Gear Rundown: Steve Harris

Iron Maiden Bass God

Behind all great bands comes a great bassist. Steve Harris’s galloping fleet-fingered bass lines have been at the forefront of legendary metal act Iron Maiden for decades and have made him the most influential metal bassist alive. Not only has he created some of the most memorable bass lines in the history of metal, he is also the founding member of the UK band, and is a key contributor to the writing of their most memorable songs. Harris is well known for his "galloping" playing style – usually an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes at fast tempo (as seen in ‘The Trooper’ or ‘Run To The Hills’) or eighth note triplets, which he plays with two fingers, rather than using a plectrum. Before playing, Harris often chalks his fingers, to make these fast patterns easier to play.

Basses

Fender Precision Bass Steve Harris Signature 2015

For as long as we can remember, Harris has been using his beloved mid-70s Fender Precision Bass guitar. In fact, you can find clips from the very early days of Maiden with Harris playing the same bass. His bass has had a lot of finishes over the years, however more recently he has been sporting a white finish with the West Ham Football Club emblem. Other ironclad features include a single powerful Seymour Duncan Steve Harris signature model pickup and a Fender HiMass bridge.

 

Lado Steve Harris Signature Unicorn Bass

During a very small stint around the time of Powerslave, Harris and fellow guitarist Dave Murray were both endorsed by Lado. It was during this time that the band had experimented with a range of different sounds and tones, before reverting back to their classic stylings that made Iron Maiden the legendary act that they are today. Finding one of his Signature Unicorn Basses could be a bit of a challenge today.

 

Amplifiers

Marshall 1960B 4x12" 300-Watt Straight Extension Cabinet

You may be shocked to hear this, but yes, the dirty and booming bass lines of the legendary bassist come from Harris' 4x12 cabs. Well it isn’t just any cab; it’s a Marshall. Staying true to his UK roots, Harris has used Marshall amps for a number of years. The cabs are slightly different to the standard models however, with the units loaded with EVM12L speakers. As Harris explains, “They’ve got full duty EV speakers in them and I do get the full range, from the top right through to the bottom. It’s a good tight sound — not so much a bottom end rumble."

 

Trace Elliot GP12X Pre-Amp

There isn't too much to Steve Harris' rig, however a Trace Elliot GP12X Pre-Amp has been spotted numerous times on stage. Trace Elliot products aren't that well-known in the Mixdown office, however by the looks of this pre-amp, it is well kitted. The pre-amp features MIDI control, valve/solid state preamp section, 12 band graphic EQ, Harmonic Emphasis, switchable, variable valve gain, noise reduction as well as two stereo effects loops – one full range, one high pass.

 

Effects

DBX 160A Compressor

Since its introduction in the mid 1970's, the dbx 160 series has been the world's most popular line of audio compressors. Harris uses 2x DBX 160A Compressors in his rack. One is the main compressor the other is a backup, in case the main one fails.

 

Strings

Rotosound SH77 Custom Set (50. 75, 95, 110) 

Steve Harris is endorsed by another UK brand, Rotosound, and was given his own signature bass guitar string set based on his custom gauge preference. When asked what he thought about his new signature set in an interview with Rotosound, Steve Harris said, "It's all I've ever used". The heavy gauge set is packed with so much middle and low end that Steve demands for his style of music coupled with its silky smooth finish and tone only Monel 400 can offer.

 

We are currently giving away a double pass to see Iron Maiden LIVE in concert. Find out how you could win tickets to see the UK Metal Giants here.

 

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