U2 - Atomic: Edge

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U2 Magazine: Equipment lists / 1981-1984



U2 MAGAZINE No: 1 - November 1981


Bono: Certainty 99 mic, custom made.

The Edge: Gibson Explorer, Vox AC30, Marshall 100 watt combo.

Adam Clayton: Ibanez Musician, MusicMan HD130, 2 4x2 Marshall cabs.

Larry: Tama kit with Gretsch snare, Paiste hi-hat, Zildjian cymbals.

PA: 5K rig from Hollywood Ltd, Birmingham.





U2 are a very hard-working band, having played some 217 shows in 11 countries in the last 12 months. They're always on the lookout for the old Vox AC30's with the original Roland G12 'Blue' loudspeakers still intact. The Edge plays a superb black Fender Strat, which, unusually these days, is complete with tremolo arm, as his main instrument, but also has a Gibson Explorer which is used on certain numbers and also serves as a spare. Both these are tuned a semitone down to E flat so as to suit the natural pitch of Bono's singing. The guitar is fed via a change-over switchbox to two Memory Man echo units, the output of each being fed into a separate Vox AC30 combo. The two echo units and the two Vox are set up to give different sounds, and by simply stamping on the switch, he can select either or both as required. The AC30's are stood down on the floor, tilted forward, and with a piece of carpet laid on the floor in front of the amps so as to minimize the throw of sound onto the stage. Each Vox is separately miked, one with a Shure SM58 the other with an AKG D1200 - the latter being due to availability rather than to any specific performance considerations.


Adam uses two Ibanez Musician basses, one with an active pre-amp built in, the other standard, although he often seems to play the standard instrument throughout. This was fed direct into an Ampeg SVT400 watt 8x10 bass stack with no effects units or other gadgetry at all. This was both DI'ed and miked using a Sennheiser MD421.

Bono also has a guitar - a black Fender Lead 2. This is fed through a Roland Bolt 60 combo miked with another Sennheiser MD421.


Larry has a somewhat unusual drum set up. Not that the kit itself was unusual, but it was arranged in an unusual manner and had several unusual extras. The basic kit is a very impressive all black Tama Fiberstar - all single headed, and including a 24" kick drum, 16" and 18" floor toms, and a selection of rather deep rack toms. The snare was a Ludwig 14"x61 " steel shell and he also has a pair of Latin Percussion Timbale. The cymbals comprised Zildjian 18" thin ride; 18" thin crash; 18" medium crash; 18" pang and 21" ride, with Paiste 14" hi-hats on a Premier Trilock pedal. The rest of the stands are Tama. The kit is miked using Sennheiser 421's for the kick and the floor toms, Shure SM57's for rack toms and snare, Electro-voice RE10 on the hi-hat and AKG D190's on the rest. No overhead mikes.


The Edge and Adam also use vocal mikes (Shure SM58's) and the Edge also uses a Yamaha CP70 electric grand piano on stage.


U-2 MAGAZINE No: 2 - MAY 1982

Mention of the Explorer led us naturally to the subject of The Edge's equipment, which is typically unusual. His set up is basically solid guitar into a small case of effects and from there to two Vox AC-30's. He uses three guitars on stage these days, but when I first saw him he was using the Explorer only. I wondered why he had chosen this particular guitar at the time.


"I think it's the most distinctive of my guitars. It seems that the body shape affects the sound somehow. It's a very vibrant guitar with lots of treble. I had a Strat that I wasn't that pleased with in those days, and when I was in New York with my parents, I went to some stores to look around. I picked up this second-hand Explorer and played around on it for a while. It was just so naturally good, and it felt right, so I bought it. It was quite cheap as well, about 450 dollars. A lot of people look at it and think it's one of the originals (under 100 of these were made in 1958, and they are very rare) but it's one of the '76 limited edition re-issue models.


"I used it for the first album, and up until the recording of the 'October' album, but I seem to use another Strat that I bought more and more, so I think I'll probably end up using the Strat for half the show and the Explorer for the rest."

"I don't have any vintage guitars, apart from the newest addition to the collection, a lap steel, circa 1940, by Epiphone. It's art deco, really weird. If anyone knows what a lap steel is like, it's just like a square thing, not like a guitar at all. It's black, with inlays in some other sort of wood, also black. I got it in the States, in Nashville. I'm going to be messing about with it a lot."


"I'm very interested in this lap steel because it's something that hasn't been done before in this context. What we want to do is break new ground musically all the time, whether through guitars or whatever. Like you'll notice the piano is being used a lot now. I like the textures of the piano, and I learnt to play it for the album. I think probably the same thing will happen with the lap steel."


"I don't think a lot of people realize the musical benefit harmonics can give to a song. I just developed that a bit and brought the harmonics more to the foreground. Some of our songs use harmonics as the main guitar part."



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U2 MAGAZINE No: 6 - February 1983

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U2 MAGAZINE No. 7 - MAY 1983


The Edge uses a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Explorer through a vintage Vox AC30 amp with a Memory Man echo "which is a real budget echo, but it works really well; it's functional and uncomplicated." He likes "very heavy" strings, ranging from .011 or .012 gauge up to .056. "My Explorer isn't one of the vintage '58's, it's more like a '76, but it's great in that it has a nice top end without that extra raunch and distortion that a lot of people like in a Les Paul; it's like a compromise between a Les Paul and a Strat." He admits to occasionally using a Les Paul in the studio, as well as an Epiphone steel guitar he picked up at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. "It helps give an 'American' feel to 'Surrender', on the new album. The Vox amps are like the original Beatle amps, with the original box speakers - little 12-inchers with a very gutsy middle sound." The Edge is partial to Roland's Chorus 120 amps, because of their "tough, clean sound."


Adam favors a Fender Jazz bass played through Ampeg amps, while Bono opts for a Shure SH-57 mike for the vocal chores.


Larry's drum kit is a Yamaha Studio series with Zildjian cymbals. He notes, "For 'Like A Song" we wanted a pastoral, Celtic feel, so I got hold of a bass drum and some skins and used my hand instead of my foot."



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U2 MAGAZINE No: 10 - February 1984


THE EDGE: Guitars - Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Explorer, Epiphone Lap-Steel, Washburn Acoustic 6-string. Piano - Yamaha CP70. Amps - Vox AC30, Roland JC120 Combo. Effects - Electro Harmonix Memoryman Echo, MXR Compressor, Furman Parametric Equaliser.


BONO: Guitar - Fender Lead II. Amp - Roland JC120 Combo.


ADAM: Guitars - Fender Precision Bass, Fender Jazz Bass, Ibanez Musician Bass. Amps - Ampeg SVT Stack, Harbinger 516 Cabinets, BGW 750 Power Amplifier, Alembic Stereo Pre-Amp. Effects - Ibanez Stereo Chorus, Ibanez Digital Delay. Roland Phase Shims


LARRY: Drums - Yamaha 9000 series. 24" bass drum, 18" floor toms, 16" floor toms, 14" rack toms, Yamaha 6z"x14" wooden snare, 31"x 13" Ludwig Piccolo snare. All stands and fittings by Yamaha. Cymbals by Paiste, Rude Cymbals and 2002 series. Assorted Latin Percussion.


U2's stage manager Steve Iredale passes on the following advice:

"Buy the best equipment you can afford. If possible stick to well known names you're already familiar with, and you should also make sure that the equipment you buy can be serviced, and parts replaced locally."



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U2 MAGAZINE No: 13 - Winter 1984

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U2 MAGAZINE No: 14 - Spring 1984

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U2 MAGAZINE No: 16 - Autumn/Fall 1984

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