The Edge's talent as a guitarist - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-16-2017, 11:01 AM   #1
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The Edge's talent as a guitarist

Hello,

Let me start off my post by saying that I know absolutely nothing about how to play guitar or any musical instrument for that matter. I know nothing about music theory and my appreciation for U2 is on a purely novice level. With that in mind I have a few questions that I hope someone with more experience than I can answer:

1. What is a delay pedal and why do the U2 haters criticize The Edge for relying on one rather heavily?

2. There are those who say that the Edge's ability as a guitarist is akin to a talented five year old. From a musical standpoint, why would they say this? What does he not do that other guitarists are doing that make people hate on him? I once saw on a YouTube video comment that the poster's guitar teacher said that Edge doesn't even play the guitar! (see video below) Why?

Thanks for your thoughts

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Old 09-16-2017, 11:24 AM   #2
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Some think effects are a crutch. That's like saying beautiful visuals in a film are a crutch in lieu of story. Ridiculous but...art and taste. Effects are essential to creating interesting music for the vast majority of listeners....VAST majority. Otherwise it's a question of snobbery regarding musicianship...a conversation I bored of when I was a teenager.

A delay pedal is an effect that repeats notes. This is the cascading sound. Different delays give different repeats. It's very difficult to master the timing of using lots of delay, beyond simplicity. Edge is IMO undoubtedly the greatest user of delay in rock history.

Some people think playing lots of notes = great playing. Particularly fans of blues based stuff and metal based stuff. They see Edge's use of delay as less dexterous and thus less impressive.

Jimmy Page and other greats don't agree. That's all you really need to know. But really, it's like anything else. It comes down to what is tasteful to a person. A matter of opinion.

Edge without delay is a good guitarist. But he's pretty unremarkable compared to the usual standard of those guitar snobs. That's just my opinion. I'm not better than he is (I'm still sloppy) and I've been playing for 20 years. But I can probably play faster...so if I were one of those morons, I might claim to be better.
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:24 AM   #3
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Double post
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U2DMfan View Post
Edge without delay is a good guitarist. But he's pretty unremarkable compared to the usual standard of those guitar snobs. That's just my opinion. I'm not better than he is (I'm still sloppy) and I've been playing for 20 years. But I can probably play faster...so if I were one of those morons, I might claim to be better.
It always boils down to criteria and interpretation thereof, and even then it's all subjective.

As is most things.

I think there are enough people in the world that appreciate the Edge's unquestioned talent and see beyond the million-notes-a-second thing.

A friend of mine thinks that Richie Blackmore is god, but still, he appreciates the Edge, likes some U2: Vertigo, One, Pride.
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Old 09-16-2017, 01:23 PM   #5
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The Edge's talent as a guitarist

I'd say Edge is more innovative than proficient. He's a good guitarist in terms of proficiency, but he's not a phenom. Then again, outside of Hendrix, SRV, Clapton, and a handful of others, technical proficiency does not always make for great musicianship. There's more to music than being the best instrumentalist. I find most of Steve Vai's music unlistenable.
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Old 09-16-2017, 01:46 PM   #6
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Do not ever pay attention to YouTube comments. There's very few darker corners of the Internet than the comment section there.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:50 PM   #7
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Edge is very creative and innovative with his effects. But his chord phrasing and just the way he positions his fingers is so unorthodox, even going back to the Boy album. I recently took the time to learn "An Cat Dubh" on guitar. I'm that song alone, Even at 18-19 years old, he was doing shit on the guitar that I've NEVER seen anybody else do. Especially in his younger years, his thinking was so outside the box.

His playing is not based around basic chords or blues scales, therefore most guitarist can't wrap their heads around what he's doing. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years, I would rank my abilities at an 8/10. But I still learn something new from Edge's work all the time.

No, he's not the most proficient player. Neither is Keith Richards. But Edge is a wall of sound, and his unusual approach to guitar playing is part of what makes U2 so great, and such a popular band to this day.
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:36 PM   #8
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The Edge is extremely talented. He just doesn't shred. Guitarists look down on guys who don't shred (play fast, calculated riffs and notes - think guys like Eddie Van Halen) but I think that's bullshit. The Edge is like a painter in a circle (guitarists) that values technical schematics.

Edge's usage of pedals, especially delay, inspired a whole generation of guitarists (whether they'll admit it or not)
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:37 PM   #9
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The Edge is extremely talented. He just doesn't shred. Guitarists look down on guys who don't shred (play fast, calculated riffs and notes - think guys like Eddie Van Halen) but I think that's bullshit. The Edge is like a painter in a circle (guitarists) that values technical schematics.

Edge's usage of pedals, especially delay, inspired a whole generation of guitarists (whether they'll admit it or not)
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:16 AM   #10
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I've also seen comments dissing Edge for using delays and didn't know what the big deal was, so I've often wondered about this, too.
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:55 AM   #11
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Edge's guitar sound is like having heaven on earth.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:07 AM   #12
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The Edge's talent as a guitarist

Edge uses delay almost as an instrument in itself -- it's most definitely not a crutch to his playing. As somebody once put it, he is a sonic architect, and creates worlds with his sound that perfectly match Bono's voice and mood.
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Old 09-17-2017, 04:23 AM   #13
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I don't know about guitar playing, but as for effects consider Kirk Hammet gets a lot of flack for using wah wah so...
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:16 PM   #14
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The Edge isn't a guitarist, and I mean that as a compliment.

Sure, he can play the guitar, and pretty well, but he really is just a pure musician. He creates sound, not sounds.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The Edge isn't a guitarist, and I mean that as a compliment.

Sure, he can play the guitar, and pretty well, but he really is just a pure musician. He creates sound, not sounds.
This is a wonderful comment.

Though it does annoy me how underestimated his guitar playing ability is. Of course he isn't Tommy Emmanuel but The Edge can play.
The thing is, hitting all the notes he hits isn't that hard.
Hitting them the WAY he hits them is. His technique is unique and entirely built for tone, not speed. You start trying to replicate his tone you end up with a lot of big pick movement and hand movement, which makes speed tough.
But when he wants to be, he's plenty fast.
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