Steve Harris – Know Your Bass Player

Steve Harris – Know Your Bass Player

In this episode of Know Your Bass Player we discuss Steve Harris from Iron Maiden. Steve Harris is renowned for being the mover and shaker of all things Iron Maiden. One of the starting members of the band, he’s been with the group since the inception in 1975.

Steve takes on almost all of the creative roles and not only the bands bass player. He is the song writer, backing vocalist, studio keys player, audio producer and video director to name just a few.

The contribution of Iron Maidens’ New Wave of British Heavy Metal brings not only music to define a genre but techniques used by many bass players all over the world today. Techniques such as the Heavy Metal Gallop, Hammer ons, Pull offs and even harmonics which have largely influenced his sound. Steve has a timbre which allows his lines to be heard at loud volumes.

Steve Harris bass guitars

Prior to 1975

  • Shaftesbury Telecaster Bass

From 1975 to 1982

  • 1959 Fender Precision
  • 1970 Fender Precision

From 1982

  • Ibanez Roadster 824K (Black with maple neck)

From 1983 to 1984

  • Lado Superfalcon
  • Lado Unicorn

From 1986 to 1999

  • Fender Precision with different paint jobs. Royal Blue, Glittered Blue, Cherry Red, Checker and White. All had a chrome plated mirror scratch plate.

1999 to Present

  • Steve Harris Fender Precision* Custom. White with Maroon-Blue-Maroon pin striping and West Ham F.C crest. SPB1 Seymour Duncan Pickups and a maple neck.

Steve Harris Know your bass player


Power amplifiers C-Audio SR 707

Pre-amplifier Trace Elliot Series 6 Head with GP12X preamps (250w)

Cabinets Up to 8 Marshal 4×12″ cabinets* fitted with EVM-12L speakers.



Steve Harris Techniques

Heavy Metal Gallop A rhythm of three notes played (one 8th note and two 16th notes) played in a fashion similar to a horses gallop. This rhythm is found throughout the Metal world.

Minor Scale and Minor Pentatonic scale These shapes whilst subtly different are the foundation of almost every Iron Maiden song chord progression, solo or fill.

Hammer ons and Pulloffs To fret a new note without plucking it. This uses the momentum of the original note to transfer the sound. A pulloff is the opposite, where you lift off a vibrating note.

Learn about more bass players

The Know Your Bass Player series covers all the popular bassists out there. Analysing their secret sauce, stories, techniques and gear. Learn from the experiences of these masterful players and apply it to your own style.

For a full list of the Know Your Bass Player series read our show notes. To watch the series so far please visit our WhichBass YouTube Channel.

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