2 Minutes To Powerslave Tone

December 8, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Okay, not really two minutes, but I’m diggin’ “2 Minutes To Midnight” these days, so….

What gear did Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and Adrian Smith use on Powerslave? Hold on – I guess the first question is, Is their tone woody?

IMO no, but it’s the distinctive what I’d call “saturated” metal tone these guys got into around then and never really changed from. These guys can’t get enough distortion, mang!

First take a listen:

The base Maiden guitar tone is DiMarzio Super Distortions into Marshalls, but listen to the iso guitar track:

That’s got more “hair” than a Hendrix fuzz tone! You may also notice that the main riff ain’t what you thought it was…. Love listening to iso tracks (one more below).

Back to the tone: Is that an insane amount of distortion or what? Yes, you can get that from Super Ds through JCM 800-type Master-Vol Marshalls if recorded that way I guess, but seems to be more there.

Here’s what thegearpage.net user LawlessGreed got from UK pedalboard guru Pete Cornish about the board he built for Dave for Number of the Beast:

Guitar >>
> MXR Distortion+ [A-HA!]
> MXR Phase 90
> DOD Flanger 575
> Cry Baby Wah
> Yamaha AD-10 [analog delay]
> Boss FA-1 [FET preamp]
> MXR 10 Band EQ [presumably for that cocked-wah mid-boost sound]

Okay, not the same album, in fact two albums before Powerslave, but interwebz word is that the gear didn’t change much until the post-Powerslave album, Somewhere in Time. The bottom line here is that we’re hearing more “fuzz” on Powerslave because there’s more than just a Super D with a distorted amp.

What about Adrian Smith? Good question. Wasn’t able to find much info out on his gear, not sure why, but does not appear that the D+ was in his board – and yet, as you can hear in the iso tracks, both guitars are heavily distorted.

Powerslave In Time

The Number of the Beast (1982)
Piece of Mind (1983)
Powerslave (1984)
Somewhere in Time (1986)
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)

More Powerslave


> Maiden is a great band – meaning they have it all on the music side. including a great bass player and drummer. Just listen to this:

GREAT drumming!

Steve Harris’ part….


Category: Boss/Roland, DiMarzio, DOD, Dunlop/Cry Baby, Iron Maiden, Marshall, MXR, Yamaha

Comments (3)

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  1. Jon says:

    sounds like an orange Boss distortion DS-1 to me

  2. Rich_D says:

    I f*kin’ love Maiden, hardcore fan. This song is extremely fun to play, but man what a buzzy, crap tone. This and prior, all that cocked wah and nasal lead tones! The songs are so great that they don’t care. But I have to say, their tone got so much better for me after they started processing their sound. How many bands can you say that about? I urge anyone happening upon this comment to please get the latest, Final Frontier. The guitar tones are incredible, searing metal fire and the songs keep getting better and better.

  3. Chris says:

    For what it’s worth, I distinctly remember reading at the time that Adrian Smith said he used an Ibanez Roadstar for recording Powerslave. And they used Marshall amps pretty much all the time, except during the Somewhere In Time/Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son era, when they were using Gallien Kruger amps.

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