Steve Harris Signature Bass Review

Thought I'd take a minute to write a review on the Steve Harris Signature Fender P Bass for anyone considering the purchase. I guess I'll start with what led me to it. First, Steve's riffs are part of what pushed me from only playing drums to pickup up a stringed instrument. The music, the sound of his bass, the novelty....that had a lot to do with buying, but since I'm not loaded with cash, the bass also had to play a variety of other music. I play in a church band and in a classic rock cover band. In my free time, I'll play anything from 70's rock to funk to heavy metal. I picked the internet apart for any tidbit of information, any Youtube video, Guitar Center review, etc.

I finally bit the bullet and ordered it. This is my third bass so I have some room for comparison. I've been playing for about three years, I wouldn't consider myself that good of a player. First the bass looks amazing. The sparkle finish and chrome hardware is flashy, and I usually favor black basses. You really need to see the guitar in the light, absolutely gorgeous. The bass is quite heavy, but I like them that way - thick neck, but not horrible. I have long fingers and find the neck sits well, fills the empty space that usually exists on J Basses, Ibanez SRs, etc.

The sound.....10/10. And that isn't just from a Maiden fan's standpoint, this bass sounds great. The heavy body, neck, Bad Ass II bridge, SPB1 pickups, and heavy strings come together for a deep, punchy tone. Very warm, pushes out a lot of low mids that on other basses just sound like mud, but on this one sounds sweet. People think you need a lot of treble and fresh round wound strings to cut in the mix. That is true, but if you play a bass like this, you can own a frequency space all to yourself. The signature Steve Harris Rotosounds sound great for the first week or two
then go dead. The dead strings won't keep up with his incredibly fast licks, which is why he changes them each show. I have since switched to heavy gauge D'Addario half rounds. They are OK, not sure about them yet. I may try I set of Ernie Ball Powerballs next. Really though, even with the dead Rotosounds, sounded good.

I've set the action a tick lower than factory, maybe about 3/32". This allows a pretty fast speed around the neck with the heavy strings and of course helps get the Harris click clack we all love. His amp / cab I don't think can be bought, but in an interview he stated the closest thing off the shelf would be an Ampeg SVT. I play through an Ampeg Micro VR and 2x10 cab which I think does a good job getting his tone. Gain running hot, bass cut a bit. So, two months after picking it up I can recommend it to any bass player, not just Maiden fans. This will be the bass I grow old with. Street price is $1300, I was able to get mine for $1100.

Here are some songs recorded with it, I admit certain covers are bad. Especially when the gallops get sloppy, or I flat out forget a note. I don't like re-recording these vids a million times, so usually I just do one take and call it a day.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Shereika1
 

czgibson

Invader
Nice review. Glad you're enjoying your bass.

The one I'm waiting for is the West Ham bass. I think it looks exceptionally cool even though I have no interest in West Ham or football at all.

 
Your saying that Fender is going to make a replica of his current axe? I just did a quick search and can't find anything related to it.
I almost bought an Arctic White Mexican P Bass - was going to add the pick guard, pickup, bridge, and black pin stripe. Decided against it, but still think you can get 90% of the tone without getting the signature model. The $400 difference is in the awesome paint job, thick tinted maple neck, Japanese build quality, and novelty of playing his Powerslave era bass.
 

czgibson

Invader
I've no idea if Fender has any plans for the West Ham bass - I'm still waiting for it though!

Interesting that it has no Fender decal on the headstock. I wonder if it's a Fender neck he has on there. Very curved radius by the look of it. What's the radius on your bass?
 
So after trying the signature Rotosounds, heavy DR Lo-Riders, and heavy Ernie Ball heavies - I've gotta give the edge to the Ernie Balls. They have much less tension than the Rotos, last longer, and are about $20 a set.
 
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