u2 Elevation Guitar Tone

U2′s 2000 record “All that you can’t leave behind” was heralded as a return to form for the band having seemingly abandoned the experimentation on the previous record PoP in favor of some of the more classic U2 textures.

The album saw the return of The Edge’s classic delay driven chiming sound – audible on many of the tracks including their opening single the grammy award winning “Beautiful Day”.

However the record was not without new sounds and the third track “Elevation” features an iconic intro that sounds equally at home live or on the radio. Since it’s release it’s become a crowd favorite on the road.

For the track Edge uses a cherry Gibson SG. Whilst this isn’t a guitar that features that much with U2 – on “Elevation” Edge is able to get some classic overdriven tones from the humbucker pickups and the guitar provides the hard edge that the track requires. The track featrues prominent use of distortion and features some classic tones and chopping rhythm.

The actual construction of the song isn’t overtly complicated but a clever mix of guitar effects and structure adds the subtle nuances that The Edge is renowned for – there are notably four distinct sections of the track – the intro – verse/chorus, middle eight and solo.

In an interview in Guitar Player magazine Edge said of the distortion “it was a Gibson SG through an old Fuzz pedal of Daniel’s (Daniel Lanois u2 producer) into the Bassman”

The intro is created using a Kay Fuzztone pedal which acts a little like a distorted wah wah pedal by rocking on the pedal Edge generates the pulsing driven sound. The Kay Fuzztones are not manufactured anymore but old models can be picked up via Ebay or the sound can be approximated by using a multi effects unit with an expression pedal (link the distortion to the expression pedal).

The main rhythm is colored by a Line 6 DM4 Distortion Modeler (http://line6.com/news/general/122) or similar. The middle eight features a cleanish tone but with tremelo adding that pulse to the arpeggio. This adds a nice contrast to the harshness of the verse. The solo features a heavily strummed rhythm on the low E and A strings – not really a solo as such rather more of an extension to the verse/chorus structure.

The Edge’s isn’t always known for his heavy sounds but as Elevation shows there is more to Edge than just delay, Elevation features a range of sounds a great intro all wrapped up into a modern pop song.

Getting a great Blues Guitar tone – Part One

Part one – A beginner’s guide to choosing the right guitar, amps and effects for blues.
First things first – Blues is such a vast genre of music that Blues tones mean different things to different people – whether it’s the raw tone of BB King through to the overdriven tones of Clapton during his Bluesbreakers periods or to Robert Johnson’s acoustic tones – they are all blues but all sound very different – in the first part of this series in getting a great blues tone we’ll look at what you need to think about stating off in the world of blues – which guitar should you look to using, which amp and what effects considerations you’ll need to make. In subsequent articles we’ll look at some of the most well known players and examine their rigs and get to the bottom of their sound. However remember that the blues comes out of you. The blues can only be bought with time and sweat, gear will only get your part of the way!

Which guitar for Blues?
This one’s a question of personal taste, and the blues genre that your interested in – but for electric blues for most it’ll come down to either a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul (or replica’s depending on the budget). Stratocasters produce that clean sparkly tone (think Clapton, Robert Cray), while the Les Paul (Jimmy Page) will produce a rawer edgier sound (great for rock blues)

Remember to try out some hollow bodies (think BB King and his Gibson 335) – there are some great tones to be had from the latest Epiphones (Dot studio for example) – we find the hollowbodies give a much woodier earthy tone than hard bodies and usually a lot more sustain – however it’s down to personal preference. Also remember that heavier strings produce a stronger tone so you may want something a little different from the usual 10 gauge. And for a real authentic sound – ditch the wang bar – go for a fixed bridge.

The type of pickup used can heavily influence the sound produced – personally we adore the sound of a P90 pickup – however for a more rockier blues sound check out some Humbuckers (but unless you want a real overdriven tone – don’t opt for too higher an output).

The Amp
Tube all the way – for a natural warm tone capable of producing that raw emotion look for a suitable Tube driven amp. There’s loads out on the market – for authenticity try something like a Fender Twin or Fender Pro. For those wanting a little more grunt – look at the range of Marshall combos (Try Marshall JCM 800 combo). If your space conscious and don’t want to upset the neighbors too much look at the range of amp modeling processors out there – companies such as Line 6 (www.line6.com) manufacture units that can produce some great sounds.

The Effects
For most they’ll want a clean tone – simply plugged into the amp utilizing it’s own overdrive (Just a little overdrive is usually perfect) and a little reverb.– for others a separate overdrive pedal matched with a crybaby wah wah pedal will produce fine results. Remember for true authentic electric blues don’t push it into metal territory – blues requires an articulate touch and too much drive destroys the clarity and voice of the guitar – great for some styles but not necessarily for blues.