If you want to sound like Iron Maiden then be sure to read this essential Iron Maiden Gear Guide and channel your inner beast!
Iron Maiden are one of the biggest metal bands of all time so it’s only natural we get lots of fans young and old asking how to get the Iron Maiden sound!
Luckily we’ve got you covered in this Iron Maiden Gear Guide - not only are we going to show you what guitars Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers play - we’re going to dive deeper and take a look at how you can get these instruments at a variety of budgets.
What Guitar does Dave Murray play?
Fire up we’ll take a look at the longest running guitarist of Iron Maiden Dave Murray. Murray has appeared on every studio album and been a constant force in the band. But what guitars has he been best known for playing during his time in Iron Maiden?
Dave Murray has said everything was cheap and cheerful in the early days of Iron Maiden - he’s even joked that you’d be pressing your face up against the window of these fancy guitar shops and that back in the day you had to be a detective and hunt down exactly what you wanted.
He’s also said that there wasn’t as much choice and availability on offer back then so it was much easier to decide on a certain guitar and amp. He said it was about being enthusiastic and driven by the music. It’s about being enthusiastic and being driven by the music.’ We’ll get on to the more widely recognised Dave Murray Guitars shortly - but we have to acknowledge some of the guitars he played in the early Maiden days first. This includes iconic metal models like the Ibanez Destroyer or even the Charvel Model 2.
Moving onto the mainstay guitars of Dave Murray’s career though - first up we have to mention the legendary Fender Stratocaster. Perhaps one of the most versatile guitars in existence - this has been a go-to from the early days right through to today on their Legacy Of The Beast tour.
Murray even has had his own signature Fender Strats over the years which combine the elegance of your typical Stratocaster with the mighty roar of Seymour Duncan Humbucking pickups and the reliability of a Floyd Rose bridge and nuts - quite the guitars but currently out of print - fear not - we’ve picked out some similar Stratocasters for all budgets below:
Fans of Iron Maiden will know that Dave Murray’s other staple is the Gibson Les Paul - specifically a Gibson 60 Les Paul Classic. This is another classic guitar that’s been prominent in the blues, rock and metal world over the years. Luckily these are available for a beginners as well as professionals with the Epiphone Les Paul - take a look at those here:
What Guitar Does Adrian Smith play?
Adrian Smith joined Iron Maiden in the run up to their second album Killers and much like his long time friend Dave Murray - he’s owned and played multitude of guitars over the years. As he’s played such a huge amount - we’ll mention some briefly before looking at his mainstay.
Smith regularly plays a Fender Stratocaster and a Les Paul much like Dave Murray - these are huge parts of the live set over the years for both guitarists. He’s also played everything from Gibson Flying V’sand SG’s through to the Dean Baby ML in periods of setup experimentation.
For this Gear Guide we’ll hone in on what Adrian Smith is best known for playing and that’s the legendary Jackson. He’s released a number of Jackson Signature Guitars over the years which are very affordable making them great for players of all levels. Take a look at these just here:
Check out this ace video of Adrian Smith chatting about his Jackson Guitars:
What guitar does Janick Gers play?
Janick Gers completes the current and enduring three guitar lineup of Iron Maiden which has been the case since their reunion period. Gers joined the band on the ‘No Prayer For The Dying’ album and has laid his stamp with some very significant songwriting credits - as well as his animated and exuberant onstage personality. But what guitar does Janick Gers play?
Much like Adrian Smith and Dave Murray - Janick is regularly seen relying on the legendary Fender Stratocaster. While the other guitarists in the band usually go for a sunburst finish - Janick is usually rocking a white Stratocaster. We’ve picked out a few you can pick up below:
Janick Gers also plays a Black Gibson Les Paul which was certainly the case on their recent ‘Book Of Souls’ album tour - perhaps an easier guitar to pull the power out of - whereas the Strat offers itself up more nicely to his theatrical stage antics. See a few options below:
What bass does Steve Harris play?
Steve Harris has been the driving force behind Iron Maiden in so many ways over the years, musically and creatively - this founding member is an unmistakable figurehead and one of the most influential bassists on the planet. But what bass does Steve Harris play?
If you want to get the galloping basslines that have been with Iron Maiden throughout their entire career then you should know that Steve Harris plays the legendary Fender Precision Bass - of course adorned with the claret and blue of his much loved football club West Ham.
A few years ago Fender teamed up with Steve Harris for a very special signature bass. Features include a single powerful Seymour Duncan Steve Harris signature model pickup, Fender High Mass bridge, Rotosound Steve Harris Signature flat-wound strings and Harris’s signature on the back of the headstock.
The Steve Harris Signature Bass is currently out of print - but the good news for Maiden fans of all levels is that the Fender Precision bass is a staple for bassists - meaning there’s an incredible amount of choice on offer. Take a look at some options below:
What drums does Nicko McBrain play?
Famed for his galloping drum style that locks in with Steve Harris - Nicko McBrain has become a central part of the band’s identity over the years. Perhaps more importantly he’s brought a sense of fun to the band which is a vital factor in their sound. But what drums does Nicko McBrain play?
Recently for the Book Of Souls World Tour, McBrain returned to the drums he originally played in Iron Maiden which is a Sonor Kit. Check this out in the video just below:
Sonor Kits are available for a variety of budgets and price points. We’ve pulled out a couple of standout highlights available right now.
More recently since McBrain and Sonor have parted ways - McBrain has moved on to British Drum Co drums which were unveiled on the Legacy Of The Beast tour:
We love British Drum Co here at PMT and Nicko has said, this is something that feels right, it’s been a long time coming and he’s since become an international ambassador of the brand.
What cymbals does Nicko McBrain use?
McBrain has also been a long time endorsee of Paiste Cymbals which are an industry standard. Specifically McBrain rocks on a 15”, 16”, 18”, 20”, Reflector Heavy Full Crashes, Signature High Reflector heavy Hi-Hats, a 22” Signature Reflector Bell Ride, a 17” Rude Crash, a 20” Signature Fast Medium, a 13” Formula 602 Classic Sounds Heavy Bell, a 22” Signature Reflector Heavy China and a 40” Symphonic Gong.
If you’re a Maiden fan looking to practice your drumming skills on the move then we’d highly recommend taking a look at the Nicko McBrain practice pad. These also make for great gifts for any all drummers - especially those who love metal!
What microphone does Bruce Dickinson use?
What would Iron Maiden be without that iconic menacing scream of Bruce Dickinson? Metal vocalists out there might be wanting to know what microphone Bruce Dickinson uses - he is said to opt for the Shure UR2/BETA87C with Beta 87C Cardioid Microphone.
Shure is very much an industry standards for vocalists across all genres! We’d recommend picking up the ever versatile Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone- a great professional option for live performances whether you’re rehearsing or performing.
Iron Maiden Gear Guide - In Summary
To summarise our Iron Maiden Gear Guide - this is very much a band eager to evolve and develop with each tour or era. They regularly mix it up - particularly in the earlier days of the band - although they clearly have their favourites that recur throughout their career.
To summarise the guitars - Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers are all probably most often seen using stratocasters with humbucking pickups to really get that powerful metal tone. Although they also use models like the Gibson Les Paul or commonly Jackson Guitars.
In the department of Bass - Steve Harris very much sticks to his guns on a tried and tested route of the Fender Precision Bass. He’s played this for the entirety of his career and as the founder longest serving member of Maiden - the P-bass is an icon of the band! Moving onto drums - Nicko McBrain has played Sonos drums for the majority of his career with Iron Maiden and has always used Paiste Cymbals. More recently he has partnered with The British Drum Co who have shared his vision in developing the right kit for his needs.
Bruce Dickinson is usually seen using a Shure Microphone which is industry standard - although if you truly want to channel your inner Bruce - you’ll have to pick up your pilot’s license! Unfortunately here at PMT we can’t help you with that one - but we do hope we’ve covered off enough here to send you on your way to getting the Iron Maiden sound!