100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

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The Edge

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Rarely has a guitarist achieved so much by playing so little. Most of what the Edge (real name Dave Evans) played on U2's early albums, from Boy in 1980 to the '87 global smash The Joshua Tree, can be described thusly: circular skeletal arpeggios swimming in oceans of reverb; few conventional chords or solos. But the elegant urgency of the Edge's minimalism on those records perfectly framed and fueled the earnest, flag-waving theatricality of Bono's voice. With U2's swerve into apocalyptic dance music on 1991's Achtung Baby, the Edge coated his riffs in extreme distortion and electronic treatments but without betraying his playing credo: Less is most.

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