Style Study - Adrian Smith

  • 03/18/2016
  • JamPlay, LLC
Adrian Frederik "H" Smith is one of the three guitarists in Iron Maiden. Smith and Dave Murray developed a trademark sound for the band by combining their lead guitars to make dual solos. Adrian broke the mold of metal guitar by fusing blues influenced licks with the addition of some modal playing as well as the use of arpeggios, giving him a more melodic feel to his playing but at the same time maintaining a blues/rock feel with the aggressive metal guitar sound. This is an example of how an artist develops their own voice - by fusing different influences in a seamless way you can develop your own style entirely. As well as having immense technical control and fretboard fluency, there is also a great musicality about Smith's playing. It is essential as guitarists that we also draw our attention to the finer points of an artists playing. For example, there are many different kinds of vibrato and ways of playing just one note.

Lick Breakdown

Lick 1
The first lick sees the use of bends and open string pull offs. Ensure you keep an even dynamic between the picked notes and open string pull offs. I recommend you record yourself and then listen back critically to gain a real sense of your dynamics and overall playing.

Style of Adrian Smith

Lick 2
The second lick is a pedal type lick that sees us pedaling on an E note. Make sure you use alternate picking exclusively for this lick. Its important that you really feel where the downbeat is when playing this, so ensure you tap your foot and use a metronome when practicing.

Adrian Smith Licks

Lick 3
Here is a Maiden style Riff. The main thing to understand here is the use of accentuation on certain beats, ensure you really make these notes jump out and add a little more bite to them. Also ensure you control the duration of the open 5th string by using the palm of the right hand.

Learn to Play Like Adrian Smith