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What's this guitar U2's Edge uses?
It's a Line 6 Variax Acoustic. No longer on their website but you can view one of the versions here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vJQC7dSaNc
All of the Variax models allow you to do the virtual capo thing / different tunings. It's success depends on how far you take it (the smaller the pitch shifting jump the less artefact there is) and your expectations vs reality
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Agreed that extreme detuning doesn't work. Dropping a full octave is kind of like a bass, but not really - it doesn't have the fatness of a proper bass sound. But a few semitones works very well indeed.
One thing it doesn't get, of course, is the sympathetic resonance between strings that you get with a true dropped tuning. This isn't significant on an electric, but it's a major part of the sound of dropped/open tunings on an acoustic. So YMMV on how well it does the job for you.
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