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Iron Maiden Technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by R_Jones, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. R_Jones


    Jan 10, 2003
    New England
    What it is, people?

    New member here. I've been playing for only a little while now but have been playing drums and a little bit of the ol' gee-tar over the past twelve years.

    Got a question that I'm sure many of you will be able to nail right off the bat.

    I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan and I've always wondered how Steve Harris does "it". It being his trademark bass technique. Anyone familiar with the band knows what I'm talking about. If you're not familiar, download Run To The Hills or The Trooper.

    A bass playing friend of mine insists that he does it with three fingers, but I've seen clips of him and when his hands are visible, it looks like he's doing it with two.

    I can't figure it out, I can't it even do it slow... Any tips?
  2. Steve Harris uses two fingers to pick... really, really fast.;)
  3. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I assume you are talking about his "galloping" technique?
  4. R_Jones


    Jan 10, 2003
    New England
    indeed I do.
  5. thereare two possibilities how to imitate it:
    a) Practice it alot with two fingers and do it like he does (will need tons of practice if you want to reach his speed with a .110 E-String flatwound set)
    b) Practice alot less and use three fingers, I do it this way but only because i always play with 3 fingers, otherwise this is IMO not a good option
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Look at his tech live, he's got FAST fingers. also, he conserves alot of energy buy useing minimum movement.
  7. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    You could always cheat and use a pick....:D
  8. R_Jones


    Jan 10, 2003
    New England
    nonsense! no picks for me! :D

    aka: already tried that with disastrous results...
  9. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    I'm pretty sure he used 3 fingers at times.. not positive though, but I've heard many times that he did.
  10. He never uses 2 fingers, thats what he said in an interview
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I use three fingers for triplets. You can use two as well, it just takes some practice.
  12. Good. I've always gone by the "picks are for failed guitarists" saying. Of course, this is just m y o p i n i o n, and I feel that picks shouldn't be used on bass.

    Fingers all the way. :D
  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    This is what I recommend, I can get a pretty damn gallopy stuff with three finger triplets. And then I use two for runs and all that jazz.

    I've seen some live Steve Harris stuff... and I've seen him use 3 fingers... maybe even 4 it was hard to tell.
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I've never seen him use more than 2 fingers.
    He mutes with his ring and pinky, but he doesn't play with them.
    Yes, he's extremelly fast.
    I'm in the same boat as l0calh05t.
    I always play 3 fingers, so I do the same to cover Maiden, but I could do it too with 2 fingers.
    If you're used to 3 finger playing, triplets will come easier.

    I can cover any Maiden song, faster than the original if needed, but it didn't come in 1 day.
    I remember having exactly the same problem as yours, some years ago, so I know how you feel.
    He sometimes feels unreachable :(.

    I'd recommend doing as for any fast line. Play it straight and clean at 60 on the metronome, and add 2 points to the metronome everyday until you can reach the regular speed.
  15. R_Jones


    Jan 10, 2003
    New England
    awesome, thanks for the tip Jazz.
  16. another method I have heard of for playing very fast lines is to play it in "bursts", by playing a short part of it 2-4 notes as fast as you can and then do that a few times, take a break for a few minutes then add 2-4 notes to the line and play it as fast as you can etc. But this only works IMO when your basic speed (built up by the method Jazz Ad told) is fairly high
  17. I'm pretty sure he uses three fingers- from watching close-ups in videos.
    -a guitarist I know who played in Bruce Dickinson's band agrees.

    I'm unsure how anyone could play the fast bit in "run to the hills" (the "woahhhhhhh" post solo buildup to the final chorus) with only two fingers.
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Not that I've heard much Iron Maiden... ;)

    I'm assuming it's some sorta 1/16th note triplet thingee?
    If so, totally possible with 2 fingers; economy of motion & discipline all that...now this is the sorta "mindless" muscle memory I will practice in front of the NFL, NHL, news, etc.

    BTW, for an interesting peek at an absolute master of three-finger plucking:
    Check out, borrow, buy, steal Herbie Hancock's Future 2 Future DVD.
    Matt Garrison is ridiculous.
    (He mainly uses the Thumb + 1st & 2nd fingers)
  19. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Talking about Entwistle, low action, light touch and relaxed right help 'galloping' a lot.
  20. Steve Harris plays with heavy attack,uses flatwounds,and has pretty low action(I read this in BP once). He uses that combo to get his "signature" tone.

    I have a question regarding 3 finger triplets...

    When you go for the triplet "sweep" do you start with your Ring finger,sweeping from right to left,or Index finger sweeping from left to right?


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