Iron Maiden Masterclass

by Gabriel Leopardi

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  • Difficulty: 6
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  • Hey GMC! I'm back with a new lesson in the style of Iron Maiden. As some GMC'ers requested me to do another lesson in the style of this legendary band I decided to do a two guitars lesson based on the great duet formed by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith.

    Dave with a style more based in killer legatos and Adrian with a more bluesy style created the guitar language of Heavy Metal.

    As you can see in the main video in this lesson we will analyze the work of the first/lead and the second. The idea here is to understand how the guitar duets are composed and arranged.


    We'll cover techniques like alternate picking, sweep picking, legatos, trills, palm muting and bending.


    I have been a Maiden fan for many years so I've learnt and studied a lot of their songs. There are some structures, chords progressions, modulations and scales that can be found in many of their compositions. They mainly use minor aeolian scales and tonalities but in some occasions they also use Phrygian modes (for example in the song Powerslave).

    The most common progression in their songs is: Im – VI – VII (check the hymn "The Trooper"). The sound of Maiden is identified as two guitars playing a melody at the same time in different parts of the guitar. The correct way to explain this is saying that these two guitar are harmonized and this harmonization is usually done in diatonic thirds. However they sometimes combine thirds with fifths and sixths to make it sound more interesting. When I compose this type arrangement I don't care about the interval, I just trust in my ear.

    Finally we have to talk about the modulation more used by Maiden that can be heard at 00:11 when the songs modulates from E minor to G minor (a minor third). They use these modulations in different parts of a song like guitar melodies (in the case of this lesson), verses, guitar solos and choruses.


    I used my POD X• live’s tredplate amp with the gain in 7, the bass in 7, the mids in 5, the treb in 7 and the presence in 7 too. I connected it directly to my mixer and then to the soundcard. The backing track has been created with Nuendo and Reason working by Rewire.

    Backing tracks:

    You will find the original backing with the first guitar, the original backing with the second guitar as well as backing at different tempos and a looped one to jam.


    There are a lot of great albums in Maiden's discography but my favourites are "Powerslave", "Somewhere in time" and "Live after Death".

    Ok, here we go! I hope that you enjoy it.


    G minor.jpg

    E minor scale.jpg
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