|U2 guitarist learned to play on ‘modest little’ instrument expected to fetch up to €1,800|
A classical guitar that launched one of the most successful careers in Ireland’s musical history has turned up at auction.
The “learner’s classical guitar” was originally bought by the late Gwenda Evans, a Malahide primary school teacher, in the 1970s for her son David. He later joined a band called U2, styled himself “The Edge” and became one of the best-known rock guitarists in the world.
But, according to Whyte’s auctioneers in Dublin, “he left his first guitar behind at his mother’s house”.
Stuart Purcell, a spokesman for Whyte’s, said “around 1980, when a teaching colleague of Gwenda’s in Scoil Íosa, Malahide [a community school in north Dublin], mentioned that she needed a guitar, as she was beginning lessons, Gwenda offered to sell her The Edge’s old one for the price she had bought it for”.
Mr Purcell said the unnamed woman, who paid about £20, later abandoned the lessons but kept the guitar.
Then, “years later she met The Edge who signed the guitar”.
She has now decided to sell it and consigned it to auction. It will go under the hammer in Whyte’s sale of “Rock, Pop & Movie Memorabilia” in Dublin on March 15th and has been assigned an estimate of between €1,200 and €1,800.
David Evans (53), of Killiney, Co Dublin, and known as The Edge or, simply, Edge, was born in England but moved to Ireland with his family during early childhood.
He joined the band which became U2 while a pupil at the Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Clontarf in 1976.
Following the death of Gwenda Evans in 2012, U2’s lead singer, Bono, referred to her as “Mrs Edge” and recalled she was the band’s “first roadie” who had driven the schoolboy rockers to various gigs in her orange Volkswagen car.
In 2007, The Edge donated a cream-coloured Gibson Les Paul guitar to a charity auction in the United States, held to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina, which sold for $240,000.
Whyte’s said that guitar had been regularly used in live U2 performances and had been seen by millions of concert-goers worldwide, whereas the Malahide instrument was “a modest little guitar”.