Steel Panther guitarist Satchel recently spoke to Guitar World about the influential U2 guitarist, the Edge, and stated his admiration towards him for playing ‘less.’
The Edge is best known to be the guitarist of the iconic band U2 since its official formation in 1978, but his influence exceeds the band’s influential career. His guitar playing style has been regarded as unique and inspired many other guitarists.
He is mainly known for playing simple notes but making them echo beautifully. His signature moves on the guitar are arpeggios, sixteenth notes, percussive strumming, and harmonics. His simplicity was regarded as different because guitarists at the time were usually more inclined to create more complicated solos.
Yngwie Malmsteen, for example, was one of the guitarists who would fascinate the listener with his range of notes. He was able to show his talents in playing a lot of notes, proving that he fully understood his instrument. Yet, Edge’s simplicity still surpassed his influence, according to Satchel.
Here is what Satchel stated about Edge’s influence at the time:
“At a time when guitar acrobatics were the norm when Eddie and Yngwie and Vai and countless guitar gods were playing as many notes as the human ear could register in a solo, there was the Edge. Fewer notes, more space. Awesome notes. Amazing tones. Vibes.
I don’t think there was any guitar player who heard the Edge back then who didn’t get inspired. Who didn’t want to play ‘less‘ after hearing him? He came up with two- or three-note riffs that were the sound of U2 – one of the defining sounds of the ’80s and ’90s as well.
‘October’ is full of classic Edge riffs and sounds. ‘Gloria’ is one of the most memorable guitar riffs of the era, but every song is a masterclass on the use of space. Listen to the huge tones on ‘I Threw a Brick Through a Window’ and how he lays out in the verses in all the perfect spots.
‘Scarlet’ gives a taste of where he’s going with his genius use of delay. He’s one of the few guitar players in the history of rock that has defined his sound so clearly. He’s the guy who makes you realize it’s not your fingers holding you back – it’s your mind.”
Satchel basically described how the Edge proved to the music world the commonly known phrase, ‘less is more.’ He appreciated his power of making the listener enjoy and vibe to his simplistic technique. The Steel Panther guitarist stated that Edge hits the notes at the perfect time and named songs like ‘October,’ ‘Gloria,’ and ‘Scarlet’ as a few of the songs that his sound is apparent.