What's going on with Steve Harris???

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by hitman9696, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. I went to the Iron Maiden show here in Montreal last week, and I have to say it was one of the best concerts I ever went to. They truly are one of the greatest rock bands ever! However, there was one flaw: the BASS. We all know what Steve Harris can do, but he was almost transparent all night. I was seated right in front of the sound mixers’ console (in the middle of the pit), where the sound is supposed to be the best. The bass frequency was so low that it was practically on mute. You could only hear him when he soloed (i.e. break during “Iron Maiden”) and when he really went up on fret board (i.e. bridge “Run To The Hills”). His tone was the complete opposite of say a good album like “The Number Of The Beast”, or a song like “Aces High”.

    Can anyone actually back me up? I have started another thread a while back about the production of their Rock In Rio DVD. The bass was also mixed very low, despite Harris being one of the producers. So, I don’t know what the heck is going on.

    And, it’s not like the PA guys weren’t doing their job. The opening bands Motorhead and Dio had ample amount of bass. It was cutting through perfectly. In Lemmy’s case, it was more distortion than bass, but he was almost as loud, or even louder than the guitarist.

    Thanks for your time, anyway.
  2. how are the three guitars (Adrian Smith, Jannick Gers, Dave Murray) panned out in the mix?
    left, right, and centre? if so one guitar sits over the bass and obscures it.

    there isn't much low frequency in SH's sound- mostly that percussive clattering high end, and this probably gets lost with the third guitar.
  3. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    steve harris is a bad ass. but i thought one of their guitar players just passes away?
  4. no kidding, Motorhead, Dio, and Iron Maiden on the same bill!! whoa!
  5. Yeah, each guitar had a different setting. Gers was right, Murray was left, and Smith was also left, if I remember correctly. Their setup was the same as on the DVD or on the Rock in Rio CD.

    You are also right about SH's tone. Way too much treble and not enough punch, despite playing a P-Bass with SD Quarter Basslines pickup. I hear nothing but good stuff about those, but his tone baffles me.

    Cool, thanks SMASH. After Maiden finished with its intro songs (Number of the Beast, and Trooper), we gave them a huge, thunderous ovation that lasted over 5 minutes. It was so much that the guys were blushing and smiling at each other. Really, it was quite an emotional moment.

    Yeah, that was great bill. Motorhead just blew the roof of the Bell Centre with just the first song!!! They were way too loud!! Lemmy just kept turning up the volume of his Marshall amps. I’ve always liked Ronnie Dio’s stand with Black Sabbath, but never heard his solo material. Good stuff, great setup for Iron Maiden.

    So, anyway, about Harris, too bad he chose a tone with no punch. It’s too percussive. He just doesn’t cut through. Not even close.

  6. I could have gone to that show, but eh. Steve's bass is loud on albums, but live (Rock in Rio springs to mind) he's not exactly loud. And it's too bad, because his bass playing generates a lot of energy, for me anyways. I always listen to the bass when I listen to Maiden, and if it's low or non-existant, well it loses some of its energy. Kick up the bass!
  7. I was at the Montreal show, and I did find the bass to be a bit low in the mix, but it was certainly audible where I was (about 50 feet back, dead center on the floor). But at times the crowd was so loud I could barely hear the band.....
    I was a little disappointed in the lack of bass guitar in the mix but overall it was an amazing show. I've wanted to see Iron Maiden for 20 years so I was pretty excited. The set and lighting were awesome!
    I think the band members were truly floored by the reaction of the crowd!
  8. This would be the fault of the band's sound engineer, not Steve Harris.
  9. dragonbass


    Feb 17, 2003
    ........................................EX-Sadowsky Guitars Builder..........................................................
    I have seen Maiden a number of times,and Steve's tone has always been the same.
    It's the same on the albums as it is live. It is always right up front in the mix.

    I don't understand how you guy's are saying he doesn't cut through? I think that he & his front of house tech are doing a great job considering that they have to do battle with 3 guitars, drums, & bruce's vocals.

    You also have to remember that Steve use's Flat Wound strings!
  10. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    I trying to get the day off to see them here Marysville.

