Dave Murray’s live rig has revealed and it is all change for the Iron Maiden guitarist as he hits the road with the British metal institution on their monster The Future Past Tour.
His 2-Colour signature Fender Stratocaster that was long his number one electric guitar is still on the boat but it has been supplanted by a new Masterbuilt Strat – and, perhaps inevitably, the digital revolution has come for his backline, with the work of the Marshall JMP-1 rack-mounted preamps now being done by a pair of Fractal Axe-Fx III amp modeller and effects units. Murray’s tech, Colin Price, offers a guided tour of the Maiden guitarists rig in a new video on the band’s YouTube channel that explains all.
When Murray takes to the stage tomorrow night at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, he will be wielding an Olympic White Stratocaster that was made in the Fender Custom Shop by Master Builder Andy Hicks. You might remember the name. Hicks was once with the Gretsch Custom Shop and worked on its forensic replica of Malcolm Young’s Beast, the G6131MY-CS Malcolm Young “Salute” Jet.
Here he has given Murray a Strat with a familiar look. It is in Olympic White, with signature details by way of pearl pickguard and Murray’s Seymour Duncan pickups – all very much on message. There is a double-locking Floyd Rose vibrato. But there’s a twist. The neck is walnut. Walnut makes an excellent choice for a guitar neck but it is one we don’t often see that often.
“It is the first brand-new guitar we’ve had in a while, which he is playing on, I’d say, 80 per cent of the set,” said Price. “It’s that good.” So, good, that Murray’s 2-Colour ‘burst can play backup after over two decades of active service. Though it has been recently refretted with stainless steel frets. The new Strat’s walnut neck was exactingly based on its predecessor’s so the feel should be the same.
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There is a third Strat in cream as a second backup and that’s it. For a guitarist in one of metal’s biggest bands, Murray’s rig is surprisingly minimalistic. The big news in the backline is that the Fractal Axe-Fx III MkII unit is now the cornerstone of his rig.
There are still two Marshall JMP-1 preamps in his rack but their sound has been exported to the Fractal’s digital platform. Why has Murray made the change? “It’s just easy,” says Price. Easy and consistent; two qualities that can’t be taken for granted from any touring rig.
Effects are thin on the ground. Murray has his trusty Custom Shop Cry Baby rack-mounted wah units and that’s that. That all makes for a simple stage setup; all Murray has to concern himself with is a Fractal FC-6 controller and his wah pedal. Price reveals a pro-tip here. If you are planning on using pyro, it is worth investing in some protection for your foot controller. The footswitches on Murray's FC-6 are protected by guards made by ZenRigs.
One feed goes to front of house, one to in-ear monitors, and another feeds into the Marshall EL34 100/100 power amps that drive the 4x12 speaker cabinets onstage. You can watch Price explain the signal path above, and you can catch Dave Murray on tour now. See Iron Maiden for dates and ticket details.