Guitars sold


Gibson Explorer 1976


For a certain type of guitar geeks, a 1976 Explorer is an unmistakable reference. Of course it is the first year of reissue for that famous ill-fated model (with a mahogany body instead of the original korina), but more than that it is the model that has been extensively used by pop genius The Edge. In the early days of U2, he would only use his ‘76 and a Les Paul Custom, and even if nowadays he brings a boatload of guitard on tour, a ‘76 Explorer is always part of the show.

For U2 fans, those guitars are a holy grail of sorts, which is why they command a hefty price on the vintage market, much more than a ‘77 or ‘78 model would. Therefore, for a player who wants the real Edge sound but can’t afford an all-original one, this is the ultimate Explorer: it was indeed made in 1976 and the wood is as close as you’re gonna get to The Edge’s weapon of choice, but a lot of parts have been changed, which makes it much more affordable. Tuners are nickel whereas the rest of the hardware is gold, the switch tip, the nut and the strap buttons have been changed, and it has been refretted. The pickups are T-top models made in 1969, and at some point there has been a vibrato installed which left a small hole in the top.

With the money you’re saving by choosing that version of a 1976, you can even afford to track down an original Memory Man and get your dotted eighth on.

The Edge


Band: U2
Main guitar: Gibson Explorer
Compulsory listening: Where the Streets Have no Name

The Edge is the George Harrison of the eighties. Like the Beatle, The Edge is not a virtuoso by any stretch of the imagination, but he makes up for it in spades by having created a very personal style that has become an integral part of the sound of his band, Irish superstars U2. Starting off in 1980 with Boy, The Edge was deeply influenced by punk to begin with, and his excellent right-hand attack comes straight from the punk ethos. Then, little by little, he has added effects to his Gibson Explorer and Vox AC30 setup, turning his sound into a sonic cathedral that propelled U2 to the pinnacle of stadium rock with such unforgettable songs as “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “Pride”, “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

His mastery of the delay is the stuff of legend, whether it be on a Electro Harmonix Memory Man or a TC Electronic 2290 rack, which he also uses for its famous preamp. He has turned dotted eighth repetitions into a pop cliché that has been stolen by countless bands and studio musicians, but he keeps ahead of the pack by always finding new sounds and new approaches, even coming back to balls-to-the-wall rock riffs in the 2000s.

He has used an amazing number of guitars and amps over the years, and he has a very deep knowledge of his gear, to the point that he insists on playing a particular setup for each song of the setlist during U2 concerts, without any concern for practicality. For the 2018 tour, he was travelling with no less than 45 guitars! But the result is worth it: no guitarist sounds better on stage.

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