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Steve Harris' Tone?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by GrindBass101, Sep 28, 2010.


  1. Ive been trying to attain Iron maiden bassist Steve Harris tone for quite some time can anyone give me a hand?
     
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    P-bass,Rotosund flats,lots of top end. There you go.
     
  3. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Still beats havin' a job Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    FoCo, NoCo
    He uses Rotosound steel flatwounds on his P bass if that helps. Dunno about his amps/effects, but it all starts with the right strings. (NEVER would have guessed he used flats until he said so himself in an article... wow.)

    EDIT: Beaten to the punch by 73jbass. You heard it here second.
     
  4. dwm74

    dwm74

    Nov 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    +1 to the above info. Strings are VERY close to the fingerboard, hence the familiar clack.

    FWIW, he also has the tone knob on his P-bass disconnected. When playing live, he has the sound guy adjust tone for him at the console via hand signals.
     
  5. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    As far as I know, the also uses a custom valve amp, developed after an old Hiwatt I think. He has said once in an interview that among the mass produced ones, the amp that gets closer to his sound is the Ampeg SVT.
    He also uses and old school all valve compressor, I don't know much about it either. Strings are always fresh, and his precision has an aftermarket pick up.
     
  6. Thanks for the help guys ill go get myself some rotosound jazz strings as they are the only ones of the top of my head that are flat would, i normally use alot of bottom end but that will be changed soon, thanks again
     
  7. dwm74

    dwm74

    Nov 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    He has his own signature strings (Rotosound flats), but they're too heavy for my tastes...E's a .110

    But I am able to nearly duplicate his tone from the melodic parts of 'Revelations' (studio version) with an older (broken in) set of rounds and rolling the tone back to about 7 on my P.
     
  8. Demon_Hunter

    Demon_Hunter

    Jun 8, 2008
  9. He has his own signature set of strings. I've played em, sound like his (real bright, but still good sound) and then after a while they mellow out and are still really nice sounding flats.
    and he's got a 1/4 pounder seymore duncan pickup
     
  10. I just found this:
    Steve uses his own signature RotoSound SH77 flatwound bass strings. Broken-in flatwound strings are not typically associated with Steve's bright sound; however, to retain brightness, Steve changes his strings on a daily basis while touring and recording.

    Amplification:

    Pre-Amp: Custom-made 'Electron'. This is a rackmountable virtual clone of a vintage Hi-Watt Solid State 200 amp (rare) and has been the center of Steve's bass rig since the early 1980s.
    Compressor: Vintage DBX 160
    Power Amp: C-Audio SR707 rackmountable power amp x 2
    Switching: Custom-made rackmount unit built by Pete Cornish. Provides loops and mute for tuning, etc.
    Cabinets: Quantity 8 Marshall 4x12 JCM 800 bass series straight cabinets loaded with Electro-Voice EVM12L drivers (32 speakers total).
    Spare: Trace-Elliot GP12SMX serves as spare pre-amp.

    Here's the link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Harris_(musician)#Equipment
     
  11. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Inactive

    Jun 30, 2010
    Manhattan
    Actually his sound has changed over the years.

    On "Piece Of Mind" it's very mid range -- a little harsh -- lots of 400hz and sounds like it's recorded through an amp. I love it.

    On Powerslave there's quite a bit of high end. Low action. Hard plucking.

    Both sounds are great. And Steve's touch has a lot to do with it.

    It's funny, a P bass is the least "metal" bass in a way, (especially with flats) yet, the limited frequency really cuts -- especially since he's mixed so high.

    On all the post Fear of the Dark albums his sound is not the same. The third guitar really buries the bass. He's using a deeper sound and it fills the bottom more, but does cut as well.
     
  12. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    Yeah. There were not three guitars on Fear Of The Dark by the way, but I agree that his tone sucked terribly on this album and on the tour. But it came back to good shape in Blaze's era.
     
  13. thomashawk

    thomashawk

    Jun 29, 2010
    New York, NY
    You will actually need his hand to get his tone.
     
  14. He does have super low action which explains for the clicks as well. They are omnipresent.

    He does not dig deep, like Trujillo does, instead he hammers the strings.
     
  15. GianGian

    GianGian

    May 16, 2008
    That's right. According to Nicko, he actually tickles the strings. He is a great tickler.:p
     
  16. peledog

    peledog

    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    There's an extensive thread about how to play and get the 'clack' so your tone cuts through the mix - I'd post a link, but I'm lazy. :p
     
  17. Steve tickles the strings with sledgehammer fingers. He can crush air into diamonds with em. Chuck Norris has nothing on Steve Harris.
     
  18. Broadbent

    Broadbent

    Mar 28, 2007
    He barley touches the stings, he has to be running lots of compression.

    great example

     
  19. Chrisk-K

    Chrisk-K

    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    Yes.

    In an interview Steve said something like, "If you play my bass through my rig, you'll blow speakers in no time."
     
  20. Perhaps the Fender Steve Harris model P bass (it's blue) would help? I played one at Rudys in NYC last year, played nice. I don't see many around in general unless GC carries, I don't go there.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 1, 2021

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