How to play Edge-style rhythm guitar with four unusual chords from U2 songs

The Edge and Bono of U2 spend the day on the streets of New York City shooting a video for their new album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" which drops tomorrow, Tuesday, November 23rd. U2 finished off the day in Brooklyn at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park where they played songs off of their new album for their fans. MTV captured the show for future broadcast.
(Image credit: KMazur/WireImage for INTERSCOPE RECORDS)

When you think of U2, and The Edge specifically, you often think of huge soundscapes, a wall of guitars and enough delay to drown a stadium full of screaming fans…. But what happens when you turn the delay pedals off?

Underneath the delay-soaked guitar lines are a bunch of very interesting chord choices by the Edge. In his quest to fill as much sonic space as he can, he often employs interesting chord voicings to try and cover more ground. 

In this lesson we’re going to check out four interesting and unusual chords that The Edge used in some of U2's biggest songs… and one they wrote for another icon to sing.



(Image credit: Future)

Did you know that Bono and The Edge wrote the theme song form 1995’s James Bond movie Goldeneye, which was sung by Tina Turner?

Technically, there is no guitar in this, but if there was, a C#m7b5 chord would appear in the chorus of the song. If you decide to cover this on guitar, you’ll need to learn this diminished chord.



(Image credit: Future)

This chord appears in the verse of the song Where The Streets Have No Name. Through the verse The Edge is playing a muted 16th note pattern, but every so often he throws in a little section of this chord played in a funky manner.

This chord could also be viewed as a Bm#5.



(Image credit: Future)

In the second verse of the song Pride (In The Name of Love), Edge breaks into an arpeggiated chord pattern. The first chord you hear in that pattern is the Badd4. 

This chord is based around a regular six-string major barre chord, but the B and E strings and left to ring open. 

This shape can be moved to other rooted chords along the Low E, but they won’t all function as add4 chords. The open strings will change the interval make up.



(Image credit: Future)

In the chorus of Bullet the Blue Sky this D6no5 chord makes an appearance. The added B note at the top makes it a D6, but the absence of the 5 interval on the A string is interesting. The Edge would often pull out intervals to create space in the mix for other instruments.

You could also view this chord as a Bmin triad with a D in the bass, making it Bm/D.

Leigh Fuge

Leigh Fuge is a guitar player and content creator with a love for all things '80s. When he’s not creating gear demos for his Youtube channel he’s teaching students via his online guitar course Right Notes Music Tuition. Off camera he spends most of his time travelling around the UK performing at functions and corporate events.