pedal with many settings and options that give Edge a wide range of sound.
Edge’s rig often has two of these pedals, as he is often coming out of two separate amps. This can be true for both in-studio recording and live sets as well.
He will have his guitar signal come split and go into two separate Korg SDD-3000 units, each of which then goes through its own amps. This creates a wider and more spacey sound and makes the delay effect even stronger.
However, most of us don’t have the money to spend on two amps, and the Korg SDD-3000, due to its multi-functionality and exceptional quality, can be quite an expensive purchase as well.
Upon the release of Joshua Tree, and on any U2 record before that, Edge was using Korg SDD-2000s, but upgraded to the later model afterward. If you can find one of these for cheaper and/or you like the old U2 sound a bit more, it might be worth looking into getting your hands on an SDD-2000.
What other gear does the Edge use?
There is a ton of gear that goes into making the Edge’s sound.
Firstly, his guitar. For live performances, the Edge tends to lean towards Gibson, using a Gibson explorer for most of U2’s modern tours. However, on many records, such as Joshua Tree, Edge uses a Fender Telecaster. If you want to emulate a certain Edge sound, make sure you are looking into using the same guitars!
The edge often plays through a 1964 Vox AC30. This amp allows him to create the bright, shimmery tones that make his sound so instantly recognizable. There are records where he uses other amps, but these days, especially for live performances, the Vox AC30 is definitely the Edge’s main amp.
As for pedals, there is a number that the Edge likes to use. After all, he is most famous for his use of effects.
Firstly, for overdrive, the Edge likes to use the Boss GE-7. This is not an overdrive pedal, but an equalizer that he uses to raise the volume of his overdrive and distortion pedals.
For his actual overdrive pedal itself, Edge likes the Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive and the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive. After some time, Edge replaced the SD-1 Super Overdrive with an Ibanez Tube Screamer. He never cranks up the overdrive too high on these, but they are an important part of his sound on many songs.
For compression, the Edge uses an MXR Dynacomp for both live shows and recordings.
Of all the guitarists famous for using delay pedals to great effect, the Edge might be the most iconic of them all. In order to capture his famous sound, a Korg SDD-3000 (or two) going through a Vox AC30 (or two) would be preferred.
However, for those of us on a budget, getting an older Korg model or even a different delay can be perfect, if you have the ear to try and match the sound that edge makes with your own!