Guitar sound on U2 album.

Aloha guys.

Been trying to nail the guit sound on
‘Sleep like a Baby Tonight’ from U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ album.
and I can’t quite get it.

Sounds like more than just overdrive and distortion.
Maybe some ‘bit crunching’ going on.
which might have been applied to the track. ‘post performance’.

At any rate, if I add in my guitar synth I can really come close, but still no cigar.
Also I have never seen that player use a synth.

The song does start out with some synth tones
so maybe in the studio this did happen but I would like to do it with just guitar.

And if it is studio/synth ‘trickery’ how would he pull this off in a live situation?

Any help/thoughts would be great.

Sending much Aloha and
TIA (thanks in advance)


What would give you the impression that a VSTi and some distortion VST’s would match an electric guitar, with a pedalboard full will goodies tweaked in a certain order. Ofcourse you can try but without knowing what has been used it’s ging to remain tough.

Aloha R, and mahalo for the input.

Not soooo much VSTi’s but like I said more like bit crunching.

Sorta like the vox on the Timberlake tune ‘Bringing Sexy Back’ or ‘Gnarls Barkley’ and the song ‘Crazy’.

Before DAWs I use to work for a firm in Toronto that did commercials for over seas markets.

What they wanted us to do is as a band was to exactly copy current hit songs so they could put their
own lyrical spin on it to sell product.

With two other guys for several years, we got really good at ‘lifting’ and ‘copying’.

But you are totally right.

No matter how much stuff you have, we don’t know his specific configuration, his strings, his touch etc.
That’s as much an art as his playing. And probably a secret.

I get it.

Back in da day for a while I was lucky enough to work with the great jazz organist Jimmy Smith.
On breaks he would always change his drawbar settings and close the lid of the organ because as he put it:

‘Ah don’t won’t dose other dudes copin’ ma sound’!

Tanx Raphie for the POV. I’ll keep at it for sure.

wow could be anything ,but does have the characteristics of a “big muff” a bit overdone to make it sound novice like but as ever with u2 done tastefully .

You should watch the edges guitar effects video:

I saw it on TV and he gives up all his secrets. He doesn’t use VST only pedals.

Tanx sooo much AP.

I will check those links tomorrow.

Sending much aloha.

U2 used to employ a huge, off stage rig, running the sequences and samples.
Or, was that the back up rig in case the live, on stage rig failed???

Anyway, I wouldn’t be to quick to dismiss samples, synths in the mix.

Been meaning to reply for a quite while now.

Wonderful info.

Tanx again for those links

I saw a documentary with him, Jack Stripe and Jimmy Page. I came up on Zep, Hendrix, Clapton, etc. and one of the things that really struck me about the Edge was his approach to songwriting. Where I’m more accustomed to playing the guitar, be it electric or acoustic, and writing via melody or chords, his approach seemed to be all about sound sculpting. Where I use the instrument to create the song, he uses all his effects pedals, amps, etc. to get a sound, and uses that sound to write the song.

Of course, there’s no good / bad or right / wrong way to create music, it just got my attention because for a guitarist it was a very different perspective. All of which is to say that this guy’s entire world is built around creating these sounds. Accurately reproducing them will doubtless be the same experience as a beginning guitarist learning Hendrix. It can certainly be done, but there’s a lot of miles between the beginning and the end. :slight_smile:

Well said!