How to Create the "Edge" Sound with a Guitar Delay Pedal

Learn how to create the "Edge" sound with a delay pedal in this Howcast video about guitar pedal effects.

So the ’80’s were a time of experimentation with a lot of different kinds of effects. One of them that was very popular was delay, digital delay, all kinds of delays. You had people like The Edge of U2 who was a pioneer of using that kind of effect. If you want to add more texture, more ambiance to your sound as opposed to slap back, once you start adjusting the delay settings of your pedal you can get a wide range of texture in your guitar signal and your guitar sound.

And of the settings here, a very basic setting is I’ve adjusted– I have the high setting on the mode, which is the 800 milliseconds, which is the longest delay. This delay time knob up here adjusts, fine tunes in between the mode settings. The feedback is the amount of again, the amount of repeats, and the effect level is the send level of the guitar versus the effect. So if you want a longer delay, you just adjust the delay time setting.

So you know obviously, if you play one note you can hear that it repeats. If you play a chord, it repeats, but you’re still holding on to the chord, so it just creates this sense of texture. And that’s something that is very cool to use in many kinds of different ways. It’s all about experimentation. It’s all about improvisation. So whatever sounds good to you is good. So one of the things you can do; depending on the tempo of the song and where you’re playing and interacting with that tempo, and where you’re working off and interacting with the delay setting that you have; you can do some very cool things.

One thing that comes to mind is if you play a chord, you can hear the delay is doing kind of a triplet rhythm in relation to what I’m playing. Almost like a swing or a dotted feel. Now if you play against that this is what happens, so what I’ll do is I’ll play like an 8th note thing, counteracting with that triplet feel. So that really kind of fills up the textures, it almost gives you a stereo effect, even though we’re not running stereo.

The reason for that is the delay is happening in the background at a rhythmic value that is very different from what you’re playing. Knowing how to do that and knowing how to interact with your delay; understanding the rhythm of a song you’re playing versus the tempo; and knowing how to get those little tweaks and variations and settings on your delay pedal, you can really come up with some very interesting effects and ways to use it in your or your playing.