Iron Maiden's Dave Murray is now using Fractal's Axe-Fx

Dave Murray
(Image credit: Brill/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray has officially joined Fractal Audio’s ever-expanding lineup of artists using the Axe-Fx III Turbo amp and effects modeling unit.

The major shakeup to the electric guitar player’s rig was confirmed simultaneously by both Fractal’s social media channels, and a video posted to Iron Maiden’s YouTube channel, which served as a rundown of his updated rig.

The Axe-Fx III has been drafted in over Murray’s previously championed Marshall JMP-1 valve preamps, which had been the crux of his setup for nearly three decades.

Despite the hardware overhaul, though, the overall sound of Murray’s tone has remained the same, with his guitar tech Colin Price revealing the Axe-Fx has merely been used to replicate the JPM-1.

As Price says in the video, “It’s just a direct copy, [but] more reliable, more flexible, more sexy, more knobs, more flashing lights… what’s not to like?”

“The Axe-Fx creates any sound you can dream up,” Murray added via Fractal. “[It] has all the dynamics of tube driven amps. An amazing versatile unit of great sounds and pure tones.”

Murray joins a growing army of guitarists who are defecting to the ranks of Axe-Fx in the wake of a rapidly increasing modeling boom. Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Devin Townsend are just some of the names using the amp and effects modeler, with Fractal also boasting the likes of The Edge, Jason Richardson and Misha Mansoor on its roster.

John Mayer, famously a flag flier for boutique tube amps, is also an official Axe-Fx artist, having used a Fractal amp modeler for some of the standout moments on his most recent studio album, Sob Rock. He’s also been spotted using it live on the odd occasion. 

One artist who reverted back to the ranks of tube amps following a stint with the Axe-Fx, though, is Tosin Abasi. The former poster boy for Fractal’s modeling unit – who reverted back to pedalboards and amps over the past few years – recently overhauled his backline with Bad Cat amps.

Abasi is somewhat in the minority, though, with more and more players looking for digital alternatives to guitar amps as brands such as Neural DSP, Line 6, Kemper and Fractal itself continue to improve modeling technology.

Elsewhere in Murray’s rig tour video, Price also revealed there had been a significant shakeup in the six-string department. Joining the Axe-Fx is Murray’s new number one – a fresh Andrew Hicks Master Built Fender Stratocaster, which features a notable walnut neck.

Dave Murray's Master Built Fender Stratocaster

Dave Murray's new Master Built Fender Stratocaster (Image credit: Iron Maiden/YouTube)

Other specs include a rosewood fretboard, stainless steel frets, a Dave Murray/Seymour Duncan loaded pickguard, and a sleek Olympic White colorway. Since it's the new number one, the guitar is reportedly used for around 80% of Iron Maiden’s current live shows.

As per Price, it’s Murray’s first new guitar in quite some time, and has made its way to the front of the guitar rack, ousting Murray’s previous go-to guitar – a similarly spec’d Tobacco Sunburst alternative – to the second fiddle spot in the process.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.