    I can't wait.
  11. He simply wasn't up front in the mix this time. There's all kinds of possible causes for that. Room acoustics, mix position, etc.
    The bass may have been up front in the mix at the shows you saw, but it wasn't at this show.
    The FOH guy missed a few cues for guitar solos too.
  12. The thing is that Dio's bassist was cutting through perfectly. Harris wasn't. Only if you knew the original bass line, then you could try to make up what he was playing. He could have improvised and played kickass licks, but you wouldn't have heard it.

    I have a live version of "Fear Of The Dark" from Donington, I think. His tone there is completely diffrent from the one in Rio and the show I was at. There, it was boomy and punchy, high up the mix. Now, it has way too much treble, and not enough bottom edge.

    Since Maiden started playing with 3 guitars, they sound incredible, but the bass have suffered a lot.
  13. I saw the same show outdoors at Jones Beach near NYC. My guitarist also saw their indoor show at Madison Square Garden. Same deal there...bass low in the mix from anywhere you stood and very trebly.

    I don't know what to say. I was disappointed with that because SH is one of 4 reasons I play bass at all and I was really looking forward to hearing what he did live.

    Since this is a trend on this tour (three venues so far) I wonder if it is conscious or if the FOH manager is not all there.

  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    IMO Steve's tone began going downhill with the Somewhere in Time record. Seems too thin and clickity to me compared to how he sounded on Killers and Number.

    Amazing that ones tone could be that thin given he plays a P with a Badass, a Quarter pounder and flats. :confused:
  15. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    I went to the show here in houston on the 16th. IMO, Lemmy blew chunks. Dio was great, good sound, his bassist was playing a jazz. Great tone when the guitar player was not blowing everything away! Dio's voice was as good as ever. All in all Dio rocked.
    Iron Maiden took the Stabe at 9:30 sharp, and proceeded to blow houston to pieces. During Soundcheck, Steves tech played his bass solo for volume, nothing fancy just notes and a few quick triplets. Sounded just like it should have! When they played there opening song, NOTB, the sound was LOUD! But sounded excellent!! I was center stage on the lawn about 250-300 ft back. The whole show sounded great, it was LOUD.
    There were probably 12-15 thousand people at the show. What a blast.
  16. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    I'll be seeing the show Aug 30. It should be a blast.
  17. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Ok, I saw Iron Maiden last night and I must say I could here his playing. I was dead center and about 1/2 way back from the stage. Motorhead was a little to noisy, some feedback, and Lemmy's bass tone was a little trebly but I could hear it.
    Steve's tone was great, the classic Steve Harris tone. I also liked when Steve played the ABG for the intro to the "Clansman" that was great.
    All in all, a great show.
  18. I just bought the "Visions of the beast" double DVD set (£12.99 from Sainsbury's).

    very good value for money- over 30 tracks on there-

    4 or 5 live tracks on there (including 1 from Rock in rio), the rest promo videos.

    there's a surprisingly good version of "afraid to shoot strangers" from the X factor tour with Blaze Bayley.

    nice interface graphics too.

    Steve Harris' tone on the live version of "hallowed by thy name" from Donnington '92 is pretty thin (a pretty sloppy performance too) - more percussive than actual note- same with the NEC 88 live show- that "chucka-chuck" sound.

    his tone on the Brave new world tracks is IMO horrible- like a club hammer hitting a cold chisel chipping at concrete.

    it's made me think about his setup, playing style and tone (extremely low action, light touch playing near the bridge, lots of compression on the signal).
    his approach allows him to play very fast, but I suspect at the cost of tone.
  19. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    I just put the rs-77 jazz flats heavy gauge on my P. They do have a hint of that Harris tone when plucked softly, but play them with some authority and you have the tone he gets on killers and NOTB. Which I find to be a nice P tone. I can see where a little compression would be good with that huge E string. Overall though I can't get his brave new world ,CLANK. Not that I would want to! Will be picking up there new CD in a couple of weeks, hopefully his sound will be a more traditional tone.
  20. I have to agree with your comments. If you analyze his playing very closely, he lets his nails grow long, and plays with them. I believe that is how he gets that percussive, metal-clank and pick like tone, with no significant bottom edge. Yes, his playing style is mainly suited for speed, but with all the technology that surrounds a man like him, he should be able to come up with a better tone. Brave New World was like, urgh!! However, it was one of their best albums...

    Don't expect any changes on their new album... same production team means same results.

    In the end, I guess some people heard good stuff from him during this tour, and many of us didn't. I'll keep sticking by my word.