Early Maiden: Murray, Smith Gear

December 14, 2010 | By | 6 Replies More

Maiden_Murray_Smith_old_Deans_1What are those boxes taped to the amps?

Why the F is it so tough to get definitive info on what Dave Murray and Adrian Smith used back in the early days or Iron Maiden? I have a Guitar World Guitar Legends mag dedicated to Maiden, and there isn’t a single piece of early gear info in it!

Or maybe it isn’t tough to get that info – it’s just like everyone else: They used what was available, and tried to goose the signal going into their Marshalls as much as possible.

Looks like there was some (a lot) of that, but also a few other things going on. Here’s what I could dig up:

First, check out these pics from the aforementioned mag. You see Marshall 4-holers, mostly JMPs but a plexi to Adrian’s left and another two by Dave (one you can barely see in front of him, one on top of the JMP behind him).

(Click to see way bigger. GW photo.)

(Click to see way bigger. GW photo.)

(Click to see way bigger. GW photo.)

(Click to see way bigger. GW photo.)

The question I couldn’t answer is: What are the boxes with the knobs taped to the front of the amps – the one right by Dave’s head and another taped to Adrian’s plexi? I’m tempted to say an MXR of some kind, but the Distortion+ had two knobs, and the box by Dave looks too small. Any ideas?

Here’s the rest of the info I could find that had some credibility to it.

NOB, POM Tours

From user willyboy in thegearpage.net archives:

I’ve got the concert programs from the Number of the Beast (NOB) and Piece of Mind (POM) tours. Here goes, directly from the programs:

NOB Tour

Dave Murray – Crybaby, MXR (10-band EQ, Phase 90, Pre Amp [Micro Amp? maybe not – see Smith on the POM tour below], Distortion +), Pete Cornish Splitter Box, 50w Marshalls, Marshall cabs with Celestions, Mesa/Boogie combo [probably for practice?].

Adrian Smith – Crybaby, Cornish Splitter Box, Yamaha Pedal Board, Marshall 50w Lead amps, Marshall cabs with EVs [speakers], Mesa/Boogie combo [ditto?].

POM Tour

Dave Murray – Mesa/Boogie combo, 4 x Marshall 50w amps, 8 x Marshall cabs with EVs and Celestions, Pete Cornish Pedalboard with MXR 10-band EQ, Distortion +, Phase 90), Boss FET FA 1 Preamp, Crybaby, Yamaha Analog Delay, DOD Flanger.

Adrian Smith – 100w Master Volume Marshall [not sure if JMP or JCM800], 100w Marshall Super Lead [plexi?], 8 x Marshall cabs with EVs, Mesa/Boogie combo, Pete Cornish Pedalboard with Yamaha Analog Delay, Crybaby, customized MXR preamp, Yamaha Flanger,Yamaha Phaser.

World Slavery Tour

Here’s the same info from user wdelaney72 on the metroamp forum for the 1984 World Slavery Tour:

Dave Murray – Four 50w Marshall amps, Peter Cornish custom-built pedal board/switching with: MXR D+, MXR P90, Crybaby, ADT Chorus, [MXR] 10-band EQ, flanger [no brand listed].

Adrian Smith – Four 50w Marshall amps, Peter Cornish custom-built pedal board/switching with: Ibanez Digital Delay DM 2000, Boss Digital Delay DD2, Boss Stereo Chorus CE3, Furman Parametric EQ PQ3, Lexicon Reverb PCM 60.


> Don’t forget Dave’s DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups, a key to achieving that thinner, metallic sound. Adrian also has one in the B&W shot above.

> The EV speakers apparently were Electro-Voice EVM-12Ls, very efficient and loud speakers. They may also have used JBLs before that. Apparently volume was not an issue!

> They may have favored 6550 power tubes (louder, cleaner than EL34s), but could not confirm this.

‘Killers,’ Live, 1980
> Boosted JMP tone.

‘The Prisoner,’ Live 1982
> Tune from Number of the Beast. Notice the beefier sound vs. the vid above. Might be due to the venue or recording and/or EQs and/or the Ibanez Destroyers, but still a midrange-heavy, boosted/distorted (pickups and/or stompboxes) solid-state-ish tone. Looks like stock pickups, so my money is on a stompbox or the MXR EQ.

Category: Boss/Roland, DiMarzio, Dunlop/Cry Baby, Electro-Voice speakers, Ibanez effects, Iron Maiden, JBL speakers, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, MXR, Pete Cornish, Yamaha

Comments (6)

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  1. Zakk says:

    they're tuners, I saw the band on this tour and they all went there after a couple of songs and tuned up

  2. greenguitars72 says:

    ..or maybe the aforementioned Pete Cornish Splitter Boxes..they might use those to split the guitar signal and send it to several amps at ones…??????

  3. Cobalt says:

    Cornish made a treble boost for them
    It was called the Iron Boost and pete made them to special order

  4. Magnum says:

    Does anybody know the MXR 10 band eq settings usedtoget the Murray sound? I always see amp settings, but with the MXR, the tone changes significantly.

  5. In the sleeve notes of Live After death album there is a list of all the gear they used. Murray also used a univibe if I’m not mistaken. Smith and Murray used 50W heads and Harris 100W heads.

  6. Chainsaw says:

    The Smith photo shows, in the upper right, a box with a bunch of cables plugged into it, almost surely a splitter. What else has that many cables?

    The Murray photo shows a metal box with a single knob. MXR, Ross and others used boxes of this size, but one-knob effects aren’t that common. Both the MXR Phase 90 and the MXR micro amp look like this, though. A custom box can’t be ruled out – a treble booster would likely have one knob. The FA-1 doesn’t look like this, and a ten-band graphic EQ certainly doesn’t (doh!)

    Of course, it would be more helpful to know which tours, if any, the pictures were actually from.

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