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British Heavy Metal - Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden Lesson Sample

Riff A Looping Track

Teacher: This British Metal lesson is on Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden self-titled debut in 1980 featured Adrian Smith and Dave Murray on guitars and Steve Harris galloping away on bass. After two album's with original vocalist Paul Di'Anno, Iron Maiden brought Bruce Dickinson to the group for their landmark album 'Number of the Beast'. There have been few Metal bands more influencial and commercially successful. Iron Maiden has sold some 50 million records to date!

Teacher: Here is the first rhythm guitar part.

Riff A

Teacher: This is a signature Maiden rhythm, an eighth note follwed by two sixteenth notes. A staple of most metal and many punk groups.

Teacher: The full power chord is held the entire time. The part is brought out by the left hand. The chords are E5-E5-C5-D5 .

cly: What bands do you think Maiden influenced?

Teacher: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, just about any American metal band who has come out since. Even contemporary punk bands like Weezer and Sum 41 will show off their classic Iron Maiden concert t-shirts. Even sing about them.

Rhythm Chords

Teacher: Play the single notes on the 5th string with 'palm muting'. Lift the hand to strum the power chord. Slow down the part to practice.

Riff A

Teacher: On top of that rhythm we will play the minor scale, in harmony. Another metal tradition brought to prominence by Iron Maiden

Lick 1

Teacher: This riff is a simple run up the E Minor Scale in 9th position.

Lick 1

We have seen the Minor Scale in each British Metal lesson to date. It is the most common sound in this style

Teacher: What Iron Maiden's guitarists will often do is have one play this main theme and the other 'harmonize' within the same scale. Often staying the same distance apart throughout.

Lick 2 (Harmony)

Teacher: This is the same 'pattern' through the scale started on the 3rd note. This harmony is called harmony '3rds'.

Video Clip

Get together with your favorite guitar playing friend and you get this sound. Or buy a multi-track recorder and indulge your split personalities.

Lick 1+2 Harmonized

Teacher: Here is the next riff, more harmonies. Using the same scale but creating a more exciting riff.

Lick 3

Video Clip 1

And again, instead of merely doubling that, learn it in harmony. Not just up 3 frets but keeping it within the 'parent' minor scale.

Lick 4

Video Clip 1

Lick 3+4 Harmonized

Teacher: You can try this idea off other notes as well. Maiden would sometime do this off the '5th' note of the scale, usually below the main melody.

Teacher: Solo sections are lots of fun in Iron Maiden songs. Often they will feature two guitar solos to let both Smith and Murray shine.

Teacher: They will usually have each guitarist solo over a different rhythm riff to further highlight each. And they introduce new riffs much of the time for the solos.

Teacher: Here is our first solo section rhythm guitar part. The chords used are E5-D5-B5-C5.

Riff B

Riff B Looping Track

Riff B

Teacher: Again right out of the minor scale for this part.

Teacher: The solos feature a mix of Minor Scale and Minor Pentatonic scale for most licks. This first one uses 'trills' out of the pentatonic.

Lick 5

Video Clip 1

This run through the pentatonic is a Dave Murray trademark.

Lick 6

Video Clip 1

The vibrato at the end of Lick 6 is done using the whammy bar.

Lick 7

Teacher: Lick 7 is more of a Adrian Smith run.

Video Clip 1

Teacher: All E minor scale along the 1st string. Smith used a similar idea to pen one of Iron Maiden's biggest hits "Wasted Years"

Teacher: And the last lick of the section

Lick 8

Teacher: A 'unison bend' on the E note. Then picking both notes seperately as the bend is slowly released for ear-catching effect.

Video Clip 1

Teacher: The other solo section feature a modulation to the key of A minor.

Riff C

Teacher: More power chords. A5-C5-F5-F5.

Riff C

Lick 9

Teacher: This lick uses pulloff in a 3 note pattern in the A minor scale. All the notes in this lick are in the E minor scale as well so it would work over either solo section.

Video Clip 1

Lick 10

Teacher: This run is in the A minor scale again.

Video Clip 1

Teacher: Mostly pentatonic except the F note on the 2nd string, 6th fret. Sort of 'Stairway to Heaven'ish.

Teacher: This Adrian Smith 'trill' lick adds a note out of key, the F# at the 2nd string, 7th fret.

Lick 11

Video Clip 1

This one difference creates more of a Dorian mode run. The climb along the 1st string uses notes common to both the minor scale and dorian mode.

Teacher: This lick uses a bar dive followed by a whole step bend on the 1st string.

Lick 12

Video Clip 1

And our last lick...

Lick 13

Teacher: Another Dave Murray run.

Video Clip 1

Teacher: OK. Practice hard and enjoy this Iron Maiden British Metal lesson.

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