Steve Harris technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by danqi, Sep 15, 2001.

  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    Do you know how Steve Harris produces that percussive sound when he plays? I am talking about that "cling" sound.
    In the videos it looks like he plays fingerstyle close to the bridge pretty much all the time.

  2. purple_haze


    Jun 29, 2001
    London Town
    He does play close to the bridge, getting a "harder" tone than usual.

    He also uses three fingers.

    I don't know about percussive sounds, but he does have a lot of treble in his tone.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    He gets an exceptional ammount of treble, considering that he plays Rotosound flatwounds! I remember reading that he uses 12" speakers, too.
  4. Rotosound flats are actually known for being very trebly, even moreso than rounds! Harris also digs in very hard right by the bridge.

    It actually sounds like he used roundwounds on Iron Maiden, but switched to flats on Killers--but that may just be different EQ. He's had pretty much the same sound since '81.
  5. Steve uses flatwound Rotosounds on his many Fender P Basses. He also goes through a Trace Elliot and Pete Cornish modified Hi-watt 12" quad boxes (x8!!!) usually!
    Watch his right hand though! You can see his fingers hitting the strings in a way that most bassists tap onto the fretboard!!! This is a light "scratch/tickle" technique that Steve employs effortlessly gig after gruelling gig!
    His tone pot is de-wired in the fully open position!!!
    What a man........or machine!!

  6. he uses a low action and lots of compression.
    he said in a 92 Guitar Magazine interview that he originally used rounds and switched to flats as there was too much "screeching" when changing left hand position on the neck.

    Rotosound Jazz flatwounds have a "clangy" sound, but less wirey than roundwounds, if that makes sense.
    they go dead very quickly, though- Harris said that sometimes he switches basses mid-gig when the strings go dead.
  7. Yeah! I knew I was on to something. Thanks, MTR.
  8. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    thanks to all of you,
    but actually I meant that percussive sound he produces - that "klick klick" noise.
    Is that the strings hitting the frets because of harris' low action and his agressive style?
  9. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    He doesnt use three fingers. Just index and middle.
    It looks like he used 3 because he keeps his ring finger extended and its moving with the others.
  10. Yes, Orthanc - THAT sound is the flatwounds hitting the frets!..............this sounds incredible both live (check out Infinite Dreams.........Maiden England.................) and in the studio (The Clairvoyant...........7th Son)

    His action is not too low.......those Rotosounds are gauge D and have a lot of tension!


    I did have the fortune of meeting Steve himself in 1992..............what a hero he is! I nearly fainted!
  11. I was going to say the same thing but it's been awhile since I've seen him play so I wasn't totally sure.;)
  12. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    I´m not so sure, how do you explain that he can play all those triplets so fast with only 2 fingers?????
  13. Great technique and stamina.:D

    I play those songs with only two fingers (Run To The Hills, The Trooper, The Clairvoyant, Only The Good Die Young). It's not a problem keeping up with the tempo, it's maintaining the tempo through the whole song. If I keep a steady practice schedule then it's not as big a problem. I would imagine if you were playing those songs almost every night it wouldn't be a real issue either.
  14. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    maybe you´r rigth, but I stick with 3 fingers
  15. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Well, how do you explain most of the great players use two fingers and plenty of them can play as fast
    as steve harris?

    But the reason I know for sure is that he has stated it in several interviews.
  16. They also have live concert videos that show him playing. He plays with 2 fingers plucking and uses a down stroke with his thumb to play a lot of chords.

    Pretty cool playing style to watch.
  17. NiKo


    May 2, 2000
    Hi guys I'm still here; and I'm still drunken.
    I've been in Munich at the OKTOBER FEST;
    it is really great.
    Orthanc, 'bout your question, the percussive effect you speak 'bout is powered by a Compressor pedal.
    But if you can reach Steve's playn' speed you can hear that suond in the background of your riff.
    I know this 'cause I hear that sound when I play 'cavalcate', and I've tried to use a compressor pedal and I've heard the percussion is boosted.
    You can boost it with a '70's equalization on your amp; it is an EQ in wich you boost all the midia-tones and put on min the basses and the trebles.
    on a 16 ways equalizer it is:
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .:cool: :D

    If you have other questions 'bout Steve's tecnique ask, he is my 1st model of bass player.