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Steve Harris - bass rig / sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NZBassman, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. I'm a bit of a Maiden fan and Love the way Steve Harris plays - wish my fingers were as fast as his!

    Anyway I've decided I'd like to get the same sort of punchy tone he gets. I can only get a similar sound when I use a pick and crank up the treble on my Ashdown EVO 900 III.

    I know he plays a fender Squire / precision and I've heard he uses an ampeg rig - can anyone confirm what he does play?

    thanks in advance!
  2. P-bass, new strings, tone at max, back off the volume knob a little.
    heavy on mids & highs
    and just practice Run to the Hills 100,000 times.
  3. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Lots of SH threads here if you look

    Fender p
    Rotosound flats 55 - 110
    Straight neck, low action
    Wear your bass loooow and play lightly with your right hand
    Hiwatt amp (scooped mids)
    410 cab with Electro voice speakers
    Lumdingo likes this.
  4. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Mesa Engineering! Warwick-G&L-Source Audio Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Roto Flatwounds heavy Guage . Low low action. Maple fretboard. Old hiwatt amps with 412 cabs . Pluck right over the pickup as hard as hell...
  5. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    I little behind the pup and not hard at all is the SH way :)
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
  7. Greevus


    Apr 15, 2009
    That Steve Harris tone comes from his unique right-hand technique. The way he attacks the strings give him that cut. I think you can get close with about any P if you can mimic that technique.
    I'm sure brand new flats and 12" EV's and compression can get you closer. You hear a lot of dudes "trying" to get that tone by cranking the treble, but his fingers have a lot to do with that brightness.
    Super low action and a mastery of "clank" will do it. And lots of endurance.
    Lumdingo and scourgeofgod like this.
  8. BrianToska


    Jan 14, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I just installed the Seymour duncan Steve Harris pickups in my p bass today, strung it up with some flats and plugged her in. Super close to Steve's sound. It's awesome.
    Lumdingo likes this.
  9. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    The strings need to be Roto flats. Super important imo
  10. Saw some photos of him with a Trace Elliot GP12smx in his rack.
  11. Respectfully, I disagree. Harris changes his rotos every night. Not many people can afford that. You'd get a more consistently Maiden tone with rounds.

    The closest I have gotten is a p bass with new flats or mid life rounds, tone flat, and lightly drumming away with fingers just behind pickup.
    Lumdingo and monsterthompson like this.
  12. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    You should tell Mr. Harris about that.
    2behead and ONYX like this.
  13. YKARO


    Jan 15, 2014
    ok, steve harris uses an MIJ pbass maple, SPB1 or SPB4 ,he uses an sh77 strings and a low action of in his strings, this way the strings hit the fretboard and sound like an clank clank.
    his EQ is : (in percentage)

    he prefer flat strings but you can find this sound with a EB power slinky roundwound
  14. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Not very likely
  15. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    I could be wrong but I believe flats will keep their tone longer than rounds?

    And I think maybe something like a Bassman 100 cranked pretty good would get into that Hywatt or Marshall territory pretty well.
  16. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
  17. USA Fender P bass with Maple neck
    Seymour Duncan Steve Harris sig. pups
    Rotosound Flatwound Steve Harris sig. strings
    Amazing finger work
  18. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    You dont need the signature strings. The Roto77 is the exact same thing, without the west ham colors (that imo doesnt look that good anyway)
  19. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    Just to clarify a little, Steve will usually use either number 1 or 2 which are custom shop painted p basses.
    On his solo tour last year, he took a couple of the mij sig models out as back up.

    There was an extensive interview with Michael Kenney, his tech in an issue of bass guitar magazine last year. Steve has very little to do with the specifics of his rig, and leaves it all to Michael.
    You should be able to find it online- it is pretty in depth too ;)
  20. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Musical style

    Harris is often considered among the best and most influential heavy metal bassists. He is most known for his "galloping" playing style: usually an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes at fast tempo (e.g. "The Trooper" and "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, as shown on the bonus DVD for the A Matter of Life and Death album. Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers has commented that "Steve taught himself in a way that nobody can really copy it. People say it's like a lead guitar, but it's not. It gives the band a basis and it moves around quite a lot, but it's the tone that he has. Steve has a way of hearing things and a tone that isn't normally associated with a bass, it's more like a rhythm guitar."

    Harris was influenced by the progressive rock bands of the 1970s, as well as early hard rock bands. His influences include Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Wishbone Ash and Yes. Speaking about the early Iron Maiden sound, Steve Harris described the band as utilising twin-guitar harmonies inspired by Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy, complex time and mood changes from Genesis and Jethro Tull, and the dark melodic elements of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin.

    Harris mainly plays a specially-painted Fender Precision Bass, featured on every Iron Maiden album, which has gone through a total of four colour changes since he began using it. Originally white, it was then changed to black prior to the band's first album, followed by blue sparkle and finally white with claret and blue pinstriping with the West Ham United F.C. crest. Harris has had his bass modified to include a mirrored scratchplate, Badass bridges and Seymour Duncan custom SPB1 pickups and uses his own signature set of RotoSound strings. In 2009, Fender issued a signature Steve Harris Precision bass, featuring a blue-sparkle finish, mirrored scratchplate, Seymour Duncan SPB1 pickups and a Badass II bridge.

    In 2005, Metal Hammer reported that he uses eight 4x12" Marshall cabinets with Trace Elliot amplifiers. He also uses four Sony WRT 27 wireless transmitters, allowing him to be as mobile as possible on stage. A diagram of Harris' 2000 bass rig is documented on GuitarGeek.com.