“I grow the nails on my right hand as long as I can, so I can get that trebly sound”: Steve Harris delivered one of the coolest bass guitar intros in the history of metal on Iron Maiden’s Wrathchild

Steve Harris, bassist and songwriter of The British metal band Iron Maiden, performed with the band to a sold out crowd Feb. 19, 08 at The Forum in Inglewood, Ca.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Iron Maiden’s muscular riffs and breathtaking endurance have kept faithful heads banging since the late 1970s, anchored by bassist Steve Harris, who told Bass Player: “A lot of people say I've got a strange style, but I never sat down and tried to copy someone else. You pick up different licks here and there and eventually get your own style, but you can't force it. My style just happened.”

Harris relies on the fingernails on his plucking fingers to deliver his famous, trebly tone. “The nails on my left hand are down to next to nothing because I don't need them, but I grow the nails on my right hand as long as I can without splitting them, so that I can get that trebly sound. If they split I might have to increase the treble on my bass to compensate for it, if that happens.”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.