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When is steve harris showing his "incredible" speed?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Suckbird, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I hear people talk about his super fast finger so when is he playing so fast?

    I know alot of their stuff doesn't need super fast bass playing but where have people heard his speed then?

    And of course, steve harris is one of my favourite bass players so dont get me as a steve harris basher :bassist: he's great!
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    The Clairvoyant? Moonchild? Only the good die young? C'mon, that guy is *FAST*. enjoy...

  3. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Has he ever done a bass solo?
  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I think I know where he's coming from. I've never really considered Steve Harris to be a phenomenally fast bassist. He's definately quick, but compared to say, Cliff Burton, Steve DiGiorgio, David Vincent, or Tom Araya he's not that impressive when talking about raw speed. Of course this doesn't make him any less of a kick ass bassist.

    If you listen mostly to rock or 80s metal Steve will sound super fast, if you listen to a lot of thrash or technical death and black metal he sounds more sedate.

    He's also not the most interesting bassist to listen to either, he has a couple licks that he reuses over and over, yet somehow he manages to make them sound fresh and catchy each time.
  5. The little breakdown section before the last chorus in Run To The Hills is a simple, but very fast line by Steve, with a very quick little run at the end. I don't think Steve Harris is a "bass solo" kind of guy, since he writes most of Maiden's material, he gets to do his bass thing in the context of the song.

    I can probably play faster than Steve Harris (I can play lots of Maiden songs easily at full tempo, anyway), but that's not what it's about... I'd be happier if I could write classic metal tunes like Steve Harris, moreso than if I could play like him.

    Russ :bassist:
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    You should also check out the intro to Phantom of the Opera for some clean, fast unison lines with the guitars. These parts are pretty intricate, and he plays them perfectly in time.
  7. As Ray mentioned, listen to Only the Good Die Young. The little bass section in the middle is about as close to a solo as you'll get from Steve. It's also damn impressive, IMO.

    Steve is certainly not the fastest player in the world, as others have mentioned, but if I had his chops, I wouldn't exactly feel bad about myself. His writing ability to write great songs/basslines, his stage presence, and his tone are the foremost reasons that he's one of my greatest bass heroes.

    And unless you can play every Iron Maiden song you've heard at tempo, I'd be hesitant about telling people that you can play "way faster" than Steve. In fact, I'd be hesitant about say it at all. Seems like a good way to anger some folks... ;)
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I'll put my ego and years of playing aside for a moment - I can play BS stuff as fast as anybody, but to play "The Trooper" properly and in time is still a challenge for me.
    Winfred and jmattbassplaya like this.
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    What was that quote from Steve Harris about bass solos. Something about thinking them to be greedy or something because of the loss of rhythm sections. His playing carries madien and gives them the gallop feel.
  10. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    First I'd like to state that Steve Harris is utterly amazing and my favorite bass player. Aside from that you have to remember that Steve Harris doesn't just have speed, but he has the endurance and stamina to keep up those galluping triplets in "The Trooper" and in "Run to the Hills" to name a few. Not to mention he does it with just 2 fingers. I'm not trying to say its impossible to play at that speed, I can pull it off on a good day, but you gotta remember he plays like that for hours when he plays live with Maiden.
  11. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    You make a really good point, playing fast is one thing, staying fast and precise is another. That's always been the real challenge for me. I've been able to shred Cliff Burton speed since I was 15, it took me a lot more effort to get to where I could play a fast and involved song all the way through without fatigue and confidently stride on stage with a full set of really fast material in my head.

    It also takes work to keep that level of technique. I can't play like this anymore. Sure I can still whip out a cover of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" or "The Trooper" now an again, but I certainly couldn't jump into a Maiden tribute band without a lot of hand work.

    Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure Steve uses 3 fingers most of the time, check out the videos on the "Live After Death" double CD.
  12. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Tom Araya's not that fast--he generally plays 8th notes behind Slayer's 16th note blurs, and plays simplified lines so that his vocals are consistent. As has been pointed out, though, that's what he records and plays live, and isn't necessarily his top speed.

    I can play ridiculously fast, too, for a few notes, a fill or two, etc, but I can't keep it up for a 13 minute epic, much less a whole set without cramping. Also, bear in mind that black metal lines are often only on one string, and played with a pick. Steve Harris is all over the fretboard, and sounds SMOOTH doing it.
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Even so most of his bass lines are faster than Maiden, though he dumbs them down a great deal live. He alsp started using a pick around South of Heaven, which most people consider "cheating"...it certainly makes it easier to play at high speed.

    But faster or not I wouldn't put Tom anywhere near Steve. I actually don't rate him that highly as a bassist even on his best days.
  14. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    He's been asked this several times, and it can be found in many interviews where he states that he uses 2 fingers exclusivly, as well as never picks nor any ERBs.

  15. lefty


    Sep 25, 2004
    man, i`ve seen the guy live as i`m shure a lot of you you guys have,and that dude steve harris plays that stuff running around sweating and the rush of a live show without skipping a beat. i used to be in this one band where we played originals and copies, and some of them were maiden songs and after fingering a couple of those numbers my forearms were on fire, so what you need to do is jump into a iron maiden tribute band, do a couple of live shows and report back on how fast stve harris is.
  16. Check out Number of the Beast for some fast fingering in the segment to the last verser.

    Or better yet, Run to the Hills, which IMO has got the fastest of Harris' fingering recorded. I'm talking about the break before the last chorus.
  17. njdenis1


    Dec 12, 2004
    i give him credit for being pretty quick and keeping bass upfront in the metal mix..most metal guitar buries bass guitar...almost pointless to have a bass guitarist...its critical with maiden
  18. That's true, sometimes,... but listen to the last record by Mayhem. - Chimera - that's technical black metal at highest level.

    now to steve harris.
    although he's not a completley technical bassist, he is a big influence of mine. just because of his ability to write so great maiden songs & bass work... and because of his charisma on stage.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    ...Tom Araya's early days of playing without a pic consisted of ONE finger...his index, that he used like a pick & doubled on the string(back & forth/pick style)...I know...I saw it for myself way back when...

  20. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    Steve has monster chops, especially songs like Run To The Hills, The Trooper, and IMO best of all, Aces High - those scale runs in the chorus become damn near impossible after 3 minutes of straight 16th notes!

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