Until the End of the World

The Edge is U2’s lead guitarist and keyboardist. He is known for his unique and innovative guitar playing style, which has been praised by critics and fans alike. “Until the End of the World” is a song by U2 from their 1991 album Achtung Baby. The song was a critical and commercial success, and it remains one of U2’s most popular songs.

U2’s David Howell Evans (or The Edge) might be the greatest rock guitar player of the past 35 years. He’s clearly a capable guitar player that chooses restraint and innovation. He chooses his singer. He chooses the band, the song, and the listener’s emotion.

The Edge revolutionized guitar with his clever use of effect driven, minimalist playing. “Minimalist” is relative; as evidenced from his riffage on Until the End of the World, The Edge is modern day Jimi Hendrix.

At different times in my teenage years I was wholly obsessed with: Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Seattle Grunge music, and finally Indie-rock; as a rejection of the entire list.

Throughout it all, no one’s guitar style excited me quite like The Edge. It was always out of left field from anything I was listening too at the moment. Especially with Achtung Baby and Zooropa, U2 and The Edge possessed a cool factor that no one else had.

Particularly (and excuse the lazy writing) his solo’s just rocked. The Edge solos with right hand heaviness of a punk rock guitar player, but his note choice is as lyrical as Bono. If you’re a fan, you can hum or mentally recall every guitar solo from your favorite U2 song. That’s hard to do with anybody else.

With the exception of Desire, rarely do you find The Edge, strumming basic open chords. Rather, he deliberately finds interesting harmonic intervals from which to play. There’s no greater example than Pride (In the name of Love). Again, memorable guitar solo on that song too.

How to play U2’s Until the End of the World 

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With this video and blog post, I’ve taken a sample section of U2’s Until the End of the World to demonstrate The Edge’s riffology — his compositional and technical ability on guitar.

This demonstration is based on the famous soundcheck by The Edge from the documentary, It Might Get Loud.

In recent years U2 has raised the key to put Bono in a more favorable vocal range. The Edge is playing the song with a high capo position. He has also added bass notes to the solo for more rhythmic effect.

In my version I use standard tuning from the original key on Achtung Baby, but I double down on the use of bass notes in the solo. My verse rhythm uses a medley of all of the riffs contained in Until the End of the World. The goal was to create a single guitar piece that people could play at home without any accompaniment.

The guitar tab is beautifully written across 3 pages.. I use normal guitar tab symbology for hammer-ons, slides, pull-offs, etc. As evidenced by the video, there’s a lot of that stuff happening. You’ll need to be fairly adept at reading guitar tab to know what’s going on.

Underneath the guitar tab I’ve given you a shorthand for the strumming. D = down strum. U = up strum. More advanced guitar players can ignore this and intuitively strum, but newer guitarists may want to use this to get going.

The guitar tab is played straight though, then as indicated, you’ll return to the Pre-Chorus, Chorus #2, then End.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

**Until the End of the World (The Edge’s greatest riff)

Until the End of the World is played in standard tuning